COVID-19 has posed unique challenges for brands in the grocery industry. That was the case for HappyFresh, which provides grocery delivery services to customers in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. During the early days of the pandemic, HappyFresh’s app experienced a staggering 560% rise in DAU and an 800% increase in new users but also long check-out lines and rising customer needs.
“Everyone was panicking, stocking up on things like toilet paper, pasta and rice...so naturally people turned to online platforms that provided deliveries,” recalled Yee Lynn Chan, head of CRM at HappyFresh, in a video Q&A session with Jen Lee, customer success manager at Braze. According to Chan, keeping up with the usual standard of customer service in this period was challenging. “When we looked at the check-out floor, most couldn’t check out. We noticed a huge drop off right before customers select the country [for delivery] as no slots were left at that time.”
Fortunately, HappyFresh enlisted the expertise of Braze, a customer engagement platform that powers brand communications with technology. Context matters to Braze, with every customer interaction underpinned not only by a what but also when and where. This proved to be especially pertinent in today’s fast-changing world, where having a responsive, one-to-one digital connection with users is no longer a nice-to-have but the only way for brands to build sustainable relationships with their customers.
Using real-time updates to engage with customers
Using Braze, HappyFresh built customised HTML in-app messages (IAMs), allowing the grocery platform to engage with their customers in real time. After shoppers logged into the app, they were sent a message asking if they wanted to opt in to receive updates on delivery availability using email and push.
“The grocers’ slots are updated every few hours, so if a customer checks out at the right time, they can definitely secure a slot,” Chan noted. And by leveraging in-app messages to make it easier for users to know when delivery slots were available, HappyFresh was able to make it easier for customers to get the food they needed. Shoppers were alerted when slots are available in the neighbourhood they were in, with priority check-out given to opted-in users. If a shopper logged in at a time when there were no more slots left, they received a message asking them to check back later, saving significant amounts of time for the shopper, and improving overall customer experience.
The IAMs were sent in three languages: Thai, Bahasa, and English. “It really allowed personalisation at scale. With the region (Southeast Asia) being so diverse and nuanced, the ability to do that is especially important,” says Chan.
The campaign was a huge success — 43% of recipients opted in to receive emails and push notifications, and amongst these, 33% ended up buying something.
Managing new user expectations during COVID-19
Meanwhile, the number of new customers HappyFresh acquired during March 2020 rose by 800%, presenting another set of challenges. While existing users were already familiar with HappyFresh, the flood of new customers who started using the platform as a result of the pandemic had to get up to speed with both the app and the ongoing situation.
For Chan, engaging this set of customers was just as important as retaining existing customers. “For these customers, the moment they sign up, they enter our onboarding flow,” she explained. “Within our onboarding flow, we have this announcement banner where we tell [customers] about the current situation.” Noteworthy also was the speed with which HappyFresh was able to update their in-app messaging campaigns. HappyFresh’s onboarding flow lasts a full 30 days, with seven emails and eight notifications; however the flexibility of Braze meant that the flows were able to be updated in less than five minutes.
Re-engaging with customers after the peak
At the height of the pandemic, 80% of HappyFresh customers who tried to finalise a grocery delivery failed to get a slot, leading to lower app store ratings and increased customer churn. In response, Chan and her team again leveraged IAMs to re-engage with customers they’d lost during COVID-19.
Under this approach, the HappyFresh app sent out a message to users who completed an order asking them to rate their experience. For those who only gave one, two, or three stars for specific orders within the app, an email was sent out to them in order to help HappyFresh understand customer pain points; for those who gave four stars, they were encouraged to rate the app in app stores. All this served to improve customer engagement and experience. HappyFresh enjoyed a 8% boost in the app store rating, from 3.8 to 4.1 within two months of launching the campaign.
HappyFresh also leveraged Braze to build a separate cross-channel win-back flow to re-engage with those who’d stopped using HappyFresh due to negative experiences during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We divide these shoppers into two groups. We had people who ordered during COVID-19 and never came back,” said Chan. “For these people, we say, ‘we know that the shopping experience is less than ideal. We’re sorry, it has improved now, here is $5 off your next order.’ We have another group that placed orders, was active on the app but never checked out. For this group, we say ‘there are now more delivery slots available,’” Chan explains. And the campaign made a significant difference, leading 12+% of customers who had churned during the pandemic to subsequently make a purchase.
Chan shared some wise words for digital marketers in these fast-changing times. “Train hard, fight easy. If we didn’t prepare our flows to be as flexible as [they were], I think it’d be a lot of late nights to update those codes.” But by using Braze, HappyFresh managed to build automated yet flexible marketing flows allowing it to engage and re-engage with its customers across channels, ultimately leading to boosts in purchase rates and customer satisfaction.
Click here for more insights on how Braze can help you build and adapt your flows in this fast-evolving market.