How Remedy is using digital marketing and commerce to drive conversion

Australian fermented drinks producer talks through its recent digital tech investments and how they've been vital to riding out the COVID-19 pandemic

A prudent investment into ecommerce and marketing automation platforms has enabled Australian health beverages brand, Remedy Drinks, to better ride out the COVID-19 pandemic and drive commercial growth.

Remedy was founded in Melbourne in 2012 by Sarah and Emmet Condon and produces a range of fermented beverages, the flagship being Kombucha. The company today operates across A/NZ, Singapore, Canada and the UK with a range of products including coconut water, Switchel, Tepache and Soda.

With a desire to build out its direct-to-consumer ecommerce and marketing automation capabilities, the company adopted Magento’s commerce platform as well as dotdigital’s email marketing platform in early 2019. Growing popularity and expansion of its brand and customer database made it vital to improve the way the business engaged consumers in the digital space, Remedy digital marketing and ecommerce manager, Tom Melenhorst, told CMO. The group previously lacked the ability to tailor and personalise content and communications.

Having selected Magento as its ecommerce foundation, Remedy chose dotdigital’s digital Engagement Cloud because it integrated seamlessly with the former and offered user-friendly segmentation, automation and customer data management capabilities. Given Remedy’s lean operating model, dotdigital’s comprehensive onboarding process was also a major selling point, Melenhorst said.

The two platforms were rolled out concurrently, going live in Australia in April 2019, then across Remedy’s four international markets in July. First use cases were consumer newsletter EDMs.

“We from a zero base of driving revenue via email to 15 per cent of overall revenue in 12 months, which is a significant number,” Melenhorst said. Remedy also relies on direct site traffic, Google search, and automated subscriptions via Magento.

“For us, it was looking at ways to use this as a revenue driving channel. We had a lot of new SKUs launch last year in the market, and we could also bring that to life using dotdigital.”

Another early use case was cart abandonment, an easy way to capture potentially lost revenue. Melenhorst said Remedy is chalking up a 50 per cent clickthrough rate, creating more purchases through the email channel.

As Remedy’s database has expanded from 5000 to about 40,000 customers, Melenhorst’s team started doing more targeted and segmented pieces with ‘loyalists’. This has included using engaged customers for consumer research.

“We can analyse who is purchasing a lot of Kombucha, then try to make business decisions based on what our most loyal customer want as they have the best idea about our brand,” he explained. “We have created a segment in our database so we can learn from the people who know our brand the best.”

Another targeted campaign for Valentine’s Day specifically targeting customers who had purchased recently outperformed site-wide promotions with a slightly bigger discount. Further automated efforts include a social media program for influencers and athletes supporting the Remedy brand, featuring triggered gift cards and content once every 30 days on average.

“Another big use case is product education – we have a master program so once consumers join our database, we take them on a journey around Remedy, introduce consumers to us and the drinks we have, talk through health benefits, then SKUs we have,” Melenhorst said. “Product education and other kinds of automated content are not that big in terms of resource demands, but having material to help consumers better understand our drinks and the health benefits is critical for us.”

COVID-19 pivot

It’s proven a timely technology transformation for Remedy. Melenhorst said building out ecommerce and automation and trigger-based marketing has been vital in responding to a hefty spike triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Having a bit of time up our sleeves to be able to trade online and learn everything we needed to learn prior to the COVID explosion of traffic and sales allowed us to be more ready when COVID struck and online sales spiked from March,” he said. “I don’t know what we would have done if we’d still be on Wordpress.

“We would have struggled to keep up with demand without these platforms.”   

One way Remedy has been able to capitalise on the digital investment is to replace sampling, a key marketing activity. Using Web forms via Magento, the team launched the ‘Booch for ya bestie’ campaign in April/May allowing consumers to nominate a friend for a free case of Kombocha. This was followed by a ‘Teacher ap-peach-iation’ campaign offering the first 300 teachers signed up access to free product.

“It’s hard to measure success given it’s a product giveaway, but the responses, commentary and numbers of people sending us direct messages point to its success,” Melenhorst said. “Seeing people get a kick out of doing something we would do anyway, but in a different landscape, was fantastic.

“We also sent coupon codes with online orders to our customers, so it meant everyone was getting stuff, while helping us with data capture.”  

Having sent out its newsletter on a fortnightly basis before COVID struck, Remedy has upped this to a weekly frequency, and built out a broader range of content including messages from its founders, tips on things to ferment, sourdough recipes with Kombucha and more. More conversion-based social media advertising is another part of the strategy.

While direct-to-consumer business is only a small percentage of Remedy’s business, the company's online business has recorded 300 per cent year-on-year growth in the last quarter.

Key for Melenhorst in the next 6-12 months is getting better at personalisation. Alongside its loyalists segment, Remedy has started a re-engagement program, and review emails are another priority.

“Being in the ‘taste’ business, reviews are critical for our business,” he said. “We’re using the dynamic content function to tailor emails based on what a consumer has purchased, and asking what they think. Validation from other consumers is very important for an emerging category like ours.”

Ultimately, the digital capabilities are helping Melenhorst and the Remedy team pursue brand awareness through to conversion online.

“We have been able to do sampling, consumer research and capitalise with consumer engagement because of the platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic. I can’t stress enough we would have been so much worse off without these,” he added.  

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