Season 2 Episode 6: Using post purchase transactional flows to educate customers and generate UGC


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined my Michelle Paulhus, Sr. Growth Marketing and Retention Manager of Olipop, a healthy soda brand. On this episode, we discuss;

  • Selling in retail and DTC

  • Food pairing with Olipop flavors

  • How Olipop launches new flavors

  • Making repeat purchases easy

  • Utilizing post purchase transactional flows to educate customers

  • Using post purchase transactional flows to generate UGC

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


flavor, purchase, people, dtc, soda, retention, pop, retail, lollipop, drink, bounty, terms, michelle, brand, olipop, email, ali, content, buying, customer


Mariah Parsons, Michelle Paulhus, Brian Lastovich

Mariah Parsons 00:06

Hey there, I'm Mariah. And I'm Bryan and this is retention Chronicles. Ecommerce brands are shifting their strategy to retention in customer experience. And so we decided to reach out to talk DTC brands and dive deeper into tactics and challenges.

Brian Lastovich 00:21

But here's the thing. We'd love going on tangents.

Mariah Parsons 00:24

I teach Brian all about the latest trends,

Brian Lastovich 00:27

and I teach Mariah that it's a waste of time, and we discuss

Mariah Parsons 00:31

all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start your workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat.

Brian Lastovich 00:39

Retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo shipment and order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our episodes at Go

Mariah Parsons 00:56

Hello, everyone, and welcome to retention Chronicles. Today we are joined by Michelle at Ali pop. Thank you so much for joining us today. Michelle, we are so excited to have you. We're gonna have you say hi. Give a little bit of your background introduce yourself and lollipop.

Michelle Paulhus 01:12

Yeah, thank you so much for me. I'm really excited to be here as well. So I am Michelle Paulus. I work for Ali pop. I am part of the omni channel team here. I've worked for Alibaba, I started June of 2021. So a little bit over a year. I've started on the team as the email and lifecycle marketing manager and just kind of transition to focus a little bit more on retention as my role has evolved. Prior to ollie pop, I worked for another DTC subscription only business. So I had a lot of experience and focus on retention to subscription which kind of just lead naturally into where I'm at at all I bought today.

Mariah Parsons 01:52

Yeah, that's wonderful. Can you walk us through kind of, did you like purpose? Or are you have you always been focused on retention, like making that transition more into that field has always been an area of interest for you.

Michelle Paulhus 02:03

My career has kind of been a little bit of a roller coaster of illusion, I actually started my career as a graphic designer. And so I worked for as a graphic designer for about 10 years or so. And somehow just kind of ended up kind of taking on more marketing responsibilities as my role at my last job, evolved just sort of natural interest in learning and just kind of fell into it and found a love for it and just kind of naturally evolved combination of just passion for the industry and creative background kind of all evolved to to where I'm at today. So

Brian Lastovich 02:41

yeah, a lot of sense. Yeah, when I think about so far, when I think about LA pop, I think of design, honestly, because of the the cans and the website as well, too. So before we get into that, can you well, maybe I completely missed it. But could you give a little bit more information about Alibaba company?

Michelle Paulhus 03:01

Sure. Um, so Ali Pop is a kind of healthy soda soda business. Actually, we kind of phrase ourselves as a new kind of soda. We're kind of in a transition now of how we're labeling our product. We have been in retail for a while and DTC business came out of mostly the pandemic. And so, really, our retail business has been a lot of the focus and so DTC has played a different role. And we can talk a little bit more about how that has evolved through the process for our brand. And so really just focused on that really fun, nostalgic kind of soda feel. Obviously a health product but focused on the the fun side of you know, a healthy product is really a focus for us.

Brian Lastovich 03:49

Yeah, so I know pariah. We talked about this so we we knew that we were going to interview you. So we went out and we bought Ali pops. I went to the local Whole Foods store to find my lollipop. Araya you ordered online, right? So we wanted to see like what was the experience like? Online like she shared with me all those emails and stuff. So I am curious, what do you get again, right, what flavors

Mariah Parsons 04:19

I got. So I got the sampler pack. So it's like yes, yeah. So I'm the one I'm drinking right now is the ginger one. The lemon ginger,

Michelle Paulhus 04:29

I believe. Yeah. Ginger lemon.

Mariah Parsons 04:31

Yes, Jen. I knew I was gonna mess it up because the pan was turned around but see right here. Ginger lemon. Yep. And then it had vintage cola. Cherry is it cherry vanilla? Yeah. as well. Yeah, Cherry Vanilla. Strawberry as well. I should have I should have brought out the whole pack. I could have held it out but

Brian Lastovich 04:51

you're gonna drink all of them through us.

Mariah Parsons 04:52

That would be a lot. 12 cans. It's good for you. Yeah, you're right. It of us. sodas to drink. It would be one of the best because it's yeah, it's one of those healthier versions, but where I'm at right now it is 10am. So 1212 sodas at 10am in an hour. Okay, so when you record

Brian Lastovich 05:13

challenge 9am here. So I drink my coffee like an hour ago, or, like 30 minutes ago, so then I'll stick to lollipop after this. I also So, quick story. So I have vintage cola. Oh, that's opposite, and then a classic root beer. So, last night, I wanted to save both for today. Last night. I was like, I'm just kind of, I was craving something that wasn't water. So I went into the fridge. I'm like, Okay, I'm just gonna take another pump now, because at least I'll have one in the morning. And my wife was next to me. And then she doesn't know anything about it like pop. So I was like, Well, this is like the interview that we're going on. She's like, Can I try some two? I was like, okay, like, we'll split it. And I'm curious if this is. So this is the second time I've tried all the first time for her. In the first sip, she was like, like, isn't that what I expected? And by the end of the video, we tried the vintage cola by the end of it. She wants to she wants to go and get six back. She really liked it. I'm curious. Is that like, Is that common? Michelle? Like? Have you heard that from customers before? Like, it takes a little bit to get there at least like one or two

