Customer Journey No. 3: How I Became a Spindrift Addict

I drink 18-20 cans of Spindrift each week. Our recycling bin at home is mostly two things: cans of Spindrift and blueberry pint containers.

My trash can fills up pretty quickly with Spindrift cans.

Spindrift is a sparkling water with a real squeezed fruit. There’s no added sugar and they’re pretty low in calorie count (usually in the 10-20 range). 

I’ve tasted all the flavors, even the less popular ones like Strawberry and Cucumber.

I’ve tried all the flavors currently available. Screenshot above taken from

My top 5 favorites, in order, are:

  1. Lemon
  2. Grapefruit
  3. Blackberry
  4. Mango Orange
  5. Lime

Raspberry Lime and Cranberry are also great and just right outside my top 5. I don’t really like the Half & Half (basically a lemon + tea Arnold Palmer) except when it’s really hot outside and I’ve already had my cold brew coffee for the day.

The Customer Journey Starts with Bagels

I had heard of Spindrift a long while ago, when their distribution was a bit more limited. Someone who was a client contact at one company had moved over to work at Spindrift. He came over to our office once to talk about e-commerce. We didn’t get to work together but it was probably the first time I got exposed to the existence of Spindrift as a brand.

However, I didn’t go out of my way to try it out. In fact, I would see it at Whole Foods or bodega store shelves and just ignore them.

It wasn’t until a bagel shop opened up in our neighborhood that I got my first taste. When we went for the second or third time, my wife picked up a tall can of Spindrift Orange Mango. I remember thinking it was refreshing but nothing special.

Every week thereafter, when we went for our Saturday morning bagels, adding a Spindrift to the order became a habit. We ended up trying the flavors they carried, which included Raspberry Lime and Lemon.

The Impact of the Weather

As the weather got warmer, I began to pick up bottles of white wine or rosé on my way home every few days.

The thing I love about whites and rosés is the initial sip that is the perfect combo of cold, tart, and refreshing. Our old apartment did not have the best air conditioning and I was usually hot and bothered from my commute home, so the thought of ice cold wine was irresistible for me.

Once I popped open a bottle, I might finish 50-75% of it that evening, sipping throughout and after a meal while relaxing. It was a great way to celebrate the coming of summer but there were a couple of drawbacks:

  1. it wasn’t a cheap habit even if the bottles were in the $15-$25 price range
  2. it wasn’t the healthiest of habits as alcohol often impacted my sleep quality

At around the same time, my wife picked up a pack of Spindrift Lemon from Whole Foods. One day, determined to work out, I came home and didn’t drink wine. Instead, I opened a can of Spindrift and boom–it achieved the exact same job that the wines had done all along: cold, tart, and refreshing.

Of course, I didn’t know it exactly at the time, but a few days passed by and we were out of Spindrift. I had not had any wine during that time. Instead, I just crushed can after can of Spindrift.

I was hooked.

I asked my wife if we could get more. We went on Amazon and ordered a variety pack, which is a 20-can pack that includes Grapefruit, Lemon, Raspberry Lime, and Orange Mango.

We made room for a Spindrift section in the fridge.

We got it a couple days later. Five days later, we were out. We ordered some more.

And all this time, my wine consumption went down even more. I ended up drinking only on special occasions when friends came over or we went out to eat.

Big League Drinking

I consistently began consuming at least 2 cans of Spindrift every weekday and at least 4 cans per day on weekends (sometimes 5 or 6). Our subscription via Amazon to two 20-can packs per month barely lasted 10 days. The only thing that slowed us down is if we traveled or had multiple nights where I was out.

We supplemented our subscription with “emergency Spindrift” purchases at Whole Foods. These would generally be one or two 8-can packs. However, even these were just not enough and we had some unfortunate days where we ran out.

I decided to place a big order to help build a stash that would help us more sustainably supplement our two 20-can subscriptions. I ordered 96 cans split among four flavors: Half Tea & Half Lemon, Blackberry, Lemon, and Cranberry.

Our initial “stash” order from Amazon.

While it took up a lot of space, I felt secure and Spindrift-rich. And not once did I ever think I would tire of it.

Our stash of Spindrift piled high and unboxing the Half & Half.

