Turning product sell-outs to your advantage with Aaron Spivak of Hush Blankets (episode 194)

This episode is part of our 2019 eCommerce MasterPlan Growth Series sponsored by Omnisend, the all-in-one marketing automation platform that empowers ecommerce marketers to boost sales with omnichannel tools.

Aaron Spivak is the co-founder of Hush Blankets. Specially weighted blankets to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. The website went live in January 2018 – and they’ve already achieved some crazy growth numbers, including completely selling out of stock 4 times already.

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About the Business

  • Located in Canada
  • Sells to Canada and United States
  • Product range is growing from their single offering to additional weights and sizes.
  • Platform: Shopify

Getting Started

Aaron likes to tell people that Hush is most likely the last blanket they’ll ever need. Based in Toronto, the company sells to Canadian and United States markets and has successfully captured the attention of a large and loyal audience.

Weighted blankets have traditionally been used to help calm down children with sensory disorders and until now, there hasn’t been a product for adults. The Hush blanket serves a wide range of purposes, including helping people sleep.

Putting a small amount of pressure all over the body reduces the stress hormone cortisol, relaxing the user and leading to better sleep. The idea for producing the Hush blanket was developed after Aaron’s business partner Leo volunteered at a camp for children with learning disabilities and sensory disorders.

The camp provided a room full of sensory products, including weighted blankets, where campers could go to relax if they became overstimulated. Leo loved the experience and wondered why there wasn’t a similar product offering for adults.

The Team

Hush is still a small team that regularly uses widgets to test their ideas. They don’t look for plugins that claim to convert, but rather look for solutions that align with the company’s overall goals.

The commitment to their product is what has helped make Hush such a popular brand. Aaron says the team stands behind their product and won’t waver if they go through a difficult patch. A lot of people stand behind product sales, but aren’t committed to their actual product.

Being passionate about Hush has translated to sales and brand loyalty, with many customers willing to wait for backorders.

Running out of Stock

The blanket has become so popular that the company has run out of stock on several occasions.

While it’s exciting to have such a popular product, the reality translates to a lot of stress.

Besides the logistic problems with customer satisfaction and cash flow, Aaron says that running out of product delivered a big blow to the company’s online visibility. They had been ranking number one across several platforms, but when they ran out of products most of those search engines simply deleted them.

Listen to learn how brand loyalty makes all the difference.

A new shipment of blankets can take 6-8 weeks, which is a long time to ask customers to wait, especially with competitors waiting in the wings.

Though they were hesitant at first, the team eventually took the leap to selling pre-orders which helped with cash flow and giving customers something to look forward to.

Spending time on their brand paid off when they went to a pre-order model because brand loyalty was already strong. They also never stopped their marketing pushes, even when they ran out of stock.

Pre-order Model

Similar to Kickstarter, Hush consistently communicates with people who have ordered a blanket. they engage regularly with these customers and get them excited for the moment when their blanket arrives.

Social media, email campaigns and even a countdown are all tactics the team takes to keep their customer hooked.

Listen to learn how pre-order can be a great business model.

Limiting Options

Cash flow limitations made the team decide to stick to a single color and offer the blanket in only 3 weights initially.

As of right now, the USA website reflects these limited options, but the Canadian site shows a much larger range of products.

Five different weights and two sizes make the product accessible to more people. Kids, couples and bigger people can now all benefit from using Hush weighted blankets.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

  • by Alex Avery

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Use Facebook Ads.
  • Get really specific, get rid of the shotgun method and you’ll see results

You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…

Tool Top Tip

  • Intercom. The integrated live chat makes communicating fast and easy.

Growth Top Tip

  • Get really good at Instagram, Facebook and understanding Google ads.

Interview Links

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