How Supergoop Topped Custora’s Retail Benchmarks, part 1

August 13, 2019 Brady Walker


This past May, Custora announced a new benchmarking feature within our platform. Supergoop found themselves at the top of 100+ retail marketers across all three major retail performances areas.

Through our extensive work with retailers, we have privileged access to some of the retail world’s top brands, and with this access, we’ve been able to develop a holistic view of how retailers in various industries are performing across key metrics. 

In gathering all of the retail industry data, we were able to get a birds-eye-view of the market across three business categories comprising ten key metrics. And it was immediately obvious that some organizations were far ahead of the pack in certain areas. 

One such market leader is skincare disruptor Supergoop, overall winner of Custora’s inaugural customer obsession awards. 

Supergoop is a clean prestige skincare brand totally dedicated to sun care. Their goal is to make it easy for everyone to incorporate UV protection into their daily routines by adding SPF to the products that people are already using.

Custora CEO and Cofounder Corey Pierson sat down with Supergoop’s Head of Direct to Consumer Michael Engert to learn more about how they outperformed 100+ in growth and customer-centricity. 

To hear their conversation in full, you can listen to the audio here:

Or listen to it on the go by subscribing to the Custora Time podcast at all major podcast streaming services:  iTunes / Spotify / Google Podcasts / Stitcher.

Below are our favorite nuggets of strategic wisdom and tactical knowledge from Michael (edited for brevity and clarity). 

Begin by Offering Value

Michael Engert: We've been around for almost 10 years. Holly, our founder who's based in our San Antonio office initially had the idea to build a company that was providing sun care, but one that was focused on schools. Long story short, we sought out to get sunscreen into every school in America. While that was a great first step in becoming the company that we are today, that's a tough business model, there's a lot of red tape, obviously. It doesn't scale that well, but we now actually give back to the schools as part of a social good program.

That's our out of bounds program and we work with state legislatures to make sure that kids can bring sunscreen to school, and we also work with schools to donate sunscreen to the classrooms so they have it when they're outside and playing in the schoolyard.

On Being “Customer-Centric”

Our goal is to be the best that we can be at every customer touchpoint. The way that we talk about it is with the customer's expectations in mind rather than our outcomes. 

For example, we're constantly exploring ways to integrate our customer care department to our email and SMS program. That can be around new launches or replenishment, but it's because everyone likes to hear from a real person.

That's about as customer-centric as you can be, especially for us because there's so much education still to do around the best way to protect your skin, the role of SPF in that process, and it's definitely not easy for us as a small brand to execute and scale something like this or frankly to measure it. 

We're investing in it because it's what the customer would want. It's at the heart of everything we do across almost everything that we do, products, marketing, et cetera, but again, I think it's with the customer's expectations in mind rather than how we think personalization will drive some kind of lift in our lifecycle marketing for example.

What’s Good for the Customer is Good for Us

To put it in perspective, it's certainly not easy to convince a board or a president that we should be over-investing in something like customer care or something that isn't immediately recognizable on the revenue side, but then when you look at the benefits of genuinely strengthening your relationship with the customer, that far outweighs the challenges or the leap that you might have to take to approach things with maybe a longer-term view.

What Part Does Customer Lifetime Value Play?

I think the best way that we bring lifetime value to the conversation is just in really understanding or helping us to understand where a small team should focus their effort. 

That can be on the types of marketing that we're conducting; it can be on the types of products that we're pushing. Thankfully, all of our products have a great repeat purchase rate and we see really strong lifetime value there, but obviously, some are stronger than others. 

Yes, that helps us to prioritize some of the stronger ones, but it also helps us to really focus in on, well, why are some others not as strong.

We only have 30 SKUs at this point. We want every one of those to be as wonderful as possible for the consumer. [Lifetime value] is one signal that we may need to fix a component or maybe there are areas to improve the formula or frankly, maybe we're just not giving the right education on how to use it. Some of those are bigger fixes, some are quite easy for us, but [lifetime value] helps us to really home in on where we should spend our time at the end of the day.

On Being a Small Team with a Big Dream

We're in a much different position than a public company, obviously, but I think our ability to move the needle on some of these longer-term things is maybe made easier because we've always been focused on it or our founder created these great initial products, but I think it has to start at the top. 

I think we've done a decent job for a small brand, to make sure that we've created an environment that enables everyone to do their best work and move quickly.

That is so much easier said than done, especially when you're talking about layers upon layers of structure and process, but we've created this environment that allows them to flourish because frankly, we just trust them. 

It's amazing how just having trust in that person that you hired to do the job and do it well helps to avoid a lot of the problems that I think plague some of these larger organizations. 

This is a small example, but I think a good one. I was at a conference in Florida. The heads of a lot of CRM were there. One of the brands — this is a brand that had thousands of employees — they're still printing, literally printing out emails, placing them on a board, presenting that to their president to review. This is, of course, absolutely bananas. It's so inefficient because it takes away from some of the more strategic thinking that would otherwise be happening. 

Unless you have people at the top that are going to take a step back and say, "All the way down the chain, are we making the best use of our bandwidth, our resources, and are we thinking about the future?" If it doesn't start there, then it'll never actually happen. 

Being New in a Hyper-Competitive Vertical

Oh no! We’ve passed our artificially imposed word limit on this article. 

Join us next week as we dive back in for more of our favorite takeaways from Supergoop’s Head of Direct to Consumer, Michael Engert. 

If you don’t want to wait to learn more about how this newcomer to the cutthroat world of skincare is rising above the competition, you listen to the whole thing right here:

Or listen to it on the go by subscribing to the Custora Time podcast at all major podcast streaming services:  iTunes / Spotify / Google Podcasts / Stitcher.



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