Campus Protein Gets Assist from Nosto En Route to Elevated Customer Personalization

Russell Saks, CEO of Campus Protein, told Loyalty360 that his six-year-old company has recorded staggering growth in its brief history, but he wanted to leverage technology to meet and exceed heightened consumer personalization demands.

As a result, Campus Protein partnered with Nosto, an industry leader in online retail personalization.

Campus Protein sells protein, vitamins, and supplements to college students and has a presence on 350 college campuses with 1,500 campus reps.

Nosto, which offers a success-based, flexible pricing model that scales with the needs of a growing business., enables online retailers to deliver their customers’ personalized shopping experiences at every touch point, across every device.

Loyalty360 caught up with Saks to learn more about how this partnership impacted his company.

When you partnered with Nosto, what were your goals from a customer engagement/customer loyalty perspective?

Saks: We have always believed in bringing a personal touch to our customer engagement strategy. Back in 2011 when the company was founded, we would personally fill orders through a local warehouse and deliver them on the same day. We were college students then and tried to roll this model out to 10 campuses nationwide, including my own at Indiana University. We were growing aggressively and this model could no longer scale with our small team.

Since then, the company has grown more than triple digits year-over-year. We still think we know our customer better than any of our competition, but sought technology to make sure we continue to meet the personalization demands our customers have come to expect. Our goal when we partnered with Nosto was to ensure each customer continues to walk away with the right items (including relevant products and content) to meet their goals and return a happy customer. We have accomplished this and the experience is seamless to the user.

How has Nosto impacted your personalization/customer experience efforts?

Saks: Nosto has played a key role in our aggressive growth, driving nearly 20 percent of sales annually through its personalized product recommendations. The products that are being recommended come from Nosto’s artificial intelligence-based algorithm that continues to learn the customers’ individual likes/dislikes. Then it can display recommendations of items that are highly relevant to buyers. This is key to keeping the customer engaged.

What changes in customer behavior have you noticed since the partnership started?

Saks: Customers are finding more relevant products that suit their specific needs. Our average order value has increased and customer satisfaction has never been higher.

What do you foresee for the future from a customer experience perspective? 

Saks: Our target demographic is college students, so we have a fresh batch of customers coming in each year and then customers graduating every year and entering our alumni program–it’s a constant revolving door. As a brand, we want to continue to look for opportunities that enable us to evolve with their needs once they’ve graduated so we can continue to be part of their journey. From a customer experience perspective, it’s important to understand, not only what your customer needs today, but also to anticipate what will bring them back in the future.

Jan Soerensen, general manager North America, Nosto, told Loyalty360 that Nosto takes a customer lifetime and lifecycle approach to personalization.

“Our artificial intelligence-based algorithm understands if a person moves from persona to persona and we adjust our entire marketing automation based on that,” Soerensen explained. “That could, for example, involve adjusting the products shown, the price points shown and, or the brands shown. But it could also mean adjusting the discount and offering strategy as well as targeting on Facebook and Instagram. If a customer is expected to increase or decrease in value or purchase frequency, it makes sense to target them with different marketing strategies.”

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