The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the company’s transformation from a popcorn retailer to a virtual fundraising company. Now, most of its revenue comes from its virtual fundraising, said Anton German, chief technology officer and chief product officer.

Double Good disguises itself as a popcorn company, but it’s really all about fundraising.

It started in 1998 and pops 15,000 pounds of popcorn every day. It began offering fundraising opportunities for kids in 2003, changing the company’s trajectory. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the company’s transformation from a popcorn retailer to a primarily virtual fundraising company. Now, most of its revenue comes from its virtual fundraising, said Anton German, chief technology officer and chief product officer. It almost exclusively sells popcorn through these means, he said. 

More than a million retailers use Shopify as a commerce platform, but Double Good benefits from creating its own platform. Double Good’s philosophy is to own the end-to-end customer experience, German said, so the platform was custom-built.

“We have more control between email communication, text communication, the receipt page, the pre-checkout,” German said. “So we always ensure there isn’t any inconsistency.”

He said Double Good integrated parcelLab, though, to leverage its application programming interface (API) and show real-time information. ParcelLab is an operations experience management company that helps retailers monitor shipments. 

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Only a quarter of retailers keep customers in their ecosystem for order tracking, according to parcelLab. And 75% don’t include personalization in customer touch points during fulfillment, shipping, delivery and returns. Double Good’s customized interface allows it to personalize its communication while maintaining its branding.

Fundraising shift guides communication approach for Double Good

How Double Good works

“The name Double Good comes from that you’re getting something good — you’re getting high-quality gourmet popcorn,” German said. “But also, you’re doing something good because 50% of every dollar goes to support a cause.”

The company focuses on youth sports and activities, German said. Organizations and sports teams fundraising with it want a quick way to raise funds without the traditional fundraiser’s overhead. 

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The platform has organizers, like coaches or others who lead the way in fundraising. And it has sellers, like those who share the online pop-up ecommerce store pages with friends and family, who can then purchase the popcorn. The company currently sells 12 flavors, all made to order. Whereas a typical popcorn company’s primary customer is the one eating the popcorn, German said that’s not the case for Double Good. Even though it processes millions of orders for popcorn, German said, its primary customer is the person organizing the fundraiser.

“With our fundraiser, you don’t really have to touch the product,” German said. “We ship everything direct. You don’t have to do any accounting; you don’t have to touch cash. Everything is 100% done via a mobile app.”

The online, to-order business model makes achieving the delivery date difficult, German said. That’s one area where German said parcelLab data helped, as it consolidates data from different carriers. Double Good used to give a broader range for delivery date. Integrating parcelLab data helped reduce delivery time and provide tracking information through Double Good’s receipt pages.

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Communication channels

Double Good uses emails, text messages, and push notifications from its app to communicate with customers. And how it communicates depends not only on the target audience but also on the channel. Sellers lean more toward push notification or text message communication, German said. Double Good predominantly communicates with buyers via email, he added.

“With email, we can obviously communicate a little bit more, we can use a creative,” German said. “With text, there’s a character limit, and it should be used a lot more cautiously. In fact, we use behavioral email triggers or metrics. Let’s say if a person didn’t open their email. We might try a text message for transactional communication. But again, we limit it to specific tracking information or delivery information.”

He said Double Good focuses on measuring net promoter score, so it works on identifying reasons customers might not have a great experience. It then tests to figure out if email can solve the problem. Email will not have as high of an open rate as text, German said. That’s because text messages are more personal than email for a lot of customers, so they are more likely to open them. He said some communication is so important that if customers are going to see it and that will lead to a positive NPS score, Double Good will prioritize texting. The customer experience ultimately drives the communication method, he said.

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How Double Good approaches post-purchase communication

“Maximizing personalization and being able to send the right message at the right time is really valuable for us. For a time, we were limited when we could send, for example, a delivery survey to a customer,” German said. “We didn’t know when the order arrived at their doorstep. Now we do, so we can send it.”

Delivery status, which parcelLab helps provide, is valuable to Double Good. Once it gets a package-delivery confirmation, it changes how it communicates to better engage its customers. Emotions run high even after a purchase, parcelLab found. 63% of U.S. consumers it surveyed reported feeling deeply invested in the post-purchase journey. That includes shipping, delivery and returns. Of the consumers who stated they have strong emotional responses to online shopping, 38% were for food and drink. That was second to 47% for clothing/apparel purchases.

“Our customers are very patient because they understand they’re doing this for a fundraiser,” German said. “The popcorn is not sitting on shelves. It’s coming freshly made just for them. They can be patient, but the key is matching those expectations and being consistent. When that doesn’t happen, who cares if they have to wait three days or two weeks? They want to know the package is going to arrive when we told them it’s going to arrive, or they’ll be informed with a notification.”

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He said Double Good tries not to dilute that information with marketing. Although it’s a common practice to cross-promote in confirmation emails, Double Good stays true to the nature of transactional emails. That’s what it found is more helpful from a user experience, German said. 

“If buyers aren’t getting that great experience, that’s going to affect the pride an organizer — let’s say it’s a football coach — is going to get,” German said.

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