Michelle Paulhus 06:28

cans? Yeah, definitely. I think it also comes down to the flavor variety. I mean, we hear a lot of people who really like one flavor, but another one just really wasn't their jam. So I think in terms of experimenting with our flavors, and trying different things is really the way to go. People seem to be like really hardcore for certain flavors over the others. And I think it just takes time maybe to find what's right for you. And I also think it depends on maybe what your soda drinking habits are from the past, if you're like, used to, you know, a high sugar coke kind of drink you it might come to you as a little bit of a different tastes that might just take a little bit of time to get used to. But for people who like myself who really had haven't had soda much in years, being able to drink something that tastes a lot like, you know, original soda is like a major treat. So it just really depends, I think on your, your background and what you're used to. But I do think we have a flavor, kind of for everyone,

Brian Lastovich 07:24

to I'm gonna, I don't want to go all the way here yet. But I just want to ask this question like, in the DTC space, you are, you have that data point of obviously, the types of drinks that someone is purchasing. So you kind of already have this segmentation of what people are buying what they like.

Michelle Paulhus 07:46

Yeah, definitely. And it really comes from, you know, most of our purchases are actually the the sampler pack or the bestsellers pack that Mariah mentioned, a lot of people buy that first and then we kind of funnel them through trying different flavors from there. We do see, especially on subscription people kind of find our flavor and they stick with it. But this year, we've had so many new flavors come out seems like we're coming out with a new one. Because like almost every month, so there's a lot more to try and you're met with so it's a you know, a journey to kind of try all the different flavors and yeah, people are experimenting a lot with with different new things as well.

Brian Lastovich 08:24

Okay, all right. What do you what are you having right now?

Mariah Parsons 08:27

Yeah, so the so the one I'm having right now is Ginger lemon? Yeah, and I so I don't drink a ton of soda. So my Michelle I think you're right in that like your your perception or your expectation is probably different, right? Because Ali pop isn't your traditional soda. And so for me I really didn't have like I was like, Oh, I think I maybe drink anything like carbonated like a sprite like not a ton of I don't really like like root beer Coke or anything. So for me I like I like the ginger lemon route because I if I'm having tea, like usually it's ginger and lemon, so it matched well, but I like it. I think that because I didn't really know what to expect. I was like, oh, like cracking it open. I did kind of like the first step. I was like, Oh, it is a little bit different from what I planned. Like it kind of tastes like almost like kombucha a little bit like I could taste that it was definitely less sugar and better for me that sounds that makes sense to anyone like I could taste like that it was healthier.

Michelle Paulhus 09:37

Yeah. Yeah, I think that especially the ginger lemon flavor is I think popular especially with people who are coming from more like the kombucha kind of healthier drink spectrum or maybe more like sparkling water type of thing. But then some more of our classic sort of flavors or maybe more attractive to people who are really transitioning from, you know, the traditional So, another interesting thing just about our flavors is we hear a lot about different like food pairings with different flavors, which for me, is kind of like how I drink lollipop as well. Like, I really like a vintage cola with a burger. But like, you know, in the middle of a day for a treat, you know, that banana cream flavor that came out over the summer, you know, that's something that feels very indulgent, like a treat that I wouldn't actually pay with food, but it's a good kind of, you know, mid day pick me up as well.

Brian Lastovich 10:29

Okay, do you do talk about this on your website? Or not? Like what pairings or is that just kind of organic.

Michelle Paulhus 10:37

We do a lot of unsocial with that we have some blog posts about food pairings. We've done some email content about it. And we did. I think an email campaign last year, we took a lot of like UGC content of what people are posting on social like I like, you know, root beer with pizza and kind of giving people different inspirations of what to try and just interesting to hear what people like because I think everybody's kind of different to Oh, yeah,

Brian Lastovich 11:03

well, I bring that up, because so again, we talked to Tencel tea before. And their big thing that they're really pushing is like the recipes. And so they're trying to just push the ideas like exponentially. And then the tension side of, hey, here are a few recipes that are brand new from the user generated content that is being created and then putting it on their website and obviously, like trying to drive more traffic doing that.

Michelle Paulhus 11:27

Yeah, content for that. For us. Like that has worked really well. We have some really great kind of Instagram, user generated content of, you know, people pouring, you know, a certain flavor over ice cream and maybe mixing you know, alcohol and and making a little cocktail or mocktail. So a lot of different things you can do with ollie pop, just as soon as you could mix in with traditional soda, which is fine.

Mariah Parsons 11:52

Yeah, yeah, that's really fun. I know. You just said, Michelle, while we were hopping on this call that you just launched new flavors. Was it yesterday? You said? Yeah,

Michelle Paulhus 12:03

yesterday was the early access launch of our cherry cola flavor, which I'm on this morning. This is an exciting launch. The flavor is sold on drink But it's also exclusive at Target, which is the red color. You know, that matches. Exciting. First time we've done something quite like that, especially with a big national retailer like Target. So exciting launch. I think they have the flavor exclusive for the year. And it can also be purchased on our website.

Mariah Parsons 12:35

Yeah, so

Brian Lastovich 12:38

you don't have to answer this if it's like, private information or private data, but like what you said, during the pandemic, that's when you went to DTC you're like 100%? Is that what it was? Retail side before the pandemic? Did you have a website?

Michelle Paulhus 12:52

I wasn't part of the team at the time, but from what I understand, we were primarily retail. And the launch of our DTC website, I think was in February of 2020. So like, right as the pandemic was starting, so the timing was great. And it just allowed people a different way to purchase at that time when there was, you know, a lot of unknowns about, you know, am I gonna be able to get enough groceries? So that really created an audience, initial audience for drink But ever since then, our retail expansion has just skyrocketed. I think I saw a number yesterday that we're approaching 20,000 doors here very soon. So I think when I started, maybe we were at, well, 5000 6000 I don't remember the exact number. But our retail expansion has grown significantly, which has a lot of impact on our DTC business as well. Especially just in the the ratio of our business growth. It's definitely growing more in retail than b2c right now. But there's a definite definite relationship there between in store purchasing online. And we can talk a little bit more about that I got some interesting learnings we've had from

Brian Lastovich 14:07

let's go for that, like I because I was going to ask you like, what, let's go deeper. And what is that relationship? Like? Do you see that it's a first, like almost a first touch at retail? Like, hey, here's how you can get your sample.

