Digital Investment Helps Philz Coffee Thrive During Pandemic

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Guest:
Jacob Jaber
CEO
Philz Coffee
Host:
James Fratzke
Head of Client Success
Fratzke Media
Where to Listen:

REad Interview Transcript

Quick disclaimer: these transcripts are auto-generated. They are best used in addition to the Podcast audio not instead of. We cannot guarantee 100% accuracy.

James Fratzke: [00:00:05] Hi, I'm James Fratzke, and this is Back to Business: COVID-19, and you powered by Fratzke Media.

James Fratzke: [00:00:17] Hello everyone. and welcome to the podcast. I'm really excited because today I get to talk to Jacob Jaber, the Philz Coffee CEO. And it's no secret, if you know me personally, that I am a huge fan of Phil's coffee for a couple of different reasons that we'll get into in this podcast. But one of the big reasons is just like Fratzke Media, Philz is a family-owned and battle-tested company. And so we're going to walk through how Philz's ability to kind of digitize some of their processes through having an e-commerce store and a mobile app has allowed them to kind of sustain a nice amount of business going into this COVID-19 pandemic and how you, the listener, can take some of those key takeaways and implement them into your business. When we're thinking about what it looks like to get back to normal or this new normal, that none of us are quite sure what it's going to look like.

James Fratzke: [00:01:14] So without further ado, please enjoy my interview with Jacob Jaber.

James Fratzke: [00:01:18] All right. Well, everybody, I'm excited to have Jacob Jaber on the show today, the CEO of Philz Coffee. How the heck are you?

Jacob Jaber: [00:01:28] Doing well, all things considered, I appreciate it. How are you?

James Fratzke: [00:01:31] I'm doing pretty good again to your point, all things considered. I wanted to do a little bit of fan service right at the beginning because there is a likelihood that people that don't necessarily know me but know Philz Coffee are going to listen to this. And so I just want to kind of say at the beginning, I have here in front of me my Philz Coffee for today. I got the largest ecstatic, no cream medium honey, on a little bit of a diet. So that's how I like to Philz, you know, keep it kind of low on sugar and cream. But you know, how many cups of coffee Philz coffee have you had today, Jacob?

Jacob Jaber: [00:02:07] Today, three three so far. I'll probably have one more I had Tesora. I like that with honey and cream. I had the Jacob's, which is a darker one with honey and cream and then our cold brew which we just launched. If you like the ecstatic, I think you'll love the cold brew. I get it with a little bit of oat milk and sugar and it's only like 50, 60 calories. I don't get too much of either of them, but it's so good. So I'd recommend that.

James Fratzke: [00:02:33] Yeah, well, I will definitely have to try that. And then the last fan service thing I want to say, because if you're listening right now and you know that Philz is a family-owned business and you're the son of the man with the name on the side of the building, Philz, I have to know, how is Phil doing? Is everything OK?

Jacob Jaber: [00:02:50] Yeah, he's doing all right. He's at home staying safe. We talk almost every day and he's always thinking about the team, the customers, and he knows so many customers. So he just talks on the phone with them. Believe it or not, like they'll text them. They'll check on him because we're you know, we we started as baristas is in the business behind the bar. So it's, you know, making coffee for people is near and dear to our heart, bettering people's days, building a sense of community.

James Fratzke: [00:03:19] Right. Well, you know what? That's the interesting thing. I thought we could kind of start with this really cool case study because, again, being a Philz fan and kind of being able to see things firsthand, I've really been impressed by how the company has reacted. And keep in mind, if you're listening to this, you know, Philz has fifty nine plus locations, something like that on the East Coast, on the West Coast. You're in D.C. or in Boston. You're in Chicago. You're here in California, both north and south. So you kind of have this interesting perspective of handling this this crisis from a lot of different places. And so I'm just gonna go through a series of e-mails real quick that I got from the Philz team starting on March 15th. So March 15th, I get an e-mails letting me know that that all 59 locations are taking extra precautions. I loved that.

James Fratzke: [00:04:11] You know, you automatically started communicating with your customers and letting them know, hey, this is a safe place to be and this is how we're doing it.

James Fratzke: [00:04:18] Next day, March 16th. Another e-mail goes out. And this was right before the shelter in place orders here in California saying, hey, we're temporarily closing our locations, but free shipping online. So you have that e commerce portion of your business where you're able to ship coffee and do Philz at home. And so I really thought that was interesting from a business perspective. You think of a coffee shop, you think of brick and mortar because you have that online presence. You were able to pivot and puts more attention there. Really loved that. March 17th. Another e-mail goes out that we're temporarily closed. March twenty third. Another email about the free shipping. A good reminder. Loved that. March 24th. Warm up your Philz app we're testing a mobile only experience. And I think what I really appreciated about this was the idea that you guys had the app in place. And so you were able to quickly jump into this. This mobile first experience that you were testing it out. So let's pause there and then we'll go through the rest. Tell me a little bit about the decisions that had to be made to get to that point and just what that looked like behind the scenes.