The stash lasted a good 6 weeks. I re-upped with another order, this time for 120 cans: 2x Blackberry, 2x Half Tea & Half Lemon, and 1x of the Cranberry.

We killed the Blackberry and Cranberry pretty quickly, but the Half Tea & Half Lemon, because I don’t like drinking any caffeine close to bedtime, took much longer to complete (still have some cans left). I probably won’t buy any Arnold Palmers again.

Most recently, we received another giant order about 7 weeks later. We did have to supplement with a couple emergency Spindrifts from Whole Foods during that time as we absolutely killed our 20-can variety packs.

This time around, we ordered 96 cans, 24-can packs of: Blackberry, Lime, Cranberry, and Lemon.

Passing Fad?

My smoothie phase ended when I took up intermittent fasting and started not eating anything in the mornings. It was also a lot more work to keep up. I could never stand to take protein shakes consistently as my stomach didn’t find them agreeable. With Spindrift, its stickiness is in the simplicity of the ingredients–just sparkling water plus real fruit juice and no additives.

I’ve caught myself several times now, especially during football season, when I walked over to my fridge to grab a beer only to second-guess and opt for a Spindrift because of the trade-offs. I wasn’t going to drink enough to get a buzz anyway but rather to enjoy that “crisp” feel of carbonated liquid with some kind of flavor. With Spindrift, I get that crispness without the guilt of empty calories.

Even with beer available on Sundays, I’ve found myself opting for Spindrift almost all the time. Those beers have been there for several weeks now.

To the extent I want Spindrift to do the job that wine and beer did for me, I think it’ll remain part of my daily habit.

One other thing I’ll note again is the simplicity of Spindrift’s ingredients. I don’t care that each can has a few calories because I much prefer having real juice to things like “grapefruit essence” based on oils (La Croix) or “natural flavors” (Bubly). I very much can imagine and taste real juice squeezed and mixed with sparkling water vs. who knows what with the more processed alternatives.

Being Everywhere Matters

Whenever I travel, I try to see if I can find Spindrift. Outside of New York City, it’s not alway been easy. Whenever we go to my in-laws in Pennsylvania, we always pack a few cans for the ride there.

When it comes to a daily consumable like Spindrift, it’s better to be everywhere than limited to certain “brand-compatible” retailers. Much like Pellegrino, I won’t think less of Spindrift if I found it at a CVS/gas station/a local bodega vs. a Whole Foods. What matters to me is convenience and availability. In this way, I equate it to the ubiquity of KIND bars and how they’ve kept the overall brand feel intact.

But this leads me to another topic: how I’m not at all the target and how I’m not as loyal to the brand as I am to its functionality.

The Spindrift Brand: Not for Me

I’m rarely on Instagram so writing this post was the first time I saw Spindrift’s Instagram account. I was immediately reminded that I am not the target demo. It is, predictably, white female 18-35 with healthy lifestyle aspirations and big on Instagram use. Cool, wish I had never seen this.

Doesn’t seem like a brand targeting a 36 year-old Asian man. Then again, very few brands do.

My loyalty to Spindrift is based on its functional features: the flavors, the simplicity of ingredients, the availability via Amazon Prime, and the job it’s been successfully hired to do in my life. I’ve been satisfied enough that I haven’t actively looked for an alternative.

But that’s not to say that another brand with the same simplicity but slightly different flavors couldn’t take its place, especially if they’re able to match on price and availability.

For now, Spindrift can expect monthly recurring revenues of around $80-$90 (2x 20-can subscriptions for around $22 and 4x 24-can pack every 7-8 weeks), which means an annual value of $960-$1,080 per year. And nothing says loyalty like actual dollars.

The Spindrift E-commerce Opportunity

Spindrift’s own e-commerce site offers the same products at higher prices, so there’s no reason to ever make the switch.

That said, I could be persuaded if all of the following were true:

  • Subscription pricing led to a match with Amazon’s prices while also allowing me to accrue some kind of Spindrift loyalty points that could be redeemed for even more Spindrift.
  • Special early access to new flavors, even experimental or limited edition ones that may never get mass distribution.
  • Acknowledgement that I’m in the X percentile of Spindrift purchasers and maybe even a VIP designation or ranking # —just some badge to show off because validation, even from a brand, sometimes feels nice.