Michelle Paulhus 14:19

Yeah, that's really what we're seeing right now. I looked a couple weeks ago, and really did a deep dive in our post purchase survey where we asked, you know, how did you hear about us first, and beginning of the year, retail was towards the bottom of that list of how people had heard about us. I've heard about us more through, you know, paid ads, social digital stuff. Now in August, it was the number one place people had heard about us. And so shift, you know, throughout just you know, the course of this year alone has really changed how people are interacting with Ali pop, you know, initially, which I think really, you know, From a DTC perspective might seem like maybe it's a bad thing, we're gonna lose some of our DTC business to retail. But I think with the way ollie pop approaches, kind of our omni channel approach to things, I think that's actually a really good thing for our DC business because it allows people to have easy access to try a can find their flavor that they like with so many that we have available, and then filter in through buying on DTC. So I think kind of, its I think of retail is kind of like a billboard for our DTC business and really taking that approach to things. And another interesting thing we've learned this year is we've surveyed people who are buying repeatedly on drink, drink And we asked the question, do you also buy in retail like Are you actively buy through us and in retail, and like 58% of people say they're buying in retail and online from us. So we know people are shopping in various ways. And we kind of as a brand and a business are kind of agnostic to where people are purchasing, which is a totally different perspective for me coming from a strict DTC business and being an open mind to, you know, our goal is really just to reach as many people as possible and be where people are shopping, however they want to shop versus trying to force people kind of down certain funnels.

Brian Lastovich 16:22

Well, that's what I was gonna ask you is like, Do you have any campaigns that are, hey, let's focus on getting these retail customers that are already buying us through retail, like getting them to the DTC, DTC side? Or it sounds like it's just been organic, and like, let them choose the path.

Michelle Paulhus 16:37

Yeah, it really has been mostly organic in terms of people coming from retail to rd to see we're not necessarily, you know, doing anything with our packaging to at this point, you know, we probably want to, you're kind of to drive to the to see from a retail purchase, we're really kind of relying on that organic trial at retail, and they'll come to two rd to see website and it seems to be working, you know, naturally without ad spend, which is great.

Brian Lastovich 17:07

Okay, so when you are buying retail? And this is more of a question, and just because I don't know how it works at retail, do you get any? Like, do you get any customer information at all, from from the targets of the world?

Michelle Paulhus 17:24

I mean, in terms of like, individual customer data? No, you know, we don't, we can't necessarily tie you know, a person purchasing target, and then they can't came to our website and purchase, we don't have that level of data, we just have kind of the the larger scale retail data that's available, just to see shopper trends as a whole. We can't necessarily tie those two things together, which is a, you know, an interesting challenge in terms of Yeah, gauging how that is working?

Brian Lastovich 17:52

Well, it's like, I feel like there's got to be ways around this, Brian, because it maybe I'm just going crazy. But like sometimes when we're shopping retail. So we have connected TV, like streaming TV, Hulu, is Hulu, live TV, and like we will get an ad from a few of the brands that we've purchased from in the last couple days. And so it's either just like, the targeting is great. They already know that we're planning to buy are they actually know that we bought? And do they do

Michelle Paulhus 18:21

know that you bought there? Yeah, there definitely is technology that can you know, track purchases, you know, through credit cards, and all of that. I mean, kind of nothing is secret anymore in terms of what we're all doing online and even in store. So all that data is there, but we can't necessarily, you know, directly connect those data points. I see. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 18:44

I would also think like URL tracking to have, because like, on social platforms, if you go to like someone's website, and then you know, it pops up later on your social feed, or vice versa. It's like you check out someone's Instagram, and then you're on Google or online, wherever and then their little ad pops up. Like I definitely think there are workarounds. But it's interesting hearing you talk about the experience with retail and DTC Michelle, because we had Ali pop on or sorry, we had proper could on as a guest in season one. And they were they started out in retail. And similar to Alibaba then joined the DTC space. And they have since converted, I believe, 100% to DTC just because of that reason that they couldn't get the the individualized data of who was purchasing with them, and they wanted that and they wanted that experience to be super personalized. And so because of that reason that I'm sure there is there has to be technology and ways that retailers could give individual sellers that information, but my hypothesis would be because they're the retailers. They're the big name brands. They don't have to write like If you're if you're going up against target and being like, I want my customer data, they're gonna be like, go somewhere else. Right? Like, they're probably not going to go through all of that for all of their sellers. No, yeah, to do that, but I'm sure it's possible, right? Like we, we discuss waves, we've seen it.

Michelle Paulhus 20:18

Yeah, and, you know, we're, we're getting there, we're finding ways to maybe not get to that level of data. But something that we just started working with, is a company called pear, which has basically allows us to create a store locator where people can shop from our email campaigns, like to And so we can track if people are making those purchases coming from, you know, our, you know, own channels and email, but we don't necessarily know exactly who did that, or what they purchased, just that they did. So we can see the relationship, but we can't, you know, messily market to a personal level based on that data.

Brian Lastovich 20:57

What is it? What is it Pear P E, AR? Yes. And then, so let's go back into like the retention side, like, do you use a lot of technology today, in just your normal responsibilities? So is that a big part of ally path?

