After a freak accident left Ryan Pamplin on medical leave for a year, health became his top priority. As a former tech innovator in Silicon Valley, he no longer cared about making money or becoming successful in business. Trying not to die was his baseline every day, and he relied on smoothies and protein shakes to help him survive this challenging time.
Realizing that health—and avoiding financial stress—would be his top priorities after the accident, Ryan started wondering, “What can I do to make the world better? What can I do to contribute?” He knew how to make himself healthier, but could he help others, too?
Ryan reconnected with his friend John Zheng, and from a napkin sketch and a dream of helping others achieve healthier lifestyles, BlendJet was born.
Since launching in June of 2018 with 7,000 units, BlendJet has achieved phenomenal success. What’s more, they’ve contributed to solving a real problem not only in the market—the blender design hadn’t evolved much since its invention in 1928—but also in people’s lives. When convenience reigns king, healthy food often gets pushed to the side. BlendJet changed that by making an on-the-go blender that gives anyone access to a healthy smoothie or juice wherever and whenever they need it.
BlendJet can also attribute their success to owning their relationship with their customers and the customer experience. They avoided listing their products on Amazon and only recently entering the retail store space. They’ve also struck a chord and created community by engaging customers with their engaging advertising moves and ASMR YouTube videos that have garnered hundreds of thousands of views.
Ryan shared all this and more with us on our Hit Subscribe podcast. Now, let’s break down more about their customer engagement strategies and how they’ve created high customer satisfaction.
How BlendJet was created
Ryan knew how much commitment it took to make a smoothie every day. For many Americans, convenience is the scale by which we make decisions. If making something healthy isn’t convenient, it’s just not going to happen. From the beginning, Ryan kept this purpose at the forefront of every decision made for BlendJet.
By the end of 2018, they had over 100,000 customers in over 100 countries. From there, they grew to over a million customers at the end of 2019, then millions of customers by 2020. Now, they’re sold in every major retail store.
Building a portable blender (that actually works) proved to be just the thing consumers were looking for. Not only that, but BlendJet’s ability to create camaraderie among their loyal shoppers, share genuine content and engage customers, and solve everyday problems for people has allowed them to create an extremely active brand community.
Changing the world, one smoothie at a time
BlendJet’s huge success is due to a number of factors. As mentioned, they have a strong community between their existing customers and their brand, with high levels of successful customer engagement.
By introducing JetPacks—ready-to-blend smoothies and lattes–and a marketplace for customers to shop trusted, blendable ingredients, BlendJet is making people’s lives easier. Not to mention their weekly recipe video sent through email and posted on YouTube, giving engaged customers a multi-dimensional approach to interacting with their brand.
From the beginning, Ryan also made it his mission to own BlendJet shoppers and their customer journey. By avoiding Amazon and collecting important customer data, they were able to create this huge community and own their customer relationship with engagement campaigns and specific brand interactions—ones that they could curate.
Take a look below at a few of the factors that have aided BlendJet in achieving success and high customer engagement.
Solve a real problem
As mentioned, the blender design hadn’t changed much since it was created in 1928. A blender that doesn’t work properly can be so frustrating. Plus, they’re loud. Like, really loud. Ryan and John set out to make a way better blender that was small enough (and stylish enough) to stay on your counter, quiet enough to run at any time of day, and portable.
Ryan wanted to help others by making healthy food convenient. This mission has always been his North Star and the reason behind every decision BlendJet makes. As Ryan told us:
“People don’t eat healthy because convenient food is not healthy, and healthy food is not convenient, and we fixed that…[our] goal is to dramatically change the eating habits of our customers and that’s what we’re doing at a massive scale.” —Ryan Pamplin, CEO and Co-Founder of BlendJet
Own your relationship with loyal customers
Another reason BlendJet has been so wildly successful is because they’ve owned their relationship with the customer from the beginning. BlendJet repeatedly turned down offers from major retailers in favor of keeping their business online. Revenue from their emails alone is over 22%. Ryan certainly attributes a lot of their growth and customer retention to this close relationship with their shoppers and the customer experience they go through.
For merchants looking to improve their customer relationships and personalize customer experiences, here are a few tips you can take from BlendJet’s customer engagement strategies:
- Capture critical customer information, like email and phone numbers
- Avoid selling items on Amazon, where duplicates often sell before the real product they’re based on
- Don’t place products in retail stores until you’re ready
- Interact with customers through regular emails and other avenues
Think outside the box on customer brand engagement
It’s no secret that BlendJet has a lot of fans on social media. They have over 50 million views on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook combined. Ryan himself comes from a creative background, having done Super Bowl commercials in prior roles. He also credits their “brilliant creative people that are able to pull off so much with so [few] resources.”
They are always coming up with crazy new ideas—and when those land with their viewers (both new and existing customers), they all rejoice. Once an ad becomes popular, the team runs with it by making sequels and other variations of it to continue the success and give viewers what they want. Ryan commented:
“When the crazy hits, it feels so good…It’s fun and it’s more fun for everybody. You get to put all your passion into it, all your excitement, and as a result, you end up with…really creative, fun ads that don’t feel like ads.” —Ryan Pamplin, CEO and Co-Founder of BlendJet
One evening, John started answering YouTube comments. More engagement led to more views, and YouTube suddenly became a huge channel for BlendJet. People have commented, “This is the best ad I’ve ever seen, this is the first time I’ve ever bought something from an ad.”
Creating community & customer engagement is key
Ryan doesn’t necessarily think their community has become what it is just because of the good ads or the engagement on YouTube. As he put it, it’s because the stars have aligned. They are solving a significant problem in people’s lives, competing against fast food and drive-thrus to get people healthy, convenient food.
Regardless, they have taken great steps to grow and expand their community, and are able to measure customer engagement through a lot of their advertising and community-building campaigns. Some of these efforts include:
- Content that encourages usage of the product by their target audience
- Recipe videos once a week through email and YouTube to increase consumer engagement
- Listening to customer feedback in open forums, like YouTube and Facebook comments
- A Marketplace where any loyal customer can buy trusted brands for smoothie ingredients
- A Facebook group dedicated to recipes, with over 80,000 people
- Beautiful blender color and design options so it becomes a conversation starter, and customers form an emotional connection with the product
A success story in creativity & customer loyalty
When you look at a brand like BlendJet, the creativity behind it really shines. Their fun ads and consistent customer engagement give shoppers a great feeling of trust and reliability in the brand—leading to amazing brand loyalty and great customer satisfaction. When asked what advice he would give to merchants just starting out, Ryan offered these tips:
- Be a brand that is creating a product that is going to have a very positive impact on people
- Own that email address and phone number
- Build something that’s unique and special
- Make everything better: advertising, graphics, copy, customer service, shipping
- Stop outsourcing, and think outside the box
- Constant innovation will help you maintain a lead
Thanks to Ryan and the BlendJet team for sharing their incredible success with us—including ideas for customer engagement strategy and creative ideas for online and offline engagement—to inspire other merchants. Retain customers and build an engaged customer base with these helpful tips from BlendJet’s CEO and Co-Founder.
Check out the full interview with Ryan, as well as conversations with other industry experts, on our Hit Subscribe podcast.