How Repeat Aims to Change Consumers' Relationships With Brands

How Repeat Aims to Change Consumers' Relationships With Brands

How do you turn a one-time buyer into a repeat customer? Venice-based ecommerce software startup Repeat may have an answer.

Business partners Kim Stiefel and Sarah Wissel came up with the idea for the company after speaking to the customers of their own subscription t-shirt service, UNDR.

Their idea was to provide a quarterly subscription model for t-shirts. But, she found, the approach didn't work for many of her customers.

"Subscription services work really well," Stiefel said. "But when it comes to subscription products, it completely falls apart. Either I have too much [product], or I don't have it when I need it."

Instead, the pair began experimenting with a new method, nudging their customers to buy more shirts when they could reasonably postulate the old ones were worn down or, say, developed armpit stains.

When those experiments worked, they decided to start Repeat so they could share their approach with other brands.

From left: Sarah Wissel and Kim Stiefel are the co-founders of Venice-based Repeat.

The startup helps companies that sell consumer packaged goods, or goods that need to be routinely replenished — such as toothpaste or shampoo — on the internet. By collecting consumer data, Repeat helps brands gauge when a customer may need to order a product again based on the behavior of the average customer.

When that time comes, brands can then have reminders sent to their customers through text or email as a way of nudging them to buy again.

There are 67 brands that use Repeat, including personal care brand By Humankind and coffee brand Jot. Stiefel said their clients have seen a 43% increase in sales on average since employing Repeat's software. Additionally, time between orders has decreased by around 18%, and average order value has increased by roughly 15%.

Those numbers helped lure investors. The startup raised a $6 million Series A round led by Battery Ventures, with investors from Mucker Capital and Harlem Capital. With the new round, Repeat plans to hire more engineers and invest in marketing.

And it is setting itself apart from Amazon's "Buy it again" option that lets customers quickly purchase an item after running out or its "dash buttons," which are physical buttons that can be pressed to order products.

Where Amazon falls short, according to Stiefel, is in giving brands access to valuable data that gives insight on how consumers interact with the product.

"[Brands] need to have that data," said Stiefel. "They need to have that information so that they can continue to build better relationships with their customers."

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Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.
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