On season four of Hit Subscribe, we sat down with Brad Savage, Founder of Gardencup, and discussed all things related to business growth, demographics, bundling, and maximizing customer lifetime value (LTV). Gardencup offers garden-fresh salads delivered straight to your doorstep, with nationwide delivery.
As their business has evolved, Brad shared with us some lessons they’ve learned along the way, and where they want to focus their efforts for the future as they help customers “put clean eating on autopilot.”
- Understanding and analyzing your demographics can help you prioritize everything from warehouse locations to marketing initiatives.
- Bundling gives customers the ability to swap products on their own—meaning more flexibility and control over their subscriptions.
- Maximizing LTV is possible with a smooth user experience, a great product, and valuable content.
From airports to doorstep delivery
Before going to a strictly direct-to-consumer model, and as they built out their meal subscription offerings behind the scenes, Gardencup started out exploring retail options. They sold their garden-fresh salads in Hudson News stores at eight different airports, across 25 different locations. While this was great exposure for their brand, the insanely high margins of selling in airport retailers led them to reconsider, and after almost a year they decided to shift to doorstep delivery.
“We refocused on the core business model from the outset, which was doorstep delivery, your own custom pack of healthy produce meals to stock your fridge with.”–Brad Savage, Founder, Gardencup
Shifting with demographics
As Gardencup moved to offer nationwide delivery, they’ve taken note of who their customers are and where they live. This has helped shape their business growth by giving them clear direction into where kitchens should be located, to optimize delivery times and freshness for customers. Many of their subscribers are located on the coasts, making a kitchen there a natural next step for them.
“I think our next step is to try and set up a kitchen or a partner kitchen, at least one on each of the coasts. So we can reach more of those coastal markets with a much higher delivery quality [and faster] delivery time.”–Brad Savage, Founder, Gardencup
They’ve also taken note of demographics. A large subset of their customers are older women. Brad speculated that many of them either have kids in high school or are empty nesters, and just don’t feel like cooking anymore. Maybe they don’t have the time, energy, or inspiration—which is where Gardencup comes in. They can have fresh healthy food already made, delivered straight to their door. Understanding their demographic better can help with marketing initiatives and allow them to hone their branding to better fit their customers’ preferences.
Making it flexible with Bundles
Bundles have been a crucial part of Gardencup’s success so far, giving customers the ability to swap out their salad cups based on what they’d like in their next order. Putting the power in subscribers’ hands means they have total freedom to edit and change orders, which in turn leads to less churn.
Looking forward, Brad shared that they hope to integrate auto-rotating options, where customers can choose three or four salad cups they’d like, and leave two open spots for a “chef’s choice.” This way, Gardencup can introduce new salad flavors for customers to try and hopefully enjoy, giving them more options to choose from in their next order.
“We’ll rotate based on seasonality or what’s trending or what we get a good deal on…And so we’ll surprise you with those two options out of your six every week.”–Brad Savage, Founder, Gardencup
Finally, Brad shared the three ways in which they’re hoping to maximize their customer lifetime value moving forward. The first is to make sure the product is awesome (and evergreen, in their case). Secondly, ensuring the user experience is top-notch, which includes subscription management and giving subscribers the ability to easily manage their subscriptions from the customer portal.
And third, focusing on education. For Gardencup, this will mean rolling out educational content that covers why we should be eating fruits and vegetables every day. Brad would like to focus on sharing about how Americans aren’t eating enough of these food groups and how the culprit is often a lack of convenience—which is exactly what Gardencup solves. By focusing more effort on SEO and influencer marketing, Brad hopes to grow the Gardencup content and marketing strategies and with it, their brand’s reach.
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 Gardencup gets candid about the realities of startup life (Hit Subscribe)
 Bundles (Recharge)
 2.7x higher LTV: Enhancing the customer journey with Bundles (Recharge)