Jacob Jaber: [00:05:33] Yeah, I'm super glad you have all those e-mails together.

James Fratzke: [00:05:38] They're n my inbox. I just went back and looked at them.

Jacob Jaber: [00:05:41] Yeah, there's one thing that's important during times of crisis and that's communication. And you want to over communicate. Sometimes it can get annoying, but it's better communicating a little bit more than a little bit less is better in this situation, especially for our team. But first and foremost, I mean, this is the first time anybody, as I think, has ever dealt with something like this. So I think immediately you just revert to your your values and surviving as a business. Right. Because if you, you know, going from one hundred percent of sales to almost zero. When we closed, it was not sustainable. So we we closed because we wanted to step back and think about, OK, well, we're in a crisis right now. And the safety of our customers and our team members are at risk. But if we don't reopen soon, we're going to be struggling in a big way. There might not be a place for people to come back to. So I wasn't going to let that happen. None of the leadership team would've let that happen. And we're a great business. I mean, February was one of our best months ever in history. So we've been doing excellent as a business and a company. So we step back. We evaluate it. OK, what is a safe way to Philz that, starting with our team? What can we do to create a safe environment for our team? And then what can we do to make a safe experience for our customers? And our mobile app was, we designed in-house custom a couple years back. And it's a great app, delightful app. It's very simple. It's user friendly. It's conversational. So it still feels like personal. The personal experience you have in store, you get to meet your barista, you see their name, you see their face on the cup it says Made with love by whoever the barista was. So it's personal, which is great. And it's been very successful. And then now it's almost it's a significant part of our business because we're just focusing on mobile because it supports a contactless experience. So I think every one of those communications, we're really about big decisions we've had to make along the way. Right. The first decision was making it safe. Still, the crisis was just creeping at that point. So things were getting getting bad. So we had to close. Plus a shelter in place orders took place, so we closed. That's another big decision. But how do we better people's days while we're closed? We have the website. So enjoy Philz at home. That was great. So we offer free shipping and then the next step was just reopening in a safe way. So we tested it worked. Obviously, we're not where we used to be just yet. But it worked. People were very happy. And then we've reopened all the stores. So, it's just been a process. And I think the truth is we're iterating along the way. The most important thing is to make sure we get through this crisis stronger and better. And to think about our core values and what's most important, and it's really about putting people first, putting the customer experience first. So every decision we've made. We've done it through the lens of our values, like for an example, you know, we have almost fifteen hundred team members. We've had to furlough quite a bit, almost a thousand. But we still paid for their health insurance while they're furloughed because we want to make sure they're supported. So we're bringing people back as businesses coming back. But it's it's a process and a journey we're meeting every day. We used to meet twice a day as a leadership team. Now we're meeting once a day is leadership team or Zoom. So we're just making rapid decisions based on what we're learning and what we're thinking. And we're not just playing defense in terms of protecting the business people. We're also playing offense and challenging ourselves to think about this crisis as an opportunity to get better. So the theme that we've put together for COVID, it is a bridge to a better Philz. A bridge to a better Philz.

James Fratzke: [00:09:49] Right, I love that.

James Fratzke: [00:09:52] And let me zoom past in my email exploration real quick and just kind of give away the punch line. Yeah. By April 15th, another e-mail comes out that says how to feel safe. And basically, that was your announcement that, hey, most of our stores are up and running with this mobile experience.

James Fratzke: [00:10:11] So from March 15 to April 15th, which was, you know, a period of 30 days, you were able to kind of see what was happening, make some important decisions, and then come back to market with something that was appropriate, safe. And it was something, frankly, that people were asking for. And you listened and you reacted in a way that that made a lot of sense. And again, it's not the same experience, but it's darn near close. And so I just want to kind of put a bow on that and say I was really impressed. But I really like what you said about using this crisis as an opportunity to bridge to a better Philz, which kind of brings me to the other thing that I wanted to touch on, which was how far ahead into the future are you and your leadership team looking and what are some of those strategies or tactics that you're thinking about on how to bridge the gap to that better Philz?

Jacob Jaber: [00:11:12] Yeah. So I think there's three pieces to it. First and foremost, safety is going to be really important, health and safety. I think people are going to be more hygiene oriented coming going through and coming out of COVID, you know, five or six years, maybe less will be.