Michelle Paulhus 21:14

Yeah, definitely. Even though you know, we have that kind of interesting relationship where we know people are shopping in, you know, multiple areas we do, a lot of people are shopping on drink And they're obviously, tactics we can do to help retain those customers. We use a lot of, you know, a lot of different things, one of the kind of biggest wins we've had, is working with repeat, I don't know if you're familiar with them. But yes, we use a lot of personalized shopping carts within our email campaigns. And I know maybe we'll get into a little bit more about email content and how we craft that. But a lot of our strategies like making that repeat purchase easy for customers through our regular content, engaging content, leading to conversion, we do a lot of that. And then we also last month, started using repeats, kind of trigger through Klaviyo, which really times are repeat, nurturing sequences based on their algorithm, whereas before we were using kind of clay vos predicted reorder date. So we rebuilt all of our campaigns based on that, and the initial data is like we've increased our purchase, purchase rate on those flows by 245%. It was kind of crazy. Wow. A change?

Brian Lastovich 22:31

So walk me through this a little bit, because so it's a, what you're deciding on is that you have a like a rebuy flow of like how to once we you think that they're done with their first purchase, and to get them the purchase again. And the trigger is all based on like, when does that start? And it's an estimation, and you're saying that CLEVEO had their own estimation, but the tool that you're using repeat, has, like you're trying this, and it's actually been really good so far.

Michelle Paulhus 23:00

Yeah, it's just performing, I think, a mix of the the timing of it. And then we did a lot of work just in terms of really segmenting out the reminder and the content for that repeat purchase based on how many purchases you made in the past what you've purchased before. And so we just did a lot of customization, with that flow, that between the timing of the flow, and then the work we've done on the content in the creative and the segmentation is really been performing really well. For us. It's exciting. Only email so far. Yeah, repeat does have a trigger through SMS. But it's a little bit harder to do a lot of the personalization that we've been able to do through email. So we have learning

Brian Lastovich 23:42

what type of personalization do you do?

Michelle Paulhus 23:45

So we really focus on how many purchases you've had, so that the reminder isn't the same for you know, from your first purchase to your second purchase to your third purchase. And then we also focus heavily on the first purchase, knowing that most people are buying the best seller or the variety sampler pack on their first purchase. We kind of follow up specifically about that flavor profile that they purchased and then suggesting suggesting another flavor to try based on what the person has purchased before.

Brian Lastovich 24:17

I, I feel like I feel like I'm asking like so many questions, question. So I appreciate like, with respect, because like now, I gotta like another question based off of this. Do you look at LTV by Well, let me take a step back. For flavors, what determines the successful flavor?

Michelle Paulhus 24:37

Um, you know, with the amount of flavor launches we've had this year, you know, a lot of our flavors are are new so they'll get a huge spike, you know, from interest of a new flavor launch and then it kind of stabilizes off just in terms of what is successful on DTC versus retail is also really interesting. We found that actually like our Most popular flavor in retail is strawberry vanilla. It's towards the bottom of the list for DTC, which is really interesting. And I think when that strawberry vanilla came out a while ago, or recently, strawberry, vanilla is one of our original flavors. So it's been kind of around from the beginning. But I think that comes down to like, retail availability. So strawberry, vanilla is available and a lot of retailers. But maybe some of our other flavors aren't. And so that's why they're more popular on DTC than in retail. So we're really looking at, you know, distribution of flavors, in terms of availability in the market, and really kind of honing in on what people are looking for that they can only get through rd to see website. So kind of what you know successful about a flavor really determines is really based on, you know, how people can access it? Which is interesting.

Brian Lastovich 25:55

Is there any? Like the more flavors that someone would try were to try? Do you think like, would your hypothesis be that there would be a longer time customer if they're trying a lot more of your flavors? Or is it the opposite? Is it like one flavor that what they're sticking to and they stay at customer for a very long time? Yeah,

Michelle Paulhus 26:18

I mean, we definitely see like our vintage Cola, subscription customers, that's like our number one subscription product. You know, people like that flavor. That's what they're used to, they stick to that. But now that we have so many new flavors coming out, adding the variety kind of helps keep things fresh. And I really think down to the to the individual. And especially when it comes to our subscription program. One thing that we've launched this year in relation to our new flavor launches is the ability for our subscription customers to add a case of the new flavor launch to their subscription, without having to purchase outside of their subscription at their subscription, discounted price. So that kind of creates and adds variety to the subscription at a discounted price. While still like retaining that that original purchase intent of the flavor that they love. Wow, trying something new, all in the same shipment, which has been really great for us.

Mariah Parsons 27:13

Yeah, do you guys have a for those new flavor launches? Is there like a cadence internally that you know that? Okay, we're releasing a new flavor each month or each quarter or something so that, you know, customers can kind of expect when I'm checking out for my subscription, or whatever, like, oh, I can add this new flavor? Is it just kind of like a surprise? Is there any messaging around that?

Michelle Paulhus 27:34

We don't necessarily say in advance, like when we're coming out the flavor, maybe like a few days before, but this year has really been a cadence where we just kind of had that much innovation in the year that I think people are kind of starting to expect that from us. Just because that has been what has happened this year. It wasn't necessarily super strategic in terms of we're gonna come out with a new flavor each month get ready for it. It was more just kind of organic as it evolved. Obviously, we had the flavors planned, but we didn't necessarily like layout the layout at the time.

Brian Lastovich 28:08

Yeah, I feel so you said it's not strategic. It comes off as strategic not saying that, but I'm saying that as a marketer, probably not as a consumer.

Michelle Paulhus 28:19

Yeah, I mean, yeah, we do, definitely, you know, try to space them out not to have, you know, two flavors back to back right away. And so there is a cadence to it, just to kind of spread it out throughout the year. But it's not necessarily like, you know, we've planned it exactly four weeks or six weeks or eight weeks, it's kind of actually it's a lot in relation to when the flavor is going to come out and retail. So you know, we've had a couple launches this year where the flavor people are finding it in retail before. We've really announced it on b2c, which has been interesting and kind of create some, some hype behind that, but we don't actually completely have control 100% one is going to hit shelves. So there's a lot of interesting dynamic between the retail timing and the DTC timing that we've learned a lot from this year.

