Freshpet

Driving Freshpet Fans to Buy through Digital Innovation

CHALLENGE

Amidst maintaining strong in-store distribution and sales, Freshpet recognized two quickly-approaching challenges. While the natural category was booming, 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 and that started with their digital experiences in order to tell their story and attract pet parents in a more meaningful way. It meant creating more things that could genuinely communicate the brand’s promise and build trust through engaging storytelling, product education, and mobile-first UX that could quickly and easily help them experience, enjoy, and then shop for their pet’s specific needs with ease.

OUTCOME

Freshpet joined forces with Digital Surgeons to craft brand experiences that could deliver a new way for customers to experience the power of “fresh” and set a new standard for growth marketing in a high-growth pet category. Taking a co-creation-led approach to partnership, Digital Surgeons and Freshpet teams first transformed the core brand website into an intuitive, mobile-first digital experience that put a stake in the ground for building a fully connected, digital brand experience — from website to a podcast and lots of fun in between! — 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.

Website Awards:

Services

  • Campaign Development
  • Content Production
  • Conversion Rate Optimization
  • User Experience Research
  • Website Design & Development
View the Site
  • +31%

    Avg. Time on Website

  • +195%

    Website Conversion Rate

  • -36%

    Decrease in Bounce Rate

  • + 35K

    Greeting Paws Campaign Pageviews

  • 3.6%

    Greeting Paws Campaign Bounce Rate

  • ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    Apple Podcast Rating

Leading the way with design thinking & co-creation to extend the Freshpet visual language.

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.

Taking a mobile-first, component-driven approach to design.

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.

Using social proof and immersive content to engage consumers

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.

The end result Digital Surgeons delivered is light years beyond what our site experience used to be. From the exhaustive audit and competitive landscape analysis upfront, to the thoughtful strategic framework, U/X, development and deployment, DS was like an extension of my own team at every step. We could never have translated our brand spirit into such a great and powerful new online experience without a team that believed in our mission the way DS does.
– Steven Elwell, Director of Digital Marketing at Freshpet

Bringing Even More Personalized Pet Love to the Experience

Continuously building upon the digital experiences Freshpet offers pet parents, we saw a real (and cute) opportunity when a global pandemic hit. We knew everyone could use a laugh and some light-hearted cheer so to help alleviate some of the emotional weight on pet owners nationally, and to strengthen Freshpet’s position as a company who cares deeply, we launched Greeting Paws: a collection of custom e-cards for pet parents to send from their pet to their pet’s friends.

When designing Greeting Paws, we focused on usability and joy. We knew that if we could create a delightful experience, we had the potential of brightening countless days in the lives of pet parents everywhere. Our thinking led us to the creation of a digital experience that hosts a gallery of e-cards for users to browse, write on, and send to their friends. We built the experience into the already existing freshpet.com domain to seamlessly fuse the experience to Freshpet’s site. This was a strategic decision that allowed for users who were new to Freshpet to easily navigate through freshpet.com to learn more about their brand after they’re done browsing cards.

It’s the smaller, more heartfelt and fun campaigns that add something special from the DS team. They took the time to understand both our brand but also who we are as a team and the message that we care about sharing. It isn’t just an agency relationship, we consider them a part of the team.
– Steve Elwell, Director of Digital Marketing

Adding a Little Podcast Experience With a Lot of Heart

Furthering the digital experiences of Freshpet, we wanted to explore a fun way to extend the brand’s presence in the everyday lives of its loyalists, while simultaneously increasing brand awareness and reaching new consumers. That led us to the Freshpet podcast, and before we knew it, “Pet Parents, Oversharing”, a 7-episode podcast hosted by two hilarious comedians and pet parents, was a reality – and a hit amongst pet parents everywhere.

Produced in the DS Content Studio and supported by an early media and influencer campaign, the podcast reached everyone from die-hard Freshpet fans to new pet parents, sparking conversations with and about the brand on blogs, social media, and everywhere you get your podcasts! The genuine, heartfelt, and entertaining qualities of the series earned it a 5/5 rating from listeners on Apple Podcasts and raving reviews from commenters, many of them just like this one: “OMG I love this. What a clever concept and way to show a love for our furry friends. Please keep up the amazing work on this. Can’t wait for the next episode.”