But short of these, Spindrift comes with my toilet paper and paper towels and occupies its place as just another commodity. A refreshing and tasty one.

Customer Journey No. 2: The Same Wine Store for 12+ Years

Note: The image of the wine store above is not the store described in this article, so stop trying to guess!

I’ve been going to the same wine store in South Slope for over 12 years. By my estimation, I’ve spent at least $5,000 if not closer to $7,500 during that time at the one location. However, nobody at the store knows my name. They do not have my purchase history. Even though I’ve been helped by the same folks, nobody has made an attempt to get to know me or my preferences.

What I get for my continued patronage is a punch card. When I get 12 punches, the 13th bottle I can purchase for $0.99. The value of that bottle is determined by the average price I paid for the 12 bottles. I also get to write my email down on the back, which is then entered into a monthly drawing for some prize. Despite numerous entries, I’ve yet to win.

For all its charms and the seasonally updated window decorations, this wine store suffers from a customer relationship management (CRM) problem.

The CRM Opportunities

I’ve found that the wine stores in my corner of Brooklyn (and also in Lower Manhattan where my office is) are generally old school when it comes to data capture.

I’ve visited the same wine store at least 200 times in the past 12 years. The purchase data alone should tell a really rich story about my preferences (wine types, wines vs. spirits, etc.), my price range, average basket size, frequency of purchases, seasonal behavior, etc.

Across that span of time, you could even get a sense of the shifts in my taste and spending (e.g. lighter reds from Europe, higher per price bottle).

Even at just 1 or 2 visits, you can get enough data about a customer to do some serious segmentation and personalization.

Let’s imagine that this wine store decides to invest in a new point of sale (POS) system with much better CRM capabilities that also syncs with an email service provider and their e-commerce platform (e.g. Shopify POS + Klaviyo + Shopify website). What are some of the things that would engage me more as a customer?

Example 1: Notifications about upcoming tastings that match my purchase history

My purchase history will show that I tend to buy a lot of Italian and French reds. Any time there is a tasting at the store featuring such wines, a segmented email letting me know about the tasting would be a welcomed piece of content. If it happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, I could stop by while running errands and maybe pick up a bottle or two.

If the store wants to be more ambitious, they could get my phone number and shoot me the occasional SMS text about a tasting, especially closer to the actual date as I’m more likely to check SMS on weekends than email.

Example 2: VIP Tease and Perks

I have no idea where I would rank in terms of customer lifetime value at this store, but I figure it’s gotta be in the top 25%.

One way for the store to cultivate loyalty would be to introduce a VIP program for those who spend a certain amount every year (or cross a lifetime threshold value).

The key here is to let people know about the existence of the program and to tease the perks and show that spending a certain level would unlock access. It would be cool to have some kind of welcome gift or offer for those who make it onto the list.

Some ways to program around a VIP list would be to invite folks for free special tastings of rare and expensive wines or a talk given by a producer or sommelier. The wine store could also partner up with a local restaurant and do a special wine pairing dinner–I know folks in this neighborhood would eat that up.

There can also be a “limited availability for VIPs only” release of certain wines that are “held” for people on the VIP list and only released storewide if there are any left. And during slow seasons, VIPs can be incentivized to purchase with exclusive sales only available to them.

Example 3: In-store Experience

I have yet to experience anything like this at a wine store, but here’s a dream scenario: I’m greeted by someone who works there. Let’s say it’s someone new who just started. They ask if I’ve been to the store before and I say yes. They ask for my name and they quickly pull up some information on their mobile device. They take a quick look at my stats – date of last purchase, what I bought, my customer lifetime value to see how loyal of a customer I am – and armed with this context, they’re ready to help.

One question they ask is how I enjoyed my last bottle of pinot noir that they saw on my purchase history. This leads to a conversation about trying something similar or something completely different. It segues nicely into what I’m looking for today as well. In the course of the conversation, I mention a cab that I really liked from a few months ago, but I can’t recall the name. The salesperson does a quick browse of my history and asks if it’s the Chilean cab, showing me a pic of the bottle. Ah yes, I respond, and I ask if there’s something else like it, leading to a handful of recommendations.

