Double-Down on Experience – Foxtrot CEO on Omni-Channel B2C Customer Acquisition

BY :  Techweek Inc.   |   January 12, 2018, 4:53 pm EDT
Michael LaVitola
Co-Founder & CEO, Foxtrot

Chicago: During Techweek Chicago Growth Summit 2017, Michael LaVitola, co-Founder and CEO of Foxtrot, shared his views about the challenges of customer acquisition for online and offline retail businesses.

“Care about how things look and what the brand voice is. This stuff might seem soft, but that really matters a lot in the end.” – Michael LaVitola, Co-Founder & CEO, Foxtrot.

Foxtrot is an omni-channel curator and retailer of craft beer, wine, spirits, eats, gifts and everyday essentials. Foxtrot was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Chicago.

As a panelist at Techweek Chicago’s Growth Summit, LaVitola was asked why Foxtrot had decided to pivot from a local delivery service to a retailer with a storefront.

“When we first started, our app enabled ordering a great selection of wine, beer and some of the cool stuff, but very few people were actually using it”, started LaVitola. The app connected supermarkets with delivery companies, but added little else in terms of value to customers.

After collecting extensive feedback online, especially via Twitter, LaVitola said Foxtrot realized that the true value lay in scaling the curation of great menus and holding the liquor inventory.

This, however, offered a unique challenge. “Somehow we couldn’t run just the warehouse side because of how the liquor laws work. We’re forced to have a retail store. And that has been a giant blessing in disguise.”

Foxtrot’s decided, LaVitola said, to make their store a big brand center working as a marketing engine. The company had been facing high dropouts on the app, and the store was an opportunity to make the customers stay and start using app. Building the right customer experience was key here.

“We really care about how things look at the store and what the brand voice is. This stuff might seem soft, but that really matters a lot in the end. We’ve also set up loyalty programs, events and just simple things like signage, so that people know that all the great stuff in the store can actually get delivered to their doorstep too.”

Foxtrot’s approach of creating customer accounts offline in the store, pushed sales online as well. “What’s been really exciting is seeing really our retail store and our distribution centers become our biggest customer acquisition tools.”

When asked what other marketing strategies they use to acquire customers, LaVitola replied the team’s core strength lay in customer retention and not in getting new customers. “So, we decided to really double down on just making it an amazing customer experience and then trying to leverage our vendors’ marketing budgets for some of our experimental marketing.”

LaVitola concluded by reiterating that one of the most important steps in customer acquisition is making the customer stay. “If the first couple of customers don’t have an amazing experience, it’s going to be really tough to get the next couple of customers.”

To see the full video for Techweek Chicago Growth Summit 2017: B2C Customer Acquisition, go here.

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Michael LaVitola is the Co-Founder & CEO of Foxtrot. To learn more about Foxtrot, visit their website

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