Reverse Engineering Verb Energy and Its Successes – How SMS Played a Pivotal Role in their Success

Home Case Study Reverse Engineering Verb Energy and Its Successes – How SMS Played a Pivotal Role in their Success

“Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.” —Pablo Picasso

Inspiration and determination to create something —perhaps a solution that may ease up life — is the spirit of a business. It is the idea to solve a problem and the eagerness to grow while gaining people’s trust. 

A similar story tells the hard work and determination of a young entrepreneur who started his entrepreneurial journey with a simple idea for a problem he faced at a coffee shop. It was when he went to the coffee shop to buy a cup of coffee and a granola bar for $7.00 to re-energize after pulling an all-nighter.  

This made him think of a cost-effective alternative – a solution that combines taste, health, convenience, and energy effects like an energy drink without the unhealthy side effects and jitters. That’s when Verb Energy was coined.

“Every problem is a gift—without problems, we would not grow.” – Anthony Robbins.

Also read: Story of Clif Bar

The Beginning

It all started with a lot of trial and error. The basic bars they made were all gnarly. At the end of 2016, after 10 months of experimentation and 127 failed recipes, they finally had a bar that satisfied them. 

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Verb energy started as a side project by three aspiring young entrepreneurs with no experience or background in business. They simply put together a recipe that could provide a healthy snack. They created their first MVPs in the dorm kitchen and eventually moved to a local bakery working after school hours to fulfil the orders. 

How They Crafted their Place in a Crowded Market

So, what’s so newsworthy about their story? Yeah, they started from their dorm room at Yale. But you’ve probably heard that college boys dorm room business story a gazillion times to rob it of its charm by now. Don’t fret – we’re not rambling about their humble beginnings. 

We’re going all in on how they differentiated their product in a crowded market and unpacked some good lessons for other entrepreneurs who are sailing the same boat or thinking of jumping on the bandwagon. 

When we reverse engineer the successes of founders Matt, Bennett, and Andre, one thing became pretty obvious: Tech was in their DNA

Let’s dive in and see how Verb Energy used technology to make it this far: 

100% D2C (Direct to Consumer):

The direct-to-consumer eCommerce is when the manufacturer/producer sells its products directly to the consumers. That is how Verb started its journey. 

They started by delivering packages to their friends, who told their friends about it, and soon they had a DTC brand in which customers were ordering energy bars through simple text messages. 

They sold ten thousand bars in their first month. And as the business took off, they started doing online sales. But until then, SMS had become crucial in their connection with customers. Though customers loved their flavors, they cherished the convenience of SMS-to-order and the human connection that Verb offered. 

No Chatbots Ever

No matter how much you hate them as customers yourself, you’ll find chatbots everywhere. Companies use chatbots in their customer support all the time – it’s how they stay profitable as chatbots don’t need paychecks and other benefits. 

But Verb stayed true to its core values. Even after raising millions in funding, Verb has no plans to replace humans with chatbots. To stay profitable, they are instead investing in automation which increases efficiencies and allows them to scale the human connection, which has become a core value proposition of Verb. Order notifications, for example, are automated. But when a customer replies to a notification, they are always responded to by a real human – co-founders themselves at the initial stage.

Subscription-Based Selling Model

Subscription-based business models are everywhere these days. The Verb Flex Subscriptions Program allows its customers to subscribe to their products and receive packages regularly without the need to reorder. 

While subscription models are convenient in and of themselves, Verb combined them with text messaging to give them an edge. They send a message to the customer two days before scheduled delivery to see if customers want to change, skip, pause or cancel the subscription. 

Custom CRM with SMS Features

Their sales started with word of mouth but soon converted to getting text messages from customers. Understanding the potential of SMS, they connected with customers by creating separate slack channels but soon maxed out the number of channels allowed. 

Unfortunately, an off-the-shelf SMS platform which offered the features they needed didn’t exist at that time. And so, their CTO, Andre Monteiro, built and developed their custom CRM, which allowed them to manage SMS conversations and add automation for scalability. 

The founders at Verb have invested heavily in the development of the custom CRM. But the amount of customer engagement it has generated over the years and the insights their team has gained by talking directly to customers has made it all well worth it.

Building an SMS platform was not the end of it. They had to strategize every process to grow their business and extend their reach. Where hiring an in-house team for customer interaction was a good option, they also updated the platform to automate their work processes. Doing this increased the efficiency of their team and enabled them to talk to over 100,000 monthly subscribers. 

“Being able to have those one-on-one relationships with the customers and giving them an avenue into the company can make them feel like they’re contributing to something by being able to communicate. It also delivers a better customer experience which is a very unique attribute of texts. And I think we do it better than any other company out there.” — Andre Monteiro, CTO at Verb.
Source: founder’s chat podcast

Text Commerce Platform

Apart from the custom CRM that allowed the team to process thousands of text messages and build that human connection with customers, Verb took it up by a notch. They built the next generation text commerce platform using the payment processor Stripe. 

The platform allows customers to order Verb bars whenever they want by just sending a simple text message. Stripe handles secure payment processing over SMS so they never have to leave the familiar texting interface.

Conclusion 

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill.

Remember, today, customers are hungry for personalized experiences, and reaching out to them via SMS does the job. This is what they envision to be the next age of commerce — customer convenience and better engagement via conversational commerce. These factors combined to be the main advantage for Verb Energy.  If you are too an aspiring entrepreneur with the goal of delivering exceptional experiences, Codup can help you turn your vision into reality. Rely on Codup for cutting-edge software development to streamline and level up your retail and manufacturing operations.

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