Why Being Customer-Driven Is the Secret Ingredient in Daily Harvest’s Recipe For Success

Being customer-driven is not as easy to put into practice as some might think

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Rachel Drori has come a long way from the days of filling a shopping cart at Trader Joe’s and packing up healthy, frozen meals for delivery to customers all around New York — all while being nine-months pregnant. As the Founder and CEO of Daily Harvest, Rachel bootstrapped her company from the very beginning, and eventually had a few big names reach out to invest, including folks like Serena Williams and Gwenyth Paltrow. In 2019, Daily Harvest generated more than $125M in revenue and the company is growing. So what makes her meal-delivery service different from the others? The heavy focus on customer-centricity.

“One thing that’s interesting about Daily Harvest is on the outside, we kind of look like a subscription, but we’re actually not a subscription,” Drori says. “We’re really what we call a replenishment business because once you sign up for Daily Harvest, our goal is to make sure that your freezer is always stocked. And it’s not because that’s good for us, it’s because that’s how we make sure that you have the food that you want when you want it. At that moment when you’re hangry, when you’re reaching for that bar, you need to have the right food in your freezer.”

When Drori founded Daily Harvest, her goal was to build a customer-driven company that connected people with food that was designed specifically for them especially for those moments when hanger sets in. From a practical standpoint, that was easier said than done.

As Drori got deeper into building the business, she had to learn to scale her operations from buying all of the ingredients from the local Trader Joes and making everything herself, to finding farming partners and designing a logistics and delivery system that would work for customers around the country. Getting those customers the freshest, and one of the best-designed meals possible was one of Drori’s main points of focus. But she also lasered in on making sure she was listening to and responding to those customers in any way, shape or form that they were choosing to engage with the company.

“It’s not so much about giving the customers places to share their thoughts and feelings, it’s more about showing that you respond to them,” Drori says. “So one of the things that we did really early on is we built a quite agile supply chain. And the goal of that was really to be able to respond to customer needs. We wanted to create a customer-driven company. We had to be able to respond to customer needs. And it’s one thing to have these amazing insights and to be innovative. And a lot of companies have the ability to do that. But if you can’t respond in a timely manner, does it really matter?”

Obviously it matters for Drori and her team at Daily Harvest because they have invested heavily in creating feedback loops in every possible channel. And while that is helpful in being able to respond to customers, it also serves a dual purpose in creating the ability to reach and acquire new customers.

“We always started with the goal of, how are we not beholden to any one channel?” Drori says of her marketing strategy. “Because I think that that’s just asking for trouble. And we built it in a really nimble and agile way so that as trends and algorithms and all sorts of things change, we can then be nimble as a result. And we’re lucky that we have a high amount of our customers come in through word of mouth, but we’ve also done a lot of things to make that easier, to remove the friction of people sharing when they have a positive Daily Harvest experience.”

As more and more customers do find their way to Daily Harvest, Drori says that the mission never changes. She wants to change the food industry from a systemic level, and she also wants to make it easy for people to get the best food possible.

“[It’s about] removing friction for our customers and making things as easy as possible for them, making their account as easy as possible to manage, making sure that they’re getting the food that they want when they want it,” Drori says. “We found that there’s a direct correlation between removing that friction, being customer-driven. We don’t even think about retention. We think about how can we be more customer-driven? How can we get our customers exactly what they want? And what we found is that those things correlate really nicely.”

Daily Harvest continues to grow, and Drori is constantly looking to improve the experience. To learn more about how, be sure to tune in to Up Next in Commerce, here.

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