Imagine a CRM system that layers on some more sophistication to highlight my record with some key takeaways for the salesperson. A personalization engine like Dynamic Yield or Nosto could surface even simple things like “this customer prefers reds over $25” or “this customer likes to buy at least 4 bottles at a time”. This info helps tailor the in-store experience and allows for real-time segmentation between long-time loyalists vs. first-time customers.

Example 4: Seasonal Messaging

I can see a wine store getting a lot of mileage from a basic set of seasonal messaging that can be repeated each year, perhaps with some merchandizing and creative swaps. These are a few I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Feb: Treat your Valentine with an indulgent bottle
  • Spring: Welcome Spring with our selection of bright, floral whites
  • Memorial Day: BBQ / Picnic / Beach wine picks
  • Independence Day: Rosé, orange wines, and other summer picks
  • Fall: New reds to enjoy as the weather turns
  • Thanksgiving: Wines to bring to your Thanksgiving dinner
  • Holidays: Festive wines for the holidays
  • Late Dec: Bring in the new year with champagnes from small producers

A wine store with great CRM chops might send variations of these campaigns to different segments featuring wines at low, mid, and high price points based on the audience. Wine stores that embrace omni-channel consumption may offer ecomm with free delivery for certain order amounts or also pick-up options at the store, capturing payment via a mobile-friendly experience.

What’ll It Take?

Twelve years is a long time. The experience I have at the wine store has remained unchanged. They updated the design of their punch card some years ago, but it works exactly the same way. 

Is business good enough that it’s not worth fussing about with extra technology? Or is business in such a precarious spot that the investment would be a risk? Isn’t it a risk not to invest in things that improve the customer experience?

Most of the “innovation” I’ve seen in the wine space has been online with direct-to-consumer wine sites like Firstleaf that “personalize” a selection of wines based on your preferences and send periodically based on your subscriptions. We get these quarterly for our office but I generally find their packaging wasteful (the cards with the descriptions go straight into recycling) and we assume the wines are just the cheapest budget ones that give the business most margin while not tasting horrible.

This is what my wine dashboard looks like on Firstleaf. Unfortunately, I haven’t bothered to fully take advantage of their system by leaving ratings or feedback for the wines, and I don’t think it’s a habit I’ll pick up anytime soon.

If anything, I’ve been most impressed with how certain wineries run their wine clubs. I liked the simplicity and sleekness of the membership experience on Mayacamas Vineyards website (I’m subscribed to the Silver one) and hope to take advantage of a visit to their vineyard one day when I’m out on the West Coast.

Mayacamas sends out bottles to its members twice a year. I was excited to recently get my Fall cab allocation and enjoyed a bottle with a nice burger.

I also liked how Realm Cellars did their limited run of two special edition wines and leveraged SMS to notify when they went live. I was in a meeting at the time and was disappointed to see the one I wanted sell out a few hours later.

SMS action from Realm Cellars to create a sense of urgency. The Ghost Dog did sell out really quickly.

Do the economics of a wine store, especially a small neighborhood one, make it especially difficult to innovate (or at least adopt some widely available technologies)? I hope someone reading this would reach out and enlighten me, I’d love to know.

I’m sure there are wine stores out there doing a better job with CRM than the one near me, providing customers with personalized experiences in-store and better email/SMS communications. However, in all my years living in New York, I’ve yet to see one that impressed me.

In the end, though, convenience of location seems to trump all these things and I’m basically a captive customer. I’ll continue to patronize the same store that, even after casually picking up $250 worth of wine on a Friday night, still doesn’t bother to know who I am.

Customer Journey No. 1: Allbirds – 2 Years & $885.21

Initial Impressions

The “active” roster of Allbirds shoes in our household right now.

I first became aware of Allbirds like other folks in the creative industry. The branding agency Red Antler had worked on the branding and website, and I saw the link being shared around our office.

My first impression was favorable. I thought the site looked cool and the brand had a nice playfulness to it, but I didn’t think much about it.

