Says Marketing Manager Jeff Johnston, “It’s a complex hobby and there are very delicate animals involved. The way we succeed is by helping our customers succeed, and that’s what drives most of our marketing and content strategy.” Johnston, who runs all things marketing from paid search and retargeting to social media campaigns and brand ambassador programs, has spent over ten years learning about and catering to Marine Depot’s potential and existing customer base.
“The way we succeed is by helping our customers succeed, and that’s what drives most of our marketing and content strategy.”
In the age of Amazon, it seems as if everyone is racing to keep up with evolving consumer expectations and demands. One place where Marine Depot was feeling the pressure was with fast and free shipping, which Amazon offers for all Prime subscribers. “We’ve had to adapt to compete. We used to house all of our aquarium stuff in California and now we’ve opened east and west coast locations so that we can get all of our customers’ orders to them faster,” says Johnston about the business decision. “We also began offering free shipping and have seen order volume go up because of that, too.”
Another area where Johnston saw an opportunity to upgrade the Marine Depot customer experience was through the online order tracking experience. At least that’s the revelation he had after encountering the Narvar Track post-purchase solution at a conference: “I liked it right away. It was obviously a great experience, and it surprised me because I’d never seen anything like it before. It was one of those, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ moments.”
Narvar partnered closely with Johnston and the Marine Depot team to ensure they were able to get as much out of the solution as possible. As someone who enjoys testing, learning, and optimizing as a way to continuously see better results, he immediately began taking advantage of the many opportunities offered by the platform. “The most popular email we send is the one saying that an order has shipped—a customer wants to track that sucker. With Narvar, the tracking page itself can be used for marketing. I never would have thought of such a valued touchpoint as a way to market to our customers, and share content with them. It’s all done in a very non-pushy way,” says Johnston. “And I like to experiment with the assets on the page to see what’s resonating with folks. If it’s helping us make sales, it stays. If it’s not, it goes.” His test-and-improve mentality seems to be working, too, as the team has seen a 4.3% month-over-month increase in marketing asset click-throughs.
Another aspect of the solution that Johnston appreciates is how simple it is to manage via Narvar’s hub. “It’s easy for me to put creative up quickly, and from anywhere. In fact, when I was away on vacation and needed to make a change, it took me maybe two minutes to take care of everything. The speed and accessibility aspects are important, and I love that we don’t have to pull in any back-end resources to take care of any of it.”
“With Narvar, the tracking page itself can be used for marketing. I never would have thought of such a valued touchpoint as a way to market to our customers.”
After implementing Narvar Track to help improve its post-purchase customer experience, Marine Depot has seen:
Johnston plans on continuing his method of testing and optimizing the Marine Depot tracking experience in order to see both his customers and the company succeed. And he’s having a good time with it to boot: “It’s a fun tool! I’m just taking advantage of all the capabilities to figure out what will work best in the long term.”
Online aquarium superstore Marine Depot was founded in 1998 by self-proclaimed reef geek and pre-med student Ken Wong. From products and animal care info to advice and friendly support, the retailer—which has grown to become one of the world’s largest suppliers of reef and marine aquarium products—helps consumers with all of their marine life needs. Garden Grove, CA
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