Huel is a company on a mission to change the way people think about food, with meals that are convenient, affordable, and nutritionally complete, with minimal impact on animals and the environment.
We asked Mario Tarantino, Senior eCommerce Manager, to tell us how using Heap gives more fuel to Huel.
Can you tell us a bit about Huel and your role there? We are a nutritionally complete food business — the world’s number one — which we’re really proud of. Our products are all 100% vegan with a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber in all 27 essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs for optimal health.
We’ve sold over a hundred million meals to over a hundred countries. I lead the eCommerce content team, taking care of all things website and digital product, optimizing our user experience and website conversion.
What were some of your analytics challenges, and how has Heap helped?
When I joined Huel three years ago, we only had one product. We were using Google Analytics, and still do for basic stuff, like keywords and page views.
Now we’re tracking our high-protein Powders, Ready-to-drink bottles, snack bars, and our new Hot & Savory meals. We’re a lot more granular in building funnels and understanding user behavior. We’ve ramped up our A/B testing and personalization capabilities, and obviously all that needs to be measured — by product, by entrance channel and by country as well.
Having everything in one place and with information that’s easy to pick out was crucial. All areas where GA falls short. Data trust includes being able to share information quickly without multiple logins on multiple properties — it gets confusing and you get different numbers from one platform to the other.
Whereas with Heap, the Shopify and Snowflake integrations go a long way to help track data accurately and keep it all nicely aligned and easier to communicate. We can see what users do at each step and build funnels in a way that we can break them down by product and get a lot more insights. Customers are at the center of everything we do at Huel, and Heap plays an important role in ensuring we are tailoring our website to give them the best possible experience.
What metrics or KPIs are you able to track now that you weren’t able to before?
One thing that was a complete blind spot in Google Analytics was our account area. We spent a lot of time and resources building it, but we couldn’t track events. We had retroactive data knowing how many subscriptions we got a month, but we didn’t know how our customers interacted with the account area to manage their subscriptions. Now we know exactly what those users are doing.
Another example: we recently launched a ‘cancellation saves’ functionality, where customers get taken through a funnel to try X, Y, Z as preventative actions rather than canceling their subscription. We suggest other options besides canceling, like: “How about you postpone your next delivery, or how about you try different flavors?” In seeing how users come to a decision and what their behaviors are, we realized the real value is looking for untapped potential.
Great! Have you seen a decrease in cancellations? Being a new feature, it’s a bit tricky to set a benchmark, but we’ve seen about a 15% decrease in cancellations weekly. That’s a good start!
What is the biggest advantage you feel that Heap is providing? It’s helping us drive our marketing spend on best performing products and merchandising them by measuring the results of A/B tests and being able to track customers choosing subscriptions vs. single purchases on our product pages.
We’ve seen a pretty marked increase in subs on that, and it’s all stuff we wouldn’t have been able to do without Heap. It’s hard to tell what the past six months would have been like for us without Heap, because there’s so much stuff that we weren’t tracking before!
How are some of the other teams benefiting from Heap insights? We only fully implemented Heap six months ago, but by now, anyone and everyone at Huel is using Heap. When we launched our new Hot & Savory product, everyone in the company wanted to see how it was doing and converting. Heap helped get all those people access to that data.
Our designers integrate data we get from heatmaps and other parties to build a picture of the next version. Our customer insights manager takes all the quality feedback from the customer service and customer experience teams and leverages that with the quantitative side coming from Heap.
We’re tracking how users get to products and how they convert after seeing certain content pages, so that’s forming content marketing strategies. One of the biggest things is product performance with our trading team. Heap is enriching the data coming from our CPAs and overall conversion rate per ads, and informing that data whenever we’re making a change in the product page.
Where is Heap saving you the most time and effort?
I used to build funnels using segments in Google Analytics. I could only do it at the end of the month because it was so time-consuming — going through all the different properties in GA and filtering by country took hours. And anytime somebody asked, “Oh, so how was the funnel performing mid-month?” I’d have to put in those hours again and trickle down all the data manually.
Then sampling in GA would hit us, and we wouldn’t be able to get all that granular data. That was a nightmare. The fact that I was the only one building funnels and doing stuff in GA kind of speaks for itself.
Now with so many people in the business using Heap, it’s easy to say, “Okay, look, here’s your two-hour training courses. You can double-speed them if you’re in cramming mode and then you’re up and running.” That’s been really, really handy because we are absolutely data-driven, and having that wider business access for everyone is super helpful.
Do you feel like using Heap has helped your career?
It’s definitely helped me up my game, because it’s taken all the guesswork from having a good day or a bad day. My team knows why things happen. I’ll know that a certain traffic stream is high-converting because of X, Y, Z reasons.
And we can see that it’s in this country or on this product, mainly coming from CRM, or from a particular ad, or related to this launch or whatever. We can pinpoint exactly what’s going on. And I’m able to share dashboards with our senior leadership. They’re pretty tech savvy, so they’re happy to log in and check stuff out and play with the reports as well. All eyes are on the ball now.
It sounds like that’s a significant cultural shift. Oh yeah. Heap has definitely fit into our culture. We’ve always all been about data. Heap was the missing piece of the puzzle. The senior management team loves hearing about super tailored funnels and how different things are performing.
Now we can answer and learn from those questions that the business asks. When we change trends around the order of products, are they adding more to cart, are they increasing the quantity of their orders? It’s all stuff that we weren’t tracking before.
What’s the biggest impact you’ve seen with Heap?
January is our busiest month, and this year it will be our biggest ever. Heap has enabled us to perform super-fast funnel conversion and traffic analysis, drilling down by country, product type, and marketing channel. It helped us realize that some parts of our marketing plan weren’t playing out as expected.
With insight coming from Heap we adapted our product merchandising strategy — and in some markets we have achieved over 30% increase in new customer conversions! This would have been a complete blind spot for us before, and gaining a fraction of that detail of information would have taken hours, if not days of work in Google Analytics. With Heap, we got granular detail in a matter of minutes.
What kind of future plans do you have with Heap in 2021?
We have big plans for next year to expand personalization in our other markets, as well as the U.K. and U.S. So that’s driving our wider strategy in terms of customer acquisition. Bringing more sales data from Heap into our BI tool, then circling that back through downstream through Snowflake is definitely a priority. We’re just scratching the surface, we can do so much more with Heap.
Another plan is to get more and more people on-boarded into Heap — again, all your training materials make that easy.
If you were to recommend Heap to a friend, what would you say? It’s enabled us to answer so many questions. We know so much more about our performance, about each individual product, how they’re performing, how different funnels and different experiments are performing. Heap helps us be super efficient, super focused, and super lean.