Today, Allbirds are very popular. I see people wearing them almost daily on my subway commute to work. A quick look on MyIP.MS’s database of the ten million most popular websites shows Allbirds at #18,105 and #13 overall for sites that are on Shopify’s IP address (#12 if you don’t count

And from my small sample size observations, I’ve seen a shift in the types of people wearing Allbirds–they used to be young creative types and now I see more older folks my age (mid-thirties) wearing them, perhaps a sign that the brand has become more mainstream.

The following is a retracing of how I got to purchase my first Allbirds shoes and how I subsequently ended up spending close to $1,000 on the brand in just under 2 years.

If you want to skip reading through the details, here’s the high-level summary of the journey’s touch points:

  • I have wide feet, hence limiting my shoe options. A friend with a similar problem recommends Allbirds and I buy instantly.
  • At the moment of purchase, I decide to get pairs for my wife and my mom.
  • The shoes feel great and I love wearing them.
  • Months later, I find out from people sharing links at work that Allbirds has released a plant-based shoe. I order right away.
  • I like the plant-based shoes a lot and subsequently buy another pair in a different color.
  • I come across their high-top shoes a few months later via a shared Instagram post and buy a pair of those as well.
  • I come across a paid promotion on the NY Times by Allbirds and click over to find that they’re offering limited edition shoes. The one I want is sold out but I still talk myself into buying a pair. I get matching ones for my wife as well.
  • My mom sees our matching pairs of shoes and compliments them. She tells me her first pair has worn out, so I order a pair for her as well.

You can skip down to the bottom for my takeaways.

The Path to First Purchase

I had been a faithful buyer of shoes from Zappos for over 5+ years. The reason I relied on Zappos so much was because it helped me find shoes that solved a very specific issue for me: they had to be wide, like very, very wide.

I was born with pretty wide feet. What made it worse was that for the first twenty-five or so years of my life, I wore shoes that were too tight because the standard sizes I found at Foot Locker were for normal feet. As a result, the seams of my sneakers near the pinky toes ripped without fail after 4-5 months of wear. Every pair I can recall from 2nd grade until my adult years ended up this way.

A screenshot of the Zappos website with filtering options
Zappos made it easy for me to filter by size AND width. Only problem was that the shoe selection was still fairly limited and the nicer, cooler-looking shoes never came in my width.

It wasn’t until I came across Zappos that I realized you could shop for wider sized shoes. By then, due to the foot-binding abuse, I had developed a pretty noticeably bunion on my left foot, making my overall footprint even wider. I was able to find comfort in New Balance 4E-width shoes. These were chunky shoes that weren’t much to look at but were nonetheless more comfortable than shoes I’d worn throughout my life.

Over the years, I sampled a good number of the very limited selection of wide shoes that Zappos carried. None of the cooler shoe models came in the width I needed, so it was always slim pickings for me.

Nike Dart 12, Men's Size 4E from Zappos
These were the last pair of casual walking sneakers I bought from Zappos. I still use Zappos to buy running shoes, boots, and hiking shoes.

By the time I came across Allbirds, I had found a pair of Nike Dart 12 shoes that came in a rare 4E size (Nike typically has very few 4E shoes on Zappos – only 32 styles at size 9/4E the last time I checked). They were comfortable enough, but even at 4E, I found that Nike’s shoes ran thinner, and about eight months in, I began to see a tear on the outside of left shoe.

Around this time, a good friend had started telling me about how awesome his Allbirds were. He said he wore them every single day and didn’t even have to wear his socks because they didn’t get smelly. I didn’t think much about it because my friend didn’t have wide feet, so I never really cared for shoe talk unless it was something I was sure I could wear comfortably myself.

Some months later, I met up with another friend of mine who like me is afflicted with very wide feet. He had flown in from San Francisco and we were grabbing drinks. He pointed to his shoes, a grey pair of Allbirds, and mentioned how comfortable they were. “Most comfortable shoes ever, man,” he told me.

That’s all the convincing that I needed. I knew I had to order the shoes right away.

On a Monday night in May 2017, I decided to pull the trigger. I was trying to choose between the Runner or Lounger and then between the handful of colors that were available. I asked my wife what she thought. She took a look and while browsing, we ended up looking at Women’s shoes options as well. I asked her if she wanted a pair if I got one, my treat. She said sure. My mom, who was staying with us at the time, was sitting in the living room when I was placing my order, so I asked if she wanted a pair, too. She said, I don’t know, don’t waste money. I told her not to worry and asked her for her size and then told her to pick a color and whether or not she wanted laces (she didn’t).

