Refreshing the Freshpet Digital Brand Experience
The natural category was booming, but the “fresh” whitespace was rapidly shrinking. Further compounding that, the majority of Freshpet’s site traffic was increasingly being met with a high level of friction. Fragmented domains. Slow load times. A confusing information architecture with a lack of easily accessible product information when it mattered most. The Freshpet team realized that continuing to lead the category called for a focusing of efforts digitally, starting with their site experience, where they've have the opportunity to educate customers and attract pet parents in an even more meaningful way.
Together with the team at Freshpet, we created a new digital brand experience that could deliver a new way for customers to experience the power of “fresh”. Beginning with the core brand website gave us the ability to establish a new intuitive, mobile-first digital experience that put a stake in the ground for building a fully connected, digital presence that would be equal parts full-funnel conversion tool and educational resource for pet parents everywhere, bridging the gap between brand awareness and in-store purchases.
Knowing that Freshpet was supported by a pet-passionate, powerhouse internal team determined to innovate, we rallied together our own cross-functional team of pet parents to look across the landscape and see how we might convert the Freshpet.com experience from a standard website into an SEO-rich keystone that could support a fully-integrated marketing strategy. Kicking off a project of this magnitude started by getting everyone in the same room together. With all key stakeholders joining forces for two highly-interactive co-sessions, we were able to employ design thinking exercises to uncover more truths about the brand, dig into customer data, and learn exactly what the Freshpet team was looking to accomplish from a business goals perspective. Getting on the same page early on was integral to successfully carrying out every subsequent phase of the project, as well as informing our strategists, designers, and developers of the right direction to go in.
Coming out of our sessions with the Freshpet leadership team, we simultaneously developed a cohesive information architecture and intuitive user experience that could speak to dog and cat owners wherever they were in their journeys. Exploring the psychology of our audience was telling, as we discovered we needed to build an IA that wasn’t based around the product portfolio, but by the pets and their dietary needs. Bringing all of this to life was only possible by starting with a concerted wireframing effort up front. The team was able to get in the same room together and conceptualize what the pages and their specific designs and functions would look like, and how they would help provide consumers with a delightful experience and journey on the Freshpet website.
Once we had a finalized visual language, we began designing the necessary UI components to set the foundation for building a fully responsive experience. Due to Freshpet’s diverse user-base, which includes user personas with various degrees of technical proficiency and overall awareness of the brand, we focused on making each aspect of the digital experience as simple and intuitive as possible with the help of interactive elements and animations. Designing mobile first was mission-critical for Freshpet’s digital experience because an overwhelming majority of customers were relying on specific product details in their purchasing decisions, so we wanted to make sure they had the most important information at their fingertips when in store. And knowing that Freshpet is only going to continue to grow and add more product innovations over time, we established a component-based solution to enable their team to scale their business and digital experience simultaneously, without latency to implement or slowing down the site’s performance.
Creating a digital experience that properly reflected Freshpet’s reputation in refrigerated pet food was one thing, but driving additional value back to users was equally as important to us. In addition to building an entire user experience around personalizing product choices for specific pet types and dietary needs, we included in-depth educational guides, useful vet-approved content, and emotionally-charged product reviews throughout the site to really enhance our users’ experiences in a real, authentic way.
It’s that level of transparency and trust-building that keep audiences coming back for more, and ensuring Freshpet stays top of mind as they go through their journey as pet parents and continue to look for the best advice on their pets’ health and nutrition – from expert advice on pet feeding and learning what food is best for their dog or cat, to ultimately finding a place to purchase Freshpet via the store locator.
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