DTC 39: 📦 Soda Brands: Website Analysis
May 21, 2023
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It’s here! Both the weekend and the much-anticipated third installment of our healthy sodas DTC Diagnostic. 

For this round we partnered with Oddit, who analyzed the website performance of our three contenders: Olipop, Ugly, and Poppi.

But that’s not all we have for ya! Read on for:

📦 Our dive into the DTC archive, uncovering community-building tactics from our conversation with Vessi’s Tony Yu. 

📦 Access to your free brand awareness survey, courtesy of Attest.

📦 Your reminder to sign up for our FREE DTC+ YouTube Workshop. 

➡️ If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss another

➡️ And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram. 

Healthy Sodas DTC Diagnostic: Part Three 

Welcome to part three of our four-part deep dive into the marketing strategies of DTC soda brands Olipop, Ugly, and Poppi.

If you haven’t read the first two parts, start by catching up with our Facebook Ads and Email analysis. 

For this section, we’ve partnered with Oddit to analyze each brand’s website. Oddit provides simple, to-the-point website audits for direct-to-consumer brands wanting to boost conversion and strengthen brand loyalty. 

The Oddit team has highlighted areas for improvement from each soda brand’s website and offered quick-win solutions they can apply ASAP.

HINT: Consider these changes for your site too, OR reach out to Oddit for their expert opinion!

Let’s jump in:

🥤 Olipop 

Hero Text 

Right off the bat, we noticed Olipop’s hero text needed an adjustment. The H1 heading to subheading ratio should be closer in size. H1 is 59, and the subheadline is 15, so roughly a 4:1 ratio.

To achieve higher readability, we’d suggest a 2:1 ratio or a size 24-30pt subheadline.


Homepage Images

While we’re big fans of the photo-gallery look and feel, the key interaction points are difficult to read. Adding higher-contrast buttons will help boost conversion

Further, it’s important to display images relevant to the action point. If you’re linking users to “Our Story,” display an image that relates (ex. the founders).


Product Info

When displaying products, be crystal clear with your information. Never make the consumer guess. In this example, we’re unsure of the flavor and quantity – two important details. 

The package on the left is especially confusing – is it a colored box? Variety pack? Or maybe a paint kit? 👩‍🎨 Each item should have product titles at the top and include quantities.

Product Listing Page

A second area to communicate key information is within “Quick Add.” 

The chances of someone adding a product to their cart without knowing the price are slim to none. Conversions will be extremely low until you communicate the information customers need.

Further, products only come in sets of 12, yet the package size looks like a clickable variant. This should be restyled so the package size is stated and does not look like an actionable item.



Consistency is key! Across these six icons, there are five different icon displays. 🥴

Pick ONE, and apply it to all.        

Product Detail Page

For all three of these brands, everything should be optimized for subscription sales. Change the default setting to subscriptions – the ideal conversion.  


🥤 Ugly 


The Ugly logo isn’t centered in the navigation. This seems like a small thing, but since the navigation sticks to the top of the site and scrolls with you, it makes the entire site look off-centered. 

While this most likely won’t have an effect on conversion, it’s an easy detail to fix. 


Mobile Navigation

When you’re holding a phone, you hold it on the left or right side which makes it easy to access the sides/corners of the device. 

Placing the menu in the middle makes for a difficult user experience.

Go the traditional route and situate your menu on the left or right side. 

For mobile, items like access to “Account” are lower priority and should be placed inside the mobile hamburger menu. This makes room for a “Shop” button. 

Product Listing Page

Key information that’s difficult to read makes for a poor user experience.  In this example, the only things we see are “Still,” “Sparkling,” and “Still Sparkling” – leaving out the size and type of product. Make sure your text colors are high contrast and easily visible. 

Be clear with product titles: “Still Sparkling” should read “Still & Sparkling.” It’s a small but important detail.  


The carousel selector has qualities similar to those of the example above – it’s difficult to read. Make these items higher contrast and closer together so it’s easy to see and navigate. 

Shopping Cart

If the cart is empty, give users somewhere to go! A link to featured products or even a simple “Shop Now” button works great. 😎


🥤 Poppi


The Poppi homepage highlights socials, reviews, and a “brag bar” of publication features. It’s a confusing and cluttered section where the value of each item gets lost.

Each of these elements should have its own dedicated section for clarity and intention. For starters, the brand should be listing their social channels in the footer.                   

Product Detail Page

While Poppi has a lot of unique elements on their website, incorporating more “status quo” features would benefit the website – especially their Product Detail Pages. 

The feedback:   

  • Currently, their mobile product pages don’t show the product description or price. Without a price, users will be wary of adding anything to the cart. There’s also a high chance they’ll get confused or frustrated and leave. 
  • Add a higher contrast “Add to Cart” button. The page has a lot of whitespace so the button hierarchy is still high, but as elements are added it’s likely to get lost.  
  • The brand has a number of strong reviews which should be shown off. Let the customer know Poppi is awesome!
  • It’s difficult to find the price. Boldly list the price so there’s no confusion for customers. 
  • Consider adding value props such as “low cal” or “low sugar.” Or they could add “Free Shipping over $50” which would help upsell for a higher average order value. 



Combining TikTok and Amazon in the same banner is disconnecting and confusing. Create a cohesive brand message to drive clicks and give a better impression of the brand. 😎

Newsletter CTA

The CTA to drive newsletter signups is pretty underwhelming. Crafting a simple value prop will drive sign-ups and transactions especially with clear messaging and a more engaging button CTA.

That’s all for this round of DTC Diagnostic. We’ll be finishing off the series next weekend with a product experience breakdown. 

If you liked what the Oddit team had to say and want personalized insights to enhance your brand’s website, you can start your own Oddit today to get one free quick win to improve your UX instantly.  