A screenshot of an order placed on the Allbirds website. Three shoes for $285.
A screenshot of my first order from Allbirds.

My first order from Allbirds was for a Men’s Wool Runners / Natural Grey / Light Grey Sole Size 9 just like the pair my friend had, a Women’s Wool Runners / Kotare Mint Size 8 for my wife, and a Women’s Wool Loungers / SF Grey Size 7 for my mom. It cost me $285 and shipping was free.

Product <> Feet Fit

I was very happy with my pair of Allbirds shoes. They were comfortable and stretched nicely to accommodate my wide feet. I wouldn’t call them the most stylish shoes, but they didn’t look as clunky as my New Balances.

Two pairs of Allbirds, one in grey and the other in mint.
My wife and I quickly tried our Allbirds on after they came.

My mom liked her pair quite a bit and wore it often. My wife less so as she had a larger rotation of flats, boots, heels, and sneakers.

I wore my Allbirds throughout the warmer summer months and into the fall. When it got colder and rained or snowed, I opted for boots, especially since the Allbirds weren’t great in wet conditions. But by then, I had put a lot of mileage on the Allbirds and it was beginning to look a bit misshapen like a beat-up pair of socks. I guess that’s what happens to shoes that conform so well to the shape of your feet.

The Second Pair

I saw some chatter on our company Slack about Allbirds having released a new type of shoe. While I receive Allbirds marketing emails, I don’t think I’ve opened more than a couple. However, I was curious to see what these new shoes were and saw that they were Tree Runners, shoes made from eucalyptus tree fiber. Knowing my Wool Runners were nearing their end, I placed an order for a pair of Tree Runners / Kauri Navy with White Sole in size 9. It cost me $95.

Pair of navy Tree Runners from Allbirds.
I came to like the Tree Runners a lot more than the Wool Runners. The plant-based material seems to hold its shape better than the wool material.

I liked the Tree Runners much more than the Wool Runners. Something about the mesh-like texture of the shoe felt more durable to me. I wore them every opportunity I got.

My buddy who originally recommended Allbirds to me had the same idea and bought a pair of Tree Runners. When we met up in Seattle, we saw that we bought in the same color.

The Third Pair for Brightness

The website says that Allbirds shoes are “machine washable”, but I actually never bothered. When my pair of Kauri Navy Tree Runners started to get a bit dirty, I decided to just get another pair. I told myself I was tired of the color and wanted something brighter for a change. I ordered another pair of Tree Runners, this time a Kauri Cobalt with White Sole in size 9 for $95.

The Kauri Cobalt shoe in decent condition about 9 months after purchase.

It had been about 5 months since the first pair of Tree Runners and already, I decided to retire the first pair. In hindsight, this feels a bit wasteful, but then again, I liked the brighter pair better and I still have it in my rotation today.

The Fourth Pair Comes Quick

Just 3 months later, I found myself buying a pair of Tree Toppers. I believe I found out because a friend texted me a link to an Instagram post about them. I don’t use Instagram on my phone at all, but I was able to see from the preview image in the text message that it was about a new format shoe, so I visited the Allbirds website.

A screenshot of Allbirds’ Instagram post right around the time they released their Tree Toppers in 2018.

The Tree Toppers are the same as the Tree Runners but are high top shoes that cover the ankles. As it was getting colder outside, I thought it’d be nice to have a shoe that covered my ankles and also really liked the idea of having a pair of green shoes. I ordered myself a pair of Tree Runners / Kauri Fiddle-Leaf with White Sole for $115.

Looking back, this was the only pair that, perhaps due to where it was fulfilled, charged me New York City and State taxes, bumping the cost up to $125.21.

The Tree Toppers have been great. I’ve rotated between the Tree Runners and Tree Toppers, so I feel like the shoes have lasted longer as a result.

Special Edition Impulse Buy

This post about hummingbirds was an elaborate NY Times paid post that featured animations and actual sounds of the birds.

