How to Scale Blueland 🧼
Blueland makes reusable and sustainable home cleaning products. Here's how they should scale their customer base.
Growth Case study: Blueland
Blueland makes reusable and sustainable home cleaning products designed to combat the enormous plastic waste and transportation emissions normally associated with the category.
Instead of shipping laundry soap and home cleaners in plastic bottles (which are often filled with 99% water), Blueland ships small packets that can be mixed with water at home. This allows customers to create eco-friendly equivalents of cleaning products we all already buy.
In February 2022, Blueland raised a $20 million round led by consumer brands-focused venture firm Prelude Growth Partners. It’s a certified B Corporation, is Climate Neutral Certified, and has already prevented a billion plastic bottles from going to landfills in the process.
Here’s how I think they should use that investment to scale their customer base.
Product & Positioning
Currently, Blueland’s positioning focuses on “The Future of Clean”. The impact one can have on their own carbon footprint and plastic waste is hidden deeper in the website, forcing users to dig to uncover the true benefits to switching to Blueland.
With some starter kits clocking in at over $100 USD, I think they could do a better job comparing Blueland products to their competition earlier in the customer journey. If the price is that much more than buying Tide or Palmolive, Blueland should focus more clearly on the negative impact incumbents have on the environment, and more clearly demonstrating the positive impact that buying Blueland can have - especially when aggregated together with all their other customers.
There’s lots of opportunity here for Blueland to create a community and movement around the brand as an easy way to join together with others to create a positive impact on the environment.
The product seems fantastic, but who is the customer? Blueland’s homepage doesn’t do a great job at focusing itself around the Ideal Customer Profile Blueland wants to sell to. This leads them into a common e-commerce trap - the copy is focused on the product and what it does, rather than on what it does for its customers. This exacerbates the risk that Blueland might be alienating users who visit the website.
Blueland would do well to connect their copy to the impact they make in their customer’s lives, rather than just focusing on their product’s features and specs.
When you start shopping on Blueland, you’re met with dozens of options. Even though they include product filters in the side bar and navigation, there’s over 22 products labelled “Starter Pack”. This could be streamlined to reduce friction and encourage first time purchases.
One way to do this would be to create a “Wizard” that asks users questions and provides them with a cart full of the products that meet their spec. SmileDirectClub does this with their at-home teeth-straightening product. Users click the “Am I a candidate?” button and answer questions that qualify them as leads, and provide relevant recommendations based on their answers.
It also seems like a subscription model could be an obvious add on to develop a B2B angle. I’m sure there are a lot of cleaning companies and restaurants who could use huge quantities of Blueland’s products if the economics were favourable and they could ensure they’d have the product when they need it.
Many other DTC companies like Dispatch Coffee offer these options to encourage high volume and corporate customers to jump on board.
Acquisition Channels & Strategy
Blueland is already buying keywords on Google Ads for terms like “Eco Friendly Laundry Detergent”, but there’s a problem - the whole first page is full of blog roundups and lists. It seems people prefer reading about eco friendly recommendations over hearing from companies themselves.
Blueland can take advantage of this. Since most of their competition is in-store CPG monoliths, Blueland should cultivate relationships with eco friendly influencers and bloggers. Once convinced of Blueland’s environmental bona-fides, they should pitch influencers with a generous affiliate partnership that pays out for every referred customer. Before long, Blueland will appear near the top of every listicle and video created about eco-friendly cleaning products.
While building this affiliate program, Blueland should also be planning to compete with them. Blueland has a fantastic PR story to tell, especially as international consciousness shifts toward sustainability. Pursuing this PR angle will continue building Blueland’s solid domain authority, which provides a strong foundation to build SEO into a strong acquisition channel.
The easiest way to do this is to start building a programmatic SEO campaign. Build hundreds of landing pages that optimize for search keywords highly correlated with purchase intent. Take the product and a modifier, and brainstorm all variants that have search intent. For example, take “Laundry Detergent” and come up with all relevant modifiers (”Eco Friendly”, “Zero Waste”, “Net Zero”) and give each combination it’s own landing page. Before long, Blueland will be capturing high intent search traffic.
Blueland is already leveraging quality social ads to demonstrate their product. But with their product’s economics, I doubt they’re very profitable.
One way to make them more profitable is two-fold would be to turn as many visitors into subscribers as possible, and convince as many of them as possible to buy.
To do this, Blueland should focus paid acquisition efforts on capturing emails as efficiently as possible, and building out a robust email promotion cadence.
One way to start this would be to send paid traffic to an email capture page where Blueland offers to send samples to users who give their address. The upfront cost will be higher, but offering free product is an easy way to cut down on cost per lead acquired dramatically.
Then, with those emails, begin running regular promotional events where particular pieces of Blueland’s inventory is on sale. Continue building the email database, while giving all those contacts consistent reminders to stock up.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Blueland is riding a cultural wave that’s yet to creast. By building strong foundations, it should be able to ride it as they scale. This means that they’re likely not in a position where they’re forced to blow their whole investment in paid social ads just to keep demand up.
Investing in influencers, SEO, and press will pay off for a long time, and keeping focus there will pay itself back handsomely.