Campus Protein Supplements Its Marketing with Nosto

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Campus Protein, launched eight years ago at Indiana University, sells vitamins and supplements to college students at affordable prices—“pretty much everything you would find in your local store but for about half the price, and then we also have our own private line of supplements,” says CEO Russell Saks. Saks started the business as a student and saw it take off after the company entered and won a Shark Tank–style competition funded by an Indiana University alum.

“It wasn’t a ton of money but we used it pretty well and it got us to the point that we’re at today,” he says. “Today we’re at a little over 300 college campuses and we have about 1,500 campus reps.”

The supplements industry is challenging for a number of reasons, Saks says—it’s very competitive, for one thing, with a range of products competing in similar categories. Even more critical is the issue of customer trust. “These products are ingestible; it’s the type of product that you’re putting in your body. You want to be able to trust those products; you want to be able to trust the source that you’re buying them from and the ingredients that are involved, and you want to make sure that those products are really best for you and your specific goals.”

Saks and his team wanted a way to determine which products were best for their customers, and personalizing the operation seemed to be the answer. “We were originally considering building out a quiz and saying OK, it would be cool for customers to say, ‘I’m male or female, here’s my age, here’s how often I work out, [and] here’s how advanced I am as a gym-goer or supplement user,’” he says. “That was our original plan until we were introduced to Nosto.”

An online retail personalization company, Nosto uses an algorithm that, the firm says, can analyze customer behavior and deliver automated, personalized recommendations in real time; its solution integrates with more than 100 e-commerce platforms. “What Nosto is able to do is help predict which products customers are interested in before they even realize it. It’s an incredible piece of technology not only from an ROI standpoint but also from a customer experience standpoint,” Saks says.

Nosto has delivered a number of significant results for Campus Protein. A personalized widget added to Campus Protein’s abandoned cart emails, which uses individual customer behavior to display items that are most likely to convert, has generated a 22 percent click-through rate. Additionally, Campus Protein has seen 15 percent conversion rates from customers engaging with personalized shopping cart recommendations, 10 percent conversion rates on recently viewed item recommendations, and a 9 percent click-through rate on its most popular items page, which captures real-time searches from customers.

Saks praises the flexibility of Nosto’s technology. “Nosto has a true algorithm that we can really set up in a bunch of different ways; we can really set the complexity of it. [For example], we can see typically this type of customer is browsing these types of websites, [so] here’s a product that we think they’re most interested in. Or we can use it in a more basic way and say, ‘OK, once customers have products A, B, and C in their carts, typically other customers will buy products D, E, and F,’ and we can cross-sell in that way.

“There’s a bunch of different use cases, and the software ranges from a super-basic application all the way to something really intense, depending on the use case.”

 The Payoff

Since implementing Nosto's retail personalization solution, Campus Protein has seen the following results:

  • a 22 percent click-through rate with the personalized widget added to its abandoned cart emails;
  • a 15 percent conversion rate with personalized shopping cart recommendations;
  • a 10 percent conversion rate with recently viewed item recommendations; and
  • a 9 percent click-through rate on its most popular items page.

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