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MatchaBar: High Impact, Low Effort

Adrian Alfieri

Adrian Alfieri

MatchaBar is a Brooklyn-based brand bringing original blends of ceremonial grade matcha to customers around the country. Since the start of COVID, its team quickly pivoted to a DTC-first approach, switching from past strategies of in-person activation at cafés, pop-ups, and events. Today, the majority of all MatchaBar customers are online subscribers and repeat buyers.

We sat down with Audrey Lee, who heads up the brand’s digital marketing, to dive into the growing pains of executing their first year of DTC, the importance of collaboration between platform and client, and the potential Skio updates she has on her radar. Here’s what we cover:

  1. The Early Days: Unintuitive User Flows and Admin Blockers
  2. Making the Switch To Skio: Low Effort, High Impact
  3. Moving Forward: Long Term Retention & Collaboration

"Over half of MatchaBar’s user base are subscribers or returning customers, so simplifying subscriptions has been our top priority. I can’t stress enough how great the Skio team has been in this process.”


The Early Days: Unintuitive User Flows and Admin Blockers

Prior to Skio, the MatchaBar team had enlisted Recharge to power the brand’s newfound reliance on subscriptions, due to their broader shift to DTC online sales.

But a key issue quickly presented itself: a consistent influx of customer support requests due to subscribers’ inability to easily manage their accounts.

According to Audrey, the overflow of support tickets not only drained time and capital, since employees had to be reassigned to troubleshooting, it also pointed to a general unintuitiveness of the Recharge platform’s UX.

Users couldn’t figure out how to adjust their plans and preferences, cancel upcoming charges, or even manage log-in details.

That barrier to entry also extended to the administrative end of the platform, as the MatchaBar team struggled to customize their user-facing widget or update product SKUs. The latter especially created frustration, Audrey recalled, since the brand was forced to alter its pricing structure in the midst of the pandemic.

When the team would eventually turn to Recharge’s support channels for assistance, the actual execution of the required changes typically took days past the point of initial contact — all to handle issues that could have been avoided entirely with a more navigable UX.

Even when Recharge would eventually roll out updates to ease the friction on both subscriber and admin fronts, they simply came too late to be proactively helpful, as Audrey puts it.

As such, any key improvements she wanted to see either couldn’t be met in time by the Recharge team, or would have required MatchaBar bringing on a developer to code an in-house solution, yet another potential sinkhole for time and capital.

"On the customer end, we got so many tickets asking for help with what should be intuitive aspects of the UX. You want to make platforms as easy as possible for the buyer — Recharge just didn’t have that in place."


Making the Switch To Skio: Low Effort, High Impact

After continually watching emails flood in from struggling subscribers, Audrey and the rest of the team knew it was time to finally make the switch, away from Recharge.

It was Geoffrey Miles, an advisor to MatchaBar and VP of Marketing at Bev, who made the initial recommendation of Skio due to his own team’s success with the platform.

After a demo with the Skio team, Audrey attended an internal MatchaBar web meeting where she laid out all the working elements she required from an excellent subscription service — and concluded Skio could indeed deliver on everything Recharge was missing.

From that point, it was a simple yes to making the transition to Skio, though Audrey remained hesitant about what migration and onboarding would look like for existing subscribers.

However, as she recounts, the Skio team ensured the process ran seamlessly across the board and required as little work as possible from the MatchaBar team, i.e. simply asking Recharge to send over the necessary files to Stripe, Braintree, and other relevant services.

Every new Skio client can essentially choose to have all their existing subscribers completely migrated to the platform, or to allow existing subscribers to remain on Recharge while new members receive Skio logins.

MatchaBar chose the former, seeing as current subscribers would still retain total access to their previous account info and order history, and sent out communications to all subscription holders about the update that’d improve their experiences for the better.

In Audrey’s words, the migration was the best possible experience on both ends: for newly satisfied subscribers, as well as the MatchaBar team who, for the first time, received maybe an email or two tops in response to the shift.