Brian Lastovich 29:10

I feel like Alright, question for Mariah. I've had this aha moment listening to Michelle, which is the amount of flavors Right? Like there's so many, like, the difference I see is that you have to compare lollipop to something and so for me, obviously, I'm comparing it to normal Coke and Pepsi. Root Beer like normal ordered beer. And when I do that, I'm putting the normal Coca Cola like to the side and saying this is like bold. It's been around for a long time, lollipop, this is new. And then I'm looking at it from the sense of the flavors, I think it takes. My guess is it takes a long time for a company like Coca Cola to come out with a new product. There's a huge amount of resources needed and The logistics behind it, but like lollipops like, Hey, here's a new flavor has no flavor, and it makes me think of tick tock. And, and, and your generation, right? Because it's like, Give me something new, give me something new, give me something new or list at least give me the appearance that things are evolving and changing fast. It and again, Michelle, you said it's not strategic, but like, it comes across like that saying, like, hey, we can move really fast because people's tastes move very fast now. And it just seems that you're, it's not just being healthy for you. It's just like how the brand is. It's just different. And it's the opposite of what the old is.

Mariah Parsons 30:39

Yeah, I think I think a lot of it is the, that is what's very, like, I don't want to say trending right now. But it is trending of like, how fast can you be shown something new? And so like, no matter the industry, that's going to work in your favor, right? Like, everyone already knows Coca Cola, it'll be around for decades, whatever, forever, but it's this is okay. So Michelle, a little bit of background, we were talking about Instagram and tick tock of like, Coca Cola, they're always going to be known for that. And so even if they have like, little branch, like products or something that's different. They're, they're gonna be like, Oh, well, it's cool. If I'm gonna get a Coca Cola product, I'm just gonna get coke Right? Or like, they have like all their different like Coke Zero and everything like that. It's still going back to the same thing, though. So even though it's new flavors, I would say that Ali pop you're going to it because it's a at least this is my assumption, correct me if I'm wrong, Michelle, but like you're going to ollie pop, because it's a healthy alternative. You're going to Coca Cola, because that's what you know. So it is it is an interesting dynamic to look at the two of them and compare them. But I do think they are different in that like their brand story or their messaging and what who they're targeting because Coca Cola knows that they don't have to, you know, come out with a new product, because it's already established. All that, that kind of seems like that's your thing, right? Like you're coming out with all these interesting flavors. And it's a newer brand. So people don't have that same. They're not stuck in their ways the same way that you know, you'd look at Coca Cola. Yeah. Yeah, it's like Instagram and Tik Tok, like the same thing we were discussing on the last podcast.

Brian Lastovich 32:25

Your point was like the TIC tock video, Instagram photos, and Instagram is trying to move more into video. It's like, that's hard to do. Because it's already photos in our brain. That's kind

Mariah Parsons 32:36

of Yeah, yeah. And Coca Cola has like the, you know, they have, I can't even I don't even know them off the top of my head. But I know they have like, a cherry one, right? Like, they do have different flavors, but they're never gonna be as popular as the original, because that's what everyone knows and loves. Whereas all the pot, you know, you can look at you, you're presented with a bunch of different flavors immediately. So like, that's what they're more known for is what I'd argue

Michelle Paulhus 32:59

Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. And I think also, for this year for all your puppets, like we're really building out our core portfolio of flavors, like when we have had limited edition flavors, like the banana cream that we did in partnership with universal and the minions like that was a novelty flavor that was limited edition for a limited time. That's like the new new kind of exciting thing. But flavors that we've come out like the cherry cola and the cream soda. Those are like really iconic soda flavors, that I think we're kind of building that portfolio of flavors to really position ourselves to compete with a traditional soda, we need that that kind of flavor variety that people have come to, you know, be nostalgic about in their lives. Like they remember having a cream soda. That's why we have the cream soda is replicate that, that nostalgic feel. So it's a combination of excitement of the new flavors, but also just like coming out with that that core portfolio that really satisfies that, that longing for the soda that we remember as kids

Brian Lastovich 34:05

who's we should ask this early, early on. Especially being the retention manager like who is the who is the typical buyer and like how many buyers do you have, if you were to forecast that?

Michelle Paulhus 34:19

So Alibaba is I think is really going through a transition. In terms of who our core customer is. When Ali pop started, you know, we were more of that house product. We are targeting a lot of you know, healthy kombucha drinkers, whole food shopping moms, like that type of audience, you know, healthy influencers, that kind of audience. But now as we've expanded it, major retailers like Target and Walmart, you know, our our customer base is very wide now and that's what we really want in terms of our mission to really change what people are drinking and the relationship with soda. So, you know, as ollie pop expands our customer base is broader and broader and broader. And that's really a focus for our brand in the next year is really honing in on that messaging that appeals to a broad audience and doesn't necessarily get too preachy about, you know, health things and, you know, makes it more about the experience of, you know, enjoying something that's, you know, better for you without sacrificing too much of, you know, enjoyment of actually having a healthy product. So, our messaging and the approach to things is really kind of changing and who we're hoping to reach is expanding a lot. And it's really exciting, as a kind of better for you brand to be approaching that, that. That shift.

Brian Lastovich 35:45

That makes sense. I mean, obviously, the this is, I'm sure, like the whole company, think about it, but for a can right now, there's $3.99, I believe, or $2.

Michelle Paulhus 36:01

I think it depends on the retail that you're buying from, but I think our standard price is maybe 299, a lot of times you can buy it on sale for 249. It depends, it's on sale sometimes.

Brian Lastovich 36:11

And do you think you can reach that mass audience with that same price?

Michelle Paulhus 36:15

Um, you know, that is definitely a struggle for us, just in terms of, you know, the, the ingredients that go into our sodas, you know, very different than a sugar water basically. And so there's a lot of functional ingredients that really is, you know, creating that that cost shift, but our hope is that as we grow and can scale, we can, you know, bring that that cost down to reach a broader our broader audience. But I think that's where, you know, a lot of the work that I do in terms of retention, marketing, and communicating about the function of our product over time, is really, that's our opportunity to educate people like why is this soda costs 299 When I can get a coke for 50 cents? I mean, that's the opportunity to explain the difference and why, you know, ollie pop is, yeah, for you.

