“When you tell customers when they should expect their shipments, they’re pretty good at holding you accountable to that,” Snowden says. But the homegrown fulfillment solution BarkBox was using made it difficult to communicate with customers when delivery information changed, and nearly impossible to get timely feedback when something went wrong. In the event of a delay, the information might not reach the customer until it was too late, and worse still, the customer would oftentimes reach out to the carrier’s customer support to get help. “The carriers of course do everything they can, but we as a brand lost the control over that experience,” Snowden says.
The food-dispensing OurPets IQ Treat ball has been a favorite in our home for years and keeps our dog Pinky (pit mix, 60 pounds, 9 years) mentally and physically active as well as entertained for a half hour or more at a time. To get kibble or treats out, she has to roll the ball or pick it up in her mouth and throw it. We can easily adjust the opening of the interior compartment to dispense less readily if she’s up for the challenge (or go in the other direction if she’s not). She loves this toy so much, she prefers eating her meals from it rather than from her bowl. This ball is also one of the longest-lasting dog toys we’ve owned; it gets a beating but has stood up to more than four years of near-daily use.
Total price of items, if bought individually: $42 for "Sniffin Safari" box (Hangry Hangry Hippo, Chewfasa The Lion, Dynamo Beef Chew, Banana Bacon Safari Snacks, Trek Treats); and $53 for "Bark University" box (Lambda Treata Phi Treats, Spirit Stick Pork Chew, Rad Chad, Pup Noodles, Brewery Treats, Shar-Pei Highlicker). All prices sourced from BarkBox's website.
“If our social media team was run by marketers, you’d see a lot more photos of just the box and our products from that month,” said Bark’s marketing director Rachel Mansfield. “Our team of comedians finds ways to creatively produce silly videos that highlight our products in our own way. We’re coming up with the stories around our monthly themes six months in advance, and the people on our social teams are in the room brainstorming with the marketing team. That thread of humor is throughout everything.”
Because of the way people relate to their pets now (about 44 percent of millennials alone consider their pets as “starter children”), Bark is able to captivate two major audiences: dog owners and dog people. “Our audience is just people who love dogs,” said Stacie Grissom, head of content. “We start conversations about dogs and form relationships with people around dogs in general. And 85 percent of our content doesn’t even mention BarkBox specifically.”
We started this whole operation to serve the people who are just like us: nuts about dogs. We're "our dogs have more elaborate parties then we do" obsessed. We eat ramen noodles while our dogs dine on organic grass-fed beef. We are disappointed when our dogs don't follow us into the bathroom. Our families think it's cause for concern. But who cares about them? We're here for you and your dog. We've never met your dog, but we know we love them.