Aware of Awareness? 

If you’re not tracking brand awareness, then you’re flying blinder than a bat wearing a sleep mask. 

Top brands like Klarna and Wise use Attest to track brand awareness and measure the effectiveness of campaigns. Don’t believe us? We’ll pass the mic to Wise’s creative lead:

“Crucial to understanding the ROI of brand-building is being able to measure it. That’s where Attest comes in; they’ve allowed us to quantify our long-term brand efforts.” Straight from the brand horse’s mouth. 

Attest is offering DTC readers a free, three-question brand awareness survey to see how your brand stacks up against the competition. You’ll find out how recognizable your brand is with your target audience and if people would choose your brand over the competition.

Get aware of your brand awareness by claiming your free survey.

Slash Your Facebook Ads Customer Acquisition Cost 90% – Tips from Vessi Footwear’s Tony Yu

Vessi is a young and hungry footwear brand that offers a range of high-quality waterproof sneakers. If this weren’t enough, Vessi backs their quality up with action. At the outbreak of COVID-19, Vessi invested in community initiatives that 3x’d their growth from a 40% hit while providing major value to people in need. Crazy stuff.

Here are the key takeaways from our conversation with Tony. 

📦 Back up your stance with action

During the outbreak of COVID-19, Vessi knew that their waterproof shoes were popular with medical professionals. The team gave out 2000 pairs to front-line workers. Once this became unsustainable, they offered a discount model and facilitated PPE donations which included 400k masks. 

Tony says the initiative got almost no press coverage but instead was fueled by word-of-mouth through the communities they positively impacted. Vessi built huge brand loyalty through this.

📦 Get ready for a change in metrics

When they started offering free shoes, Vessi’s customer acquisition costs shot down 90%. Even after their inventory ran out, they ended up with an 80% drop from pre-COVID numbers, in addition to a 7x ROAS blended between prospecting and retargeting.

Bear in mind, these numbers were fueled by massive discounts and product-intensive offers, effectively leaving just enough on the bottom line for Vessi to keep the lights on. But there’s no way the brand awareness and goodwill cultivated by these efforts will be dimming any time soon.

📦 Prepare adaptable ads and copy

In both their copy and video content strategy, Vessi made sure their angle was resilient to the backlash-heavy climate of the internet. Tony remarked that the biggest time investment in launching their community relief program was generating resilient copy that could be responsive to both backlash and positive outlooks. Preparation is key.

📦 Think beyond conventional channels of social impact

While product and discounts are an obvious way to help, Vessi takes a wider view, investing in community relief. This includes inspiring murals on hospitals and grocery pickups for seniors. Their team’s commitment to community runs deep.

📦 Maybe it's time to think Kickstarter

Vessi launched their first Kickstarter in 2018, running just north of a million in crowdfunding and securing a 20k unit order. For Vessi, Kickstarter has been a great way to test product-market fit before sinking money into a company. Need proof? Vessi launched for 10k and is now a nine-figure company. Damn!

Beyond product quality, they attribute their success on Kickstarter to a couple of factors:

  • Understanding Kickstarter’s algorithm. The platform has 6.5 million repeat buyers internally, so if you can get a handle on the algorithm you’re in business. 
  • Tony also mentions the usefulness of Facebook Ads, which gave them a significant organic lift.

📦 Youtube integration is a betting game

While Instagram and Facebook are Vessi’s biggest ad locations, they’ve also been investing in paid sponsorships within YouTube programming.

Tony describes the ‘shotgun’ approach they take to finding winning integrations. They’ll divide their budget between 10 or so creators, get a consolidated CPM rate, find two or three winners within the batch who reach break-even or above, and then roll those winners into the next month. Vessi continues this process month after month to refine their selection of creators.

They’re also careful not to smother the creators’ knowledge of their viewership. While Vessi transmits key points that have worked for their customers, they’re not so rigid as to prevent the creator from translating the value to their own audience. Ultimately, conversion will dictate if a creator is right for the brand. 

📦 Don’t write off retail 

85% of commerce is still brick and mortar, and Vessi wants to make sure they’re soaking up that value. Pop-ups have been a key feature of their marketing, giving customers an opportunity to test the product and connect with the brand. 

While positioning in a major retailer could be great, it also runs the risk of turning Vessi into “another shoe on the shelf,” diminishing the distinctiveness they’ve worked so hard to cultivate.That means first nailing their online experience, and then tailoring any physical pop-ups  to enhance this online presence. 

To hear more about Vessi’s growth strategy, the perks of owning your own factory, and Tony’s views on the future of giveback after COVID, tune into the podcast here.

Look over the shoulder of expert practitioners as they give you the step-by-step playbooks they used to create crazy-profitable YouTube campaigns – LIVE on Zoom for FREE!

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✍️ AI-powered copywriting tool Copy.ai raises $2.9M in an investment round led by Craft Ventures. 

🗄 Google to invest $7B to expand footprint in US offices and data centers.

👻 Snapchat acquires Fit Analytics, a Berlin-based firm that helps online shoppers find clothes that fit. 

💻 Two months after filing to go public, Squarespace raises $300M. 

📦 Performance marketing agency Tinuiti acquires Amazon specialty shop Ortega Group.

💰 “Headless” eCommerce platform Saleor scores $2.5M seed round. 

♻️ Grocery order automation engine aimed at waste reduction, Shelf Engine, announces $41M funding round.

📈 Robinhood competitor Invstr raises $20M.

🪴 Cannabis tech platform Dutchie acquires software companies Greenbits and LeafLogix to streamline eCommerce for dispensaries.

🥤 Lebron James trades Coke for Pepsi after a 17-year partnership. 

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