Brian Lastovich 37:07

Well, let's hit on that. Because on the emails that Mariah and I received, like, once we ordered a rally pop, I would say, that's, that's what came across, it was very educational. Especially like, hey, you know, the confirmation of the order. And I think the order was shipped, it was all about like, Hey, here's why this is good for you. So that's on purpose, obviously.

Michelle Paulhus 37:30

Yeah, yeah, we really, in the last year have structured our kind of post purchase journey based on kind of the first purchase, second purchase. And third purchase in terms of what we really want to communicate and kind of how we trickle that education over time. It's really focused on like, the first purchase is kind of defining what is a new kind of soda, that's the goal of that, that post purchase flow. Second purchase, we start to get a little bit more into function a little bit more about fiber, a little bit more about the microbiome. So it's kind of trickling education without like, kind of shoving it in your face right at the beginning, that can be a turnoff for a lot of people. But as you get more invested in, ollie pop becomes a habit, you're drinking it regularly. We want to educate ecommerce customers on you know, what that's actually meaning for you, and you know, how it can make a difference in your daily life without necessarily starting with that, leading with that we're leading more with the, you know, it's a new kind of soda, rather than it's a sparkling health tonic.

Mariah Parsons 38:34

Yeah, I really appreciate the education behind it. Because I think that's, for me, at least, like that's the messaging that I like to hear about is like, Oh, how is this like, I remember there's even a little like, like, little tip, little health tip, and it was like, oh, like, probiotics, right? Like, your microbiome, your gut that you know, the ingredients that are in all the pot that is helping your digestive system and so like I always appreciated that and so of course, when I got the order confirmation it was it was great to see and I love the the can to like at the top it says like supports digestive health, there's like sun, of course, we're internet, put it in, but like all those little things that I want to go into, like the messaging a little bit to have all the branding, like how do you get that across without being too like preachy and still trying to captivate that wider audience that you were saying, ollie pop is, you know, trying to go after, right, you're not you're not just exclusively in this more niche community, but it's like how do you balance getting that messaging and branding across to a point that it isn't so overwhelming that it you know, doesn't it isn't relatable for the masses, right? So I would love to I know you said that lollipop, in terms of its audience is going into the transition in terms of a wider reach, but I'd love to know does has the branding always stayed the same like they can and the whole process of, you know, crafting those emails and all the socials that has that also kind of grown and adapted as, as the audience has.

Michelle Paulhus 40:13

Yeah, just a little bit of like kind of background on Alia pop and kind of the evolution of the branding. Back in the very beginnings of lollipop, it actually had a completely different look and feel like the packaging was totally different it focused more on like the ingredients. You know, of all I pop, our co founders, Ben and David had like a gut feeling about that, that wasn't really what they wanted to put out. And that ended up they scrapped it all and ended up to what you see today in terms of, you know, the very colorful, nostalgic feeling of our packaging, which is 1,000% been a large part of our success just It looks fun to drink and Alibaba packaging. But in terms of like the nuances of, of our packaging and the branding, this is where the the slight shift that we're going through right now. And like I mentioned a couple of times, some of our can save sparkling tonic, and you'll see over the next year, they're starting to specifically say a new kind of soda. I don't know if you're a Kansas, sparkling tonic, it reminds us yeah, my cherry cola that just came out says a new kind of soda. Oh, that's fun. Because really what we're focusing on, that's the kind of transition between sparkling tonic sounds much more like a healthy beverage, a new kind of soda is, you know, oh, it's soda, you know, it's not sparkling water, it really defines what the product is, but also kind of to being slightly what's a new kind of soda? What does that mean? And so that's where, you know, a lot of the education then comes in from the curiosity of what a new kind of soda actually means.

Brian Lastovich 41:55

And trying to start your own new category. It sounds like

Michelle Paulhus 41:59

Yeah, I mean, that's, that's really we're doing we're, you know, a functional beverage, but trying to break from kind of that strict category into something that really can't compete with a traditional soda. Yeah. But you know, in terms of how we keep people engaged, especially, you know, you mentioned that the price point, and really communicating that is making that educational content fun and engaging. And just by the nature of, you know, lollipops, branding and packaging, you know, it's colorful, it's fun, we have amazing creative team that really does an amazing job of combining, you know, fun visuals with, you know, really kind of maybe unexpected copy that, you know, can get really fun. In some of our campaigns, like we really kind of go for a different approach that maybe other kind of healthy brands might not, I think one of the the questions on the list here was about, you know, what is a, you know, campaign that you really enjoyed working on? And I think this really kind of ties into your question like, we go for it in terms of the educational content, we worked on a campaign with a partner with a registered dietician to create an educational content that just really addressed a very common question we get, which is, does Ali pop make you poop? Like? We get that question a lot. We introduced that concept, it was eye catching, and different and something people wonder with the fiber content and our product. And so it was just kind of a fun way to engage that cop that concept without you know, making a five page dissertation on the benefits of fiber. That's kind of the approach that we take is talking about the topic, but in a kind of friendly, engaging way, like really thinking about how you might talk to a friend about, you know, healthy changes.

Mariah Parsons 44:00

Very light hearted, I like Yes.

Brian Lastovich 44:01

When you said you got a lot of questions that you got a lot of questions, a brand got a lot of questions. It'd be odd if you just got it. But like, I mean, we're individuals emailing Alibaba, is that or was it just kind of like you saw this in different communities and threads? People were asking that or were they actually like, let's find the email to Alibaba, to Michelle and I have a question.

Michelle Paulhus 44:25

No, it really has come from a lot of different channels. We see that question on social we get it directly. You know, in our CX inbox, if you start to Google does ollie pop one of the things that comes up is a common searches does all we've seen these things and we you know, seeing that people are asking these questions, so let's talk about it and it is.

Brian Lastovich 44:53

Number three for me does have caffeine does IPOP have alcohol.

