Case Study

How Compass Coffee used photo reviews to successfully transition to e-commerce

Adapt and overcome: that has been the grounding mantra for the team at Compass Coffee, whose coffee shop business was completely “disrupted” due to the Coronavirus pandemic. How exactly did they adapt? They made a significant pivot; the team pressed full steam ahead by growing and optimizing their eCommerce business. As a result, their growth in online sales (and further loyalty) has been astronomical- in part due to their leveraging of a “whole latte” product reviews and happy customer content.

About Compass Coffee:

The DC-area, 12-shop coffee chain is the city’s household name when it comes to serving up some of the best coffee and cafe vibes. From commuters in need of espresso to jump start their morning to friends seeking a comfortable meeting place, Compass Coffee’s shops have become a key part of locals’ rhythm and routine. “Compass Coffee was founded on the premise that ‘we’re here to make peoples’ days better,’” says Joel Shetterly, Head of Design at Compass Coffee. “From the onset that meant roasting really good coffee and creating a welcoming cafe space.” The Compass Coffee crew prides themselves on “meeting their customers where they are”. They try to go above and beyond in giving customers what they want and what they need; whether it’s recreating a drink they’ve had somewhere else, developing an entire line of single-serve coffee, or converting their syrup line to produce hand sanitizer in need

The Challenge: 

When COVID-19 struck the United States, residents’ morning rush to the office morphed into a rush to their at-home desk or kitchen table; natural foot traffic and coffee shop meetups came to a screeching halt. Despite this unprecedented, challenging reality, the Compass Coffee team remained steadfast in their mission to “meet their customers where they are.” So what did they do? The team sought to optimize their eCommerce site- a space that had originally served as an informational site rather than an online retailer. The challenge: transporting their brand community to the online space, increasing conversions on a “new” site, and adapting their products to fit the needs of their at-home consumer. The answer? Product reviews and happy customer UGC. 

The Solution: Loox’s Product Reviews and Ratings

The Compass Coffee team was in need of attractive and insightful product reviews- and quick. As they rapidly morphed their eCommerce site to meet the at-home consumer, the team knew that product reviews and customer content could enable them to quickly understand their transformed demographic’s opinion of their products. And in terms of conversions, reviews would help customers (new and old) make a decision, feel confident about their choice and a part of something bigger.

That’s where Loox comes in. Shetterly notes, “Loox allows us to see exactly what our customers think about us. On one hand, we get to see when our products make our customers’ days better--from selfies with family members in front of our cafes to stacks of our customers’ favorite tins. On the other hand, Loox reviews enable us to see where we have room to grow.”

For example, through Loox’s photo reviews, the Compass Coffee team was able to quickly learn that many of their customers have drip brewers and don’t own coffee grinders. As a result, ground coffee became an important project for the team. “Seeing peoples’ brew setups has been pivotal for us. How they are brewing at home gives us a tremendous amount of insight as to how we can deliver a better Compass experience. So we were like, okay...now (thanks to Loox) we need to make ground coffee for our customers and we’ve got to do it really well,” states Shetterly. The result? Higher eCommerce sales and an even more loyal customer community. “The reviews help our customers make the decision to purchase a tin of (ground) coffee. Not only can they see that other customers are enjoying the coffee but they’re also able to see exactly how the customers are enjoying the coffee” Shetterly shares with a huge grin. 

Loox’s product reviews also serve another powerful purpose for the brand. As the Head of Design at Compass Coffee, Joel Shetterly is the master craftsman when it comes to creating that cool and buzzing “coffee shop vibe” and community. Yet when the shops’ doors had to temporarily close, Shetterly was in need of a new, visually compelling tool to build that bustling Compass experience online.

By leveraging Loox’s beautiful display options, he was able to create a photo-first, brand community that integrated smoothly into the eCommerce experience. ”Loox’s photo reviews create this crowded, energized, community feel (like our physical coffee shops) directly on our product pages. This allows us to show a snapshot of our loyal customers that we otherwise wouldn't have.”

Thankfully, the world is starting to recover from COVID-19. In particular, Compass Coffee has not only recovered and reopened 100%, it’s now become an even stronger, omnichannel brand. Compass Coffee’s ingenuity and dedication to its customers in the face of adversity, is what makes it one of the most unparalleled coffee brands in the world. The Loox team can’t wait to see what the company will brew up next and is honored to continue to serve as Compass’ trusted reviews solution.

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