In 2004, triathlete Tim Moxey began selling the low-carbohydrate hydration tablets he’d developed to support his training out of specialty stores and retail chains, under the brand name Nuun (pronounced "noon"). Even after Moxey left the company in 2010, Nuun’s retail legacy has endured.
"Direct-to-consumer (DTC) wasn't a major channel for us, up until 2018 and 2019," explains Emily Baird, ecommerce manager for DTC at Nuun. "Our #1 priority with our website is for it to be a 'one-stop shop' for everything Nuun. We've spent the last few years integrating, testing, adapting, and asking what we can do to improve the customer experience."
One step the company has taken in service of this goal was adopting Narvar’s Track and Returns products in March 2021. Nuun uses Shopify as its ecommerce platform, which Emily says is, "a great platform, but a lot of its functionality comes through integrations with products like Narvar."
Nuun’s DTC transition proved prescient. According to Emily, "Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone went to shopping online instead of in-person. Our website became very important, very quickly for us. Our store retailers are still incredibly important to us, and we still drive most of our sales through our retail partners. But before 2020, DTC was about 5% of our business. It's now 10%, and it seems like that change is here to stay."
Having invested in an online sales channel gave Nuun’s customers a way to safely continue accessing the company’s health-conscious products amidst early lockdowns. "During the pandemic, a lot of our customers felt like they didn't have the option to go in-store," notes Emily. Unfortunately, default carrier tracking experiences let shoppers down after their purchases were complete.
"For tracking, we were using default carrier tracking pages, which don't provide a great customer experience. Customers are eager to know when their packages will be arriving, but because of the way the carriers' tracking pages work, they say nothing for two days. Some carriers don't even acknowledge that your tracking number exists until your package has actually been picked up."
Unsurprisingly, Emily acknowledges, "We used to get a lot of customer service inquiries asking about packages in those first few days. We don't get those with the Narvar tracking portal because of the algorithm that estimates ship dates before the carrier has actually picked the package up. We get a lot fewer questions about where packages are now."
In total, she estimates, "We were getting 10-15 questions a week about 'Where is my order?' We don't get any of them now, unless there's a delivery exception, or if a carrier has marked a package as delivered but the customer didn’t receive it."
"We used to get a lot of customer service inquiries asking about packages. We don't get those with the Narvar tracking portal."
Integrating Narvar has also helped streamline Nuun's returns processing. Before Narvar, Emily explains, "We were processing returns manually. A customer had to email us, and then our customer service team would approve it, process the refund themselves, and notify the customer. We're fortunate that we don't have that many returns or exchanges to process in the first place, but it was still time-consuming and certainly not scalable as we grow."
"The automation of the returns portal saves us a lot of manual effort," she continues. "I like that our customers are able to go in and initiate the return themselves. It's a lot faster, and it's a lot less manual work on our part. I also like that we're able to set up rules for what needs to be shipped back and what the customer can keep. It makes it a lot easier for us to enforce our return policy than when we were doing this manually."
Built-in analytics and proactive customer support ensure Nuun continues to get the most out of its relationship with Narvar. "We've had a few instances where we had questions and the customer support team has always been prompt and helpful in their response," describes Emily. "The Narvar team has been fantastic about working with us to get everything resolved quickly."
"On the rare occasion when we have a question, the Narvar team has been fantastic about working with us to get everything answered quickly."
Nuun is a fast-growing retailer focused on sports hydration supplements and clean-ingredient lifestyle products for everyday performance. Nuun’s products are sold online, in 5,000+ retail outlets across the U.S., and in retail locations in 30+ countries around the world.
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