Mariah Parsons 44:57

Thank you That's sorry, a brand awareness to

Brian Lastovich 45:03

Yeah, that's great. Let's go. I'm curious about the second one, does all your thoughts have an alcohol? Is this a is this something that the team has considered? at all or no partnership somewhere?

Michelle Paulhus 45:16

You know, we definitely have, you know, recipes and suggestions about different cocktails that you can make. But I don't know that we're really in this space and starting to come out with,

Brian Lastovich 45:27

especially if you just did sparkling tonic and you're like, oh, gosh, we gotta change this.

Michelle Paulhus 45:31

Yeah, you know, who knows what will come in the future for all your pop. But, you know, I wouldn't necessarily rule it out. But we've got a lot of a lot of plans just on, you know, really tackling the soda market. So that might be a little little ways off.

Brian Lastovich 45:46

So I want to take a quick step backwards and talk about those emails really quick. I guess, like what I wanted to say is like, comment more than a question, but more just for audience, right? Like, there's, so we've worked with so many merchants that are like, hey, just Yep, just send the email that says, Your orders on the way. And then an email that says your order is at your doorstep, for example. And that's it. But what we try to communicate to our merchants, which sounds like Michelle, you're already well ahead, well aware of this is that there's always this like, guilt. There's a little bit of guilt, as soon as you click on the Buy button, right? It's like, oh, like, did I make the right decision to purchase this product or not? And I felt it was the flow that you put together, like, helped with that guilt along the way, it made me assure myself that I made the right decision, right. Like it was okay, I'm buying this for health reasons. And then like, the very first email was the confirmation that it was purchased. And then I think there was information there about, again, like the health reasons, like you said, like the first flow, so just like general overall high level health reasons about Ali pop, and it was sure it was educational. But like, honestly, you just made me feel reassured that I made the right decision. That's something that you've thought about as well, too, or did that also just come organically?

Michelle Paulhus 47:09

Yeah, I definitely have thought about that, especially with the with the price point, and especially with the price point of purchasing on our website, you know, to commit to buying a whole 12 case of something that maybe you haven't tried before, our hope is that you have tried it before in retail, but you know, maybe you haven't or it's a new flavor, there really is a need to confirm that you made the right decision. And you know, something exciting is coming from the you know, the investment that you made in in yourself really,

Brian Lastovich 47:38

what what, so you talked about the goal, the going from first purchase a second purchase, second purchase third purchase, and you have campaigns for each one of those, like, how do you know that it's working or not?

Michelle Paulhus 47:54

Well, I think this really comes down to like, kind of the longer game of retention is like, you don't really until you really have time with it. And you watch those campaigns. And you look at, you know, how people are engaging with the content. But then also, you know, are we making that bridge from first to second purchase? How many people go through that flow and end up? Do we repurchasing also making those campaigns easy to purchase from? So we're looking at the engagement of those flows? You know, are people engaging with that content, but then also, does that content actually generating sales, it might not be our goal from the content, the goal is, you know, the education to make you feel good about your purchase. But then, you know, do people end up actually buying from that email? And we're seeing that, that that is the case. So that's kind of two things that we're looking at is, you know, are people engaging with the content are people purchasing from those flows? But then do they ultimately end up repurchasing as well?

Brian Lastovich 48:59

That's, that's what I've heard. Just just your reconfirming that like, yes, like, even though it's an email, like you still will track the engagement of that email, and then if someone is purchasing off of that email, yeah, yeah.

Mariah Parsons 49:14

I do want to add to or Michelle, do you have something to add on to? Okay, I want to add that so getting the emails the pop up for it. So this is the post purchase emails, right? When you get I think it was in the order. Your order is on the way, so out for delivery email, and there was a pop up to refer a friend. And so it was like, you know, send this to your friends $15 off whatever. And then there was also another part of that, which is, of course, anyone who listens to the podcast will know, I was intrigued by which was your, I guess a partnership or integration. I'm not sure what the technical term is there but you We're working with bounty. And so, you know, from the consumer point of view, it's like this little, it has it in your emails and it's like, okay want want to get paid to create a tick tock of you drinking lollipops, something along those lines. And so I of course, had to set up the process and see what it was all about. But can you tell us more about kind of that, like it can be high level just about bounty? And what the inspiration behind that was? Because I'm, I have my hypothesis, but I would love to hear your reasoning,

Brian Lastovich 50:31

and maybe talk a little bit about like, what, sorry, I was even even confused, honestly, like, when you told me Mariah, like, what? What it's like a link, like, if you could explain exactly what your what it looks like.

Michelle Paulhus 50:41

Sure. So well, actually, the process for bounty actually starts immediately after post purchase on the confirmation page. So on the confirmation page, there is a widget through an integration we have with bounty, which is really just an experiment for us right now something that we're trying. And basically what it says on that confirmation page is do you want to get paid to talk about all a pop, and because you've got the product coming to you've already purchased it, you can sign up to basically make tic tock videos about all Hip Hop once it arrives. And you sign up through a process to basically going to commit to making content, the content, you know, exists organically on the individual creators accounts. And then bounty tracks the views on that content, and then pays out creators based on news just kind of organically and naturally without being just on views. Yes. Yeah. And as a brand, you can set up different like thresholds for for us, you one, and I don't actually know all the details of how we have that set up. But that's the kind of general flow of it. And what we've done is, because that that really exists, like on the confirmation page, which is you see, maybe once when you check out, we've worked it into our post purchase flows and emails as well. So that you're getting that that information about bounty like basically as you're receiving the product as well. So that seems to work well, for us, just in terms of timing, we're seeing a lot of organic content come out of that. And you know, that has been great for us. It's, you know, very early stages of, you know, working with bounty, but so far seems to be working well, just in terms of the amount of content that we're getting and our Tik Tok presence really growing as a brand. But actually, I think just yesterday, I heard from bounty that they actually have a new integration with Klaviyo, that they can set up a separate trigger to send like a dedicated email about bounty that sends you through a whole personalized experience to sign up for it outside of the confirmation page. Because currently,

Brian Lastovich 52:45

you have to relate to coming from all though it wouldn't be still coming from all Yeah, it would be coming

Michelle Paulhus 52:49

from Ali pop through our account, you know, message exactly how we want to but just allow that messaging and to exist outside of that post purchase email. And it's all kind of timing and flow.