In April, I clicked on a link that someone shared in the Leanluxe Slack room. It was an Allbirds-paid post in The New York Times that featured some really fancy animations and an article about the impact of climate change on hummingbirds. The article ends with a note about how Allbirds is going carbon neutral. I clicked over to the Allbirds site curious to see how this tied into their products and lo and behold, they were selling special edition shoes inspired by the color of hummingbirds.

I really liked the color of one of the Tree Runners but my size had already sold out. As I explored alternative colors, I asked my wife for her opinion. I settled for a pair of Wool Runners in Scarlet Tanager with Black Sole. I asked my wife if she wanted a matching pair for fun and also because her pair was already a couple years old. She said “sure” in passing and I placed the order, two pairs of Wool Runners in Scarlet Tanager with Black Sole, sizes 9 and 7 for $190.

Two pairs of the Scarlet Tanager Wool Runners, one for me and one for my wife.

I’ve been liking the bright laces. The nice thing about Allbirds is that even after the fifth pair, the fit is consistent. I know what to expect. I’m never going to get a compliment from a sneakerhead or make any kind of style statement. They’re just comfortable shoes that are good for everyday wear to and from the office or for walking the dog around the block.

One More Pair for My Mom

My Mom was over our apartment the other day and she noticed our new Allbirds. She said it was cute that we had matching pairs.

I asked what had happened to the Allbirds I got for her a couple of years ago. She told me that she wore them all the time and that they wore out several months ago. She had moved on to a different pair of shoes. I asked if I could get her another pair.

I ordered these for my mom just in time for Mother’s Day.

I told her that she ought to try the Tree Loungers this time rather than the Wool Loungers. I pulled up the website on my laptop and we clicked through all the colors. She chose the Nikau Sapphire with White Sole, a light blue color. I clicked on the “Buy with Shopify Pay” button and within a couple of clicks, I had placed yet another order.

The shoes came just in time for Mother’s Day and my mom was very happy.

Reflecting on the Allbirds Customer Journey

The catalyst that started my relationship with Allbirds was the word of mouth referral from my friend. The fact that Allbirds solved the exact same issue that I suffered from (wide feet, shoes being uncomfortable) led me to convert.

From there, the brand stayed top of mind in a number of ways. While I largely ignored their email newsletters and did not follow them on social, they still managed, through word of mouth (in a Slack chatroom or via texts from friends), to get me to learn about their new product and make another purchase.

I also believe that the process of going through a 2nd purchase made it that much easier for me to place my subsequent orders. Through Shopify Pay, my subsequent orders landed me right at a convenient checkout page where I didn’t have to enter any details (and at most, just enter a code sent to my phone to verify). This is something we take for granted on a site like Amazon, but it’s nice to see this become more prevalent with sites that use Shopify Pay.

After clicking Checkout on the cart, I’m asked if I want to use Shopify Pay.
The checkout page already has all my shipping and payment info filled out and all that’s left to do is click on Complete Order.

And speaking of 2nd time purchases, I was easily able to buy another pair for my wife and my mom because I had already bought them a first pair and had confidence that the sizing would be good. Purchasing stuff online, this fact can’t be underestimated–there have been plenty of times when I’ve balked at buying something for someone because I didn’t want to bother with getting the size wrong. This is why we’ll probably see more being done in the area of fit/size technology in ecommerce in the coming years (e.g. augmented reality, size-guessing algorithms, etc.).

Although my guess is that my lifetime value as a customer is on the high end, I don’t consider myself much of a die-hard fan or an advocate. I’m actually envious of folks who wear other brands because their feet are narrow and can slip easily into standard size shoes. If anything, Allbirds is more of an “oh well, it’s comfortable and looks alright” choice and I’ll take whatever pleasure I can get from the small selection of color variations they offer throughout the year.

Update 6/13/2019: A Free Gift

A surprise gift in the mail from Allbirds with a message thanking me for being a supporter.

I found a small package from Allbirds. It was a set of three colorful laces. I’m guessing it’s sent to customers who spend a certain amount.

The package contained three colorful laces. The message said: “Hope you’re loving all the hues of your Allbirds! As a thanks for your support, we wanted to send you an exclusive gift so you can add even more color to your collection.”

My wife noted that we can now have different color laces for the matching pair of the special edition hummingbird shoes I bought for us.