“Before switching over, we had an internal web team meeting where I laid out everything I wanted in a subscription platform that Recharge wasn’t delivering. Skio had solutions for every bullet point.”


Moving Forward: Long-Term Retention & Collaboration

Enough time has passed for Audrey to call MatchaBar subscribers comfortably settled on the Skio platform, and she describes three main components to the immense upswing the brand has felt in its experience of maintaining subscription experiences.

Clearing Out Customer Support Blockers

As we mentioned earlier, the majority of MatchaBar consumers are subscribers and repeat buyers, meaning the team places immense value in being able to facilitate a seamless subscription experience, which would then enable them to drive retention.

Overall, the intuitive, clean-cut design of the Skio platform, plus its enablement for password-less secure login, has meant support tickets struggling with basic aspects of account management have quickly dropped.

That ease of navigation also extends to the MatchaBar team being able to easily make alterations and handle any requests on the admin end, thus unblocking that cost center of employees who previously had to sift through emails and struggle with platform controls.

Instant Feedback & Communications

In stark contrast to the delayed communications Audrey remembered of the Recharge team, likely due to the bureaucracy that naturally occurs with companies of Recharge’s size, she describes MatchaBar’s working relationship with the Skio team as a far more personal one.

She particularly called out their open lines for dialogue through Skio’s chat widget on Slack, for general discussion, troubleshooting the few customer requests that do crop up, and ideating.

For instance, the Skio platform supports the option of a family plan model of subscriptions. But when Audrey asked for that element to be removed since it conflicted with MatchaBar’s current pricing structure, it came off the customers’ landing page — in her words — instantaneously.


Platform & Client: Building Together for the Long Run

Audrey pointed out a final aspect of the team’s partnership with Skio that leaves her optimistic about sustaining MatchaBar’s current growth: Skio’s emphasis on genuine collaboration with their clients in order to understand what brands actually want and need.

According to Audrey, she’s likely in contact with the Skio team once a day, passing along ideas on what’s working or for potential functionality and features, or receiving news on potential updates that’ll be rolling out for users in the upcoming future.

As she tells it, she’s especially stoked about eventually rolling out a family subscription plan — especially as more relationships are built with brand ambassadors, influencers, and other loyal customers — as well as SMS and email notifications about subscriber orders.

"Skio has been terrific because they seem dedicated to every individual customer. Whether I have an issue or an idea, I’ll run it by them and someone will have a thoughtful response immediately."

Adrian Alfieri

Adrian Alfieri

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trusted by 1029+ brands
Y Combinator
Unilever
Liquid IV
Bulletproof
Milk Bar
Vega
Kos
Kitsch
Barstool Sports
100 Thieves
Everyday Dose
Ghost
Raw
Ryse
Muddy Bites
Krave Beauty
Wild One
DRMTLGY
From Great Origins
Nue Co
Facetheory
Doe Lashes
Bachans
Siete Foods
Magic Mind
100 Thieves
Huron
Mila
Bubs Naturals
Summer Water
Kosas
Glamnetic
Insert Name Here
Strong Coffee
Heights
Immi
More Labs
OpenStore
Dr Brandt
HelloSeen
EHP Labs
About-Face
Boy Smells
Tower 28 Beauty
Hippeas
LYS Beauty

Ready to sell subscriptions without ripping your hair out?

Make more money by partnering with the best engineering team.
A great subscription experience requires great engineering. And great engineering requires great engineers.
Skio is built by engineers from the best engineering companies in the world. New features are released weekly and the result is an unrivaled subscription experience for you & your customers.
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Ready to sell subscriptions without ripping your hair out?

Make more money by partnering with the best engineering team.
A great subscription experience requires great engineering. And great engineering requires great engineers.
Skio is built by engineers from the best engineering companies in the world. New features are released weekly and the result is an unrivaled subscription experience for you & your customers.
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