Brian Lastovich 53:03

So is that is that difficult for you, though? Because it's like two competing metrics, right? Like, it's like, Okay, we got to focus on the retention piece. And educating the consumer. And then at the same time, it's like, well, can they generate content to help us generate even new consumers? Is that a difficult thing to do for you,

Michelle Paulhus 53:23

that is, you know, something we just in general constantly have struggled with is, you know, that post purchase experience, there's so much that we could say and want to say, you know, you only have so much space, but we use that kind of as an experiment. And we've had the opportunity, we wanted to see if we could get that content created. And that was really the best and only place to put it. So, you know, are we temporarily sacrificing maybe another placement? Yes. But, you know, in the spirit of innovation and experimentation, you know, that's kind of the sacrifice we sometimes have to make?

Brian Lastovich 54:01

Well, it probably comes down to personalization, right? Like, if you can understand the customer from the beginning, like, showing me a bounty like probably doesn't make sense, unless maybe Mariah thinks that I should start a tic tac soon. But like showing about the tumor, I mean, it makes more sense. And I think like that would be interesting by conditional flows based on either first party data that you have, or like third party data that saying like, Hey, Brian master, which has, you know, these social media accounts linked to him.

Michelle Paulhus 54:34

Yeah, definitely. And I think that integration that is coming out with bounty will allow us to personalize that more. Yeah. Especially,

Mariah Parsons 54:43

I would offer to even though you know, I'm sure it's a trade off with the educational content versus having the bounty tic toc offering there. I would offer that it lends itself so bound Tea, it lends itself to retention, as well. Right? Like, so you're creating the content. And so that's another way for Ali pop to have a relationship with their consumer that is different from other like,

Brian Lastovich 55:18

the owner and the product. It's almost like you're an owner in the product. Now you're part of the marketing team. Yeah. So you gotta you gotta be exactly if you want to be an owner to it. And there's

Mariah Parsons 55:27

a motivator there, right? Like the compensated whatever. But there's also like subliminal or subconscious level, it's like, oh, I'm now more committed to all HIPAA, because I am putting any, if I've signed up for bounty, I'm putting more work into it putting more time investing more time. And so if you see that then become successful as an individual. And as a consumer, you're like, Oh, I'm going to keep working with all HIPAA keep consuming their product, because when I like it, too, there's this other avenue that it's like now as a consumer, I can create content and get compensated for it on the back end. So I would say even though it is an interesting toss up to experiment with of, okay, you're not putting in like this blog post. I think it also lends itself nicely to the relationship building aspect of retention, but also is it plays into the branding a bit, in my opinion, because it's newer for all the pop like, I haven't seen that before. So I'm like, Oh, wow, they're really on top of it. They're such a fun brand. They're on tick tock, right. Like, even if you aren't on tick tock, I think there's still to be

Brian Lastovich 56:29

on tick tock to be a fun product. Oh, yes. Yeah.

Michelle Paulhus 56:33

Actually, we used that bounty offer is kind of like actual growth, a new customer acquisition tool? Well, because our team who makes our tic tock content is amazing. They they did a tick tock directly about bounty basically saying, you know, purchase from all a pub with this promo code, and you can get paid to talk about lollipop. So we've seen orders come from the fact that we've said, new new orders come from the fact that we've said, you can end up doing this with, you know, the lollipop that you will purchase, even though you haven't ever tried it before. Or maybe you've tried it in store. But now here's a new a new way to interact with the brand. We actually used a campaign at the initial launch of bouncy with a promo code, we targeted some people who are very new to our flows who haven't purchased yet alongside, you know, some kind of consistent, long term customers with us. And we saw a lot of people purchase Alibaba for the first time because of that bounty offer, which is really interesting. So I think it works both both ways for us.

Brian Lastovich 57:40

Yeah, I think what we've heard, and what I believe now is like a great post purchase experience, not just improves retention and customer lifetime value and such but accelerates the the upper funnel and new customer growth as well, too. And like that's a classic example what you're sharing with us, Michelle? Yeah, we

Mariah Parsons 58:02

want to present. Yeah. Oh, this has been so much fun. I know. I just looked at the time.

Brian Lastovich 58:09

I finish all six cans. I

Mariah Parsons 58:12

1212. And there's all 12 cans. Yeah. You didn't see me. I wouldn't even be able to talk about finishing all 12 cans, I'd be like, That's true. That's amazing. Yeah, you're right. I know. Wow, super powers. But Michelle, this has been so fun. One last question that we like to ask our guests is any resource that can be, you know, in business in general, it can be a book or a podcast, or just general advice that you give, what would be one thing that you would share with our audience?

Michelle Paulhus 58:41

Yeah, I think this is more just like general advice. And something that I really keep in mind as I'm working is that retention is about like the long term. And it can be really, you know, maybe losing my words, it can be very tempting to kind of compare it to maybe some growth strategies that are very exciting, large budgets, exciting campaigns, big, big splashes, whereas retention is that that long term process, it takes a lot of grind and refinement and willing to like really commit to the process that in the long term is really rewarding, but it takes a certain, you know, mindset to really focus on that. That long term goal.

Mariah Parsons 59:27

Yeah, I love that.

Brian Lastovich 59:28

You have to have patience. Myrna. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 59:31

No, that no. Oh, can you do this? I'll think of that. Well, I'm sipping on my lollipop. Well, Michelle, this has been a blast. So thank you again for making the time and telling us more about the ins and outs of ollie pop and everything in between.

Michelle Paulhus 59:44

Yeah, thank you guys. This was fun.

Brian Lastovich 59:46

Thanks, Michelle.