Introducing an innovative product to a mature industry with ingrained stereotypes is not an easy task. As a bootstrapping startup, we faced big competitors with impressive industry experience and substantial marketing budgets.

We quickly realized that in order to be outstanding, we couldn’t simply focus on our great product, we had to also make sure that every customer who crossed paths with the SISU brand was completely delighted with the overall brand experience.

SISU provides mouth guards, and the majority of our new customers' first interaction with us is through our website. We had to make the right impression, and we did just that. To top it off, we just won the Big Commerce Design Awards for the best Sports & Recreation website.

Here are the steps we took to personalize our website. 

Steps to Personalizing Your Website

Step 1: Pick the right platform

The first step in designing a great website is selecting the right platform. There are many choices, ranging from custom built out to simple template designs. A custom platform allows more flexibility with personalization, but it is usually the most expensive.

Instead, we picked an e-commerce platform that would satisfy majority of our needs as we scaled up. In order to keep the costs low, we modified a Big Commerce responsive template and created a great looking website on a pretty modest budget.


Step 2: Make a good first impression

Majority of people who come to your site have a genuine interest in your brand. So, how do you retain their attention long enough to learn more about you?

Invest in Quality

Since your website is often the first point of contact between your potential online customer and the brand, using high quality images and messages that are relevant to your buyer personas will help you create a website that is clean, techy and easy to use.

Speak Their Language

Use the language that resonates with your customers. Majority of our customers are millenials who play sports, so we chose a language that is a little tongue-in-cheek. It hasa note of humor, but still carries the right message for the right audience.


Make the Journey Effortless

We discovered that customers who are not familiar with our brand will read more about the science of SISU and circle through the product reviews before they commit to a purchase, but at the end of their research, they are usually ready to buy! We added product selection modules at the end of each of our support pages to help customers complete their journey effortlessly.


Step 3: Show them you care

Add a chat module

We wanted to be available to our customers to answer real questions in real time. But, pop up messages can be very annoying and can disrupt the flow of the page. We wanted to make sure we weren’t too obtrusive while being helpful. Olark chat was a welcome addition to our new website, because it offered the customization we were looking for.

SISU chat window appears at the bottom of every page. Once the customer browsed more than two pages, the chat window will activate with a simple message “I’m around if you have any questions.” Four operators work our chat room on daily basis and answer questions ranging from product specifications to would your mouthguard help me outrun a tiger." (The answer is only if you run very fast.)

“People are busy and don't have time to make a call or write an email,” our customer service manager, Terry Rishoi explains. “With chat, everything is instantaneous, a chat box helps me answer questions so that our customers can make the purchase immediately!” 

Add a reviews system

Our customers love our product! Every athlete who put on a SISU Mouthguard absolutely raved about our guards. These athletes, we call them our brand ambassadors, helped us spread the word about SISU. And we wanted to make sure that the process of leaving product reviews and sharing them on social media was as effortless as possible for our loyal customers.

Yotpo is a custom review system that allows customers to leave feedback about their product or service experience by simply replying to an email we send them a week after they’ve ordered their product.

Step 4: Get personal

Send abandoned cart notifications

Asking a customer what went wrong with their purchasing experience and why they hadn’t completed their purchase is a good way to show that you care. It’s also a good way to convert those who’ve not completed their buyer journey. Our abandoned cart notification, titled “Your teeth want you to buy them a SISU Guard," goes out one day after the cart has been abandoned. We have a 19.5% recovery rate on 2600 abandoned carts in the last two years.

While we use the native functionality in our e-commerce platform for abandoned cart recovery, you can easily build an abandoned cart workflow in HubSpot to recover your customers. Be sure to check out how to set up and use a shopping cart integration with HubSpot

Use email customization

Hubspot has been an essential partner in customizing our customer’s post purchase experience. We’ve built workflows that allow us to stay in touch with our customers, send helpful tips on mouth guard fitting and care and invite them to become our friends on social media, so that we can keep them in the loop of current happenings and ongoing promotions.

Learn more about how you can personalize your emails in HubSpot. 

The Results

As we implemented these changes, our web traffic doubled and our conversion rate improved from 2.5 to over 5.5% average. Our repeat purchase numbers increased as well and our social media following has grown from 2K to 20K in less than a year.

Overall online sales grew by 71% in 2015 and we are poised for another excellent year. We’ll be adding product videos, reorganizing our home page to improve customer online experience and showcase some of the great product features and new milestones in our brand’s journey.

I love HubSpot because personalization of each customer’s experience is the key to success of our brand. 


Originally published Jul 6, 2016 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017