Goodbye Coupons, Hello Aisle, the Next-Gen Retail Marketing Tool

Want to know how to bridge the gap between the online and in-person shopper? Chriss Tiffin, founder of Aisle, shares his insights.
September 23, 2022
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Purple background with the Tydo and Aisle logos with white text that says "Connecting the in-person and online shopper"

How to Bridge the Gap Between the Online and In-Person Shopper With Aisle's Founder Chris Tiffin

Today, your pantry is a status symbol. 

Food and beverage brands are emerging left and right—Surreal (Jan 2022), Barbet (Dec 2021), Goodles (Nov 2021), Rootless (Nov 2021), TBH (Nov 2021). And, consumers are eager and ready to explore new products and find the next DTC darling. But, when it comes to the in-person shopper, brands have no clue where customers are coming from, who’s buying their product, and why they’re buying it.

Since its founding, Aisle has pivoted more than a few times, but they’ve always been laser-focused on one goal: connecting the online and in-person shopper. Most recently, they landed on a killer, white-labeled B2B solution that helps brands boost retail sales velocities and collect first-party data. 

Partnering with Onda and launching with Gooey, Feltman’s, Actual Veggies, and Cleveland Kitchen in the coming weeks, Aisle is a game changer for retail marketing. We caught up Aisle’s founder Tiffin to learn more about his vision for Aisle and how he’s bridging that gap between the online and in-person shopper. 

From Super Coffee to Aisle 

Chris Tiffin—who you most likely know as Tiffin—started his career at Super Coffee. He worked his way up from intern to director of growth, playing a key role in the business as it grew from $700K to $5 million in revenue in a year. 

At Super Coffee, DTC was only a small chunk of the pie. As the brand started to enter larger retailers, such as Kroger and Target, Tiffin realized he had no insight into the IRL Super Coffee shopper—who they were, why they were buying Super Coffee, and what would get them to rebuy. 

Tiffin wanted to understand: 
  1. How can we connect retail and DTC sales and marketing? 
  2. How can we connect in-store and online shoppers? 

That gap between in-person and online purchasing behaviors inspired him to build Aisle. To start Aisle, Tiffin threw together the Postscript shortcode and a unique keyword (i.e. “Text ‘MYCOFFEE’ to 29071”) with the hopes of understanding where the shopper was coming from and where they picked up a product. 

Early last year, Aisle launched as a consumer app, scaling from zero to 50K users and 65+ brands in six months. Then, Aisle pivoted to a membership program. 

While it was fun to send customers new, emerging snack brands, Tiffin realized—like many first-time founders—that they pivoted to the wrong business. Brands were asking them to go back to the original business, and they already had the tech and processes set up from the consumer-facing version of Aisle. Plus,  they raised VC money, and with that, they’re working towards product-market fit and growing as quickly as possible. 

So, now they’re back to the OG solution. 

What problem is Aisle solving? Where is Aisle heading? Tiffin told us more below. 

“When you pick up a product in-store, brands don’t know who you are and why you picked up the product in the first place. No one knows how to combine the in-store and online purchaser. At Aisle, we’re fixing that.” 

A Next-Gen Retail Marketing Solution 

Tiffin believes in three things: “Death, taxes, and no one has the space on their iPhone for another app.” So, he built Aisle entirely through text. 

Consumers take a picture of their receipt, text it to Aisle, and then, if a brand partner is featured on the receipt, Aisle instantly Venmos the customer. 

Aisle partners with brands looking to boost retail sales velocities. So many brands spend their ad budgets on store locator ads, but they’re completely untrackable. The same can be said about other marketing channels: 
  1. Sampling: It’s not trackable. It’s expensive and hard to scale. 
  2. Facebook Ads: It’s not trackable and “a waste of money,” according to Tiffin. 
  3. Ibotta/Fetch: These bots are helpful as it relates to boosting velocities, but they’re expensive, and they don’t provide any customer data. 
  4. Other rebate tools: They rely on website forms and don’t provide the best UX. 
  5. Coupons: They’re outdated and expire before customers know it.  

Starting his career during the DTC growth marketing era and as a Gen Zer who wants everything to be easy and fast, Tiffin realized the power in the dynamic duo that is text and Venmo. It’s the most effective UX to support in-store sales. 

How does it work? 

Customers see an ad and enter their phone number (or perhaps scan a QR code at a sampling event). They legally opt-in and send a picture of their receipt with the product on it. Then, they get a Venmo within minutes of submitting the receipt. 

Aisle handles everything—the receipt processing, fraud, Venmo payment, and CX. 

How Tiffin sees it: Higher velocities mean more shelf space and placements, resulting in more units sold. 

With Aisle, brands finally have a marketing solution that’s: 
  1. 100% trackable
  2. A 10/10 user experience 
  3. Infinitely scalable 
  4. Providing clear, actionable customer data 
  5. Never expires 

Plus, it works incredibly well. One plant-based meat company recently partnered with Aisle and as a result, moved 1500+ units in one weekend. A majority of those customers were purchasing multi-units per receipt. Now, that brand is scaling up their Aisle partnership.

It’s not all about velocity reports. Aisle also gives power to the player aka DTC brands. That includes the legally-acquired contact info of individual shoppers and their entire receipt data. 

“Whether you’re a national brand that wants to dominate or an emerging brand that needs to show key retailer success or pump volume before category resets, Aisle can help.” 

First-Party Data FTW

Aisle partners with practically any brand looking to boost retail velocities. 

They help brands in two major ways: 
  1. They increase the number of products rung up at full price at the register. 
  2. They provide actionable customer data: name, email, phone number, and receipt data. 

In terms of metrics, Aisle cares about one metric and one metric only: redemption #/%. 

They prioritize—and quite frankly, only make money from—in-store purchases. 

Most retail sales reports are bi-weekly or sometimes even monthly. They’re simple, Excel files that show sales velocity. They don’t track repeat purchase rate by SKU or customer type (new vs. repeat). 

Aisle brings advanced DTC level insights to the grocery store by providing the following: 
  1. Real-time sales data (i.e. total units moved) 
  2. Conversion rate 
  3. Receipt data
“Aisle allows you to pump volume through the register while acquiring all of the first-party data.” 

Tiffin’s Advice: How to Leverage Personalization in CPG  

In CPG, personalization wins. 

When Tiffin worked at Super Coffee, he would send every new follower a personalized DM welcoming them to the brand. And, sometimes he would even send them a discount code. It made every new follower feel welcomed and special.  

“Consumers tend to associate brands with people,” says Tiffin. 

With that in mind, he recommends that CPG brands leverage the people behind the brand in marketing campaigns. At Super Coffee, Tiffin created tons of ads featuring the founding brothers. And if the brothers didn’t resonate with consumers, he threw himself into an ad.  

Tiffin’s advice: Just be authentic and shameless. Consumers will appreciate it. 

“Be yourself and humanize the brand before anything else. People are going to buy the product for you, not the offering.” 


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