The Challenge: This online shopping service sought new customers through provocative advertising that promised customers the high-quality groceries. Their billboards had featured a perfect red ripe tomato, branded “REJECTED!,” promoting their lofty standards for their produce. While this advertising was memorable, they found it didn’t inspire new customers or retain existing ones.

Our Findings: While customers care about the quality of their produce—a classic downside risk that might stop them from using online grocers—this wasn’t a strong motivator for customer adoption and usage. Rather, we found that saving time and avoiding crowded supermarkets were what drives the passion of online grocery shoppers.

Our Strategy: At our urging, ShopLink repositioned the company as a brand that gives you the gift of time. The advertising strategy was completely revised. Messaging promised shopping on Sunday mornings in your pajamas, allowing abundant time to plan healthy family meals. And instead of focusing on perfect produce, the focus was turned to a monthly calendar filled with playdates, carpools, doctor’s visits and hockey games. The new tagline? “It’s About Time.”

The Results: Rapid growth resumed under this new brand positioning and messaging. New customer acquisition, retention and usage all rose, and ShopLink reached cash break-even in the Boston metro market. It soon successfully entered the New York and Connecticut markets. If not for the 2001 dotcom meltdown that sank almost every online grocery retailer, the staff of Resonance Insights would be loyal ShopLink customers today. We’ve maintained our relationship with then ShopLink Marketing Head Tim Guen, with work on more than a dozen subsequent projects.