Jacob Jaber: [00:11:31] I think we're going to be back to normal just the way we adapt. We'll be back to normal. I think the question is how long will it take? But I do think people are going to be more hygiene oriented. And it's really about building trust with your team and your customers. If a customer doesn't trust that you are doing everything you can to keep it safe. For them, it's gonna be hard to develop a relationship and build loyalty, so customers are really consumers are looking for brands that they can rely on, that they can trust. I think that's really important. They're also looking for brands that they want to support. So, doing the right thing, just doing the right thing is very important for your team, for customers, for your business. So, you know, I think that's important. So first is creating a safe experience that customers can trust and your team members can trust. That's what we're focused on. So we're we're we're working on. OK, well, if we did reopen our living rooms where people sit and gather, how would we do that? So we're starting to think about that right now. The next piece is really customer experience. So the mobile app has been successful pre COVID and now it's you know, it's almost all of our business. So it's and it's it's a great experience for the most part. But we'd have the mobile app was designed for a return customer who understands Philz. Right. If you've never been to Philz, I mean, even as we walk into a store and you never been to Philz, you're like, what is this?

James Fratzke: [00:13:12] Yeah, totally.

[00:13:14] So the mobile app is just, you know, you have the wayfinding challenge, but the menu is unique. You see it mojito. It's like, where's my latte? So how do we design the mobile experience so that we can onboard a new customer? Because there's a difference between being new to mobile and new to Philz. Being new to mobile is you recognize the menu and it's just a process of learning how to use the app. Being new to Philz is how do we teach people about the menus? So that's one thing we're thinking about is how do we make that mobile experience delightful for any use case? We're also adding messaging on the mobile app, you know, so people know how to safely wait, socially distancing themselves, and walking up to the pickup counter at the right time. We've added products, bags of beans before COVID bags and food were not on mobile. Now, you can get all products on mobile. So are a lot of people have been, you know, buying bags of beans for the house on mobile, which is great. And we're also just thinking about, you know, loyalty. What does loyalty mean? Membership. You know, what what would that look like for Philz? How do we improve the customer experience, then prove loyalty? So we're thinking about a lot of things as it relates to how do we create a delightful digital experiences, experience for our customers? Because I think people are going to be more digitally. People are going to just shop in a more digital way. I mean, right now, everybody's online. And I think that's just going to continue. So safety and digitization are two things. And then the third thing, which is really just about we are we're do we're working harder than ever with less people. So just being resourceful, resourceful. So we call it hashtag resourceful. So you in the early days, my dad and I were working behind the counter. You know, we didn't add a one 800 number to call. We didn't have a big bank account to rely on. We had to figure it out ourselves. And I think that COVID IS an opportunity for us to step back as an organization and think about the word resourceful and what it means. And really, it really means it's about being creative, thinking, and using good judgment, trying things out and, you know, just thinking about how you can solve problems without needing to call on a professional. Right. So just how do you be cost conscious and how do you be effective and efficient? Because we are doing more things with less people. So those are the three ingredients that I think support are kind of the legs of the stool of this bridge to to a better Philz. And those are all things we're focused on. So we're probably looking at it at six months at a time to a year at a time right now. Right.

James Fratzke: [00:16:09] Yeah. Well, I think that's a really responsible approach you're taking, and I really like that.

James Fratzke: [00:16:16] All right, I want to take a quick break and pass it over to our head of client strategy here at Fratzke Media, Lisa. Lisa, take it away.

Lisa Fratzke: [00:16:24] Thank you, James.

Lisa Fratzke: [00:16:25] I'm really excited to talk to this audience today because we've been talking to a lot of our clients at Fratzke Media and truly believe that now more than ever, it's important for mid-sized businesses to connect with their customers online. I think we've all seen that COVID-19 has had widespread impacts on companies, our employees and our economy. We fundamentally believe a Fratzke Media that the rebound will be digital. If you don't know where to start and you want to make digital your competitive edge, we can help. Visit Fratzkemedia.com to schedule your free consultation. Our digital marketing experts specialize in helping mid-sized businesses like you leapfrog the competition. We look forward to talking to you soon.

James Fratzke: [00:17:07] Thanks, Lisa. All right. Let's get back into it.

James Fratzke: [00:17:10] So when people look at Philz and if they know a little bit about the story, you guys are from the Bay Area.

James Fratzke: [00:17:16] So much of your upbringing. You haven't really been treated kind of like a coffee shop in typical ways, you got some VC funding. You you probably had an app in place sooner than most people would from just, you know, from the point of when you got started to when you launched something like that. It is a beautiful app, by the way. I will compliment you on that. I think some people might look. OK, well, they're like a tech company that just so happens to sell coffee. With that being said, though, to me, everything you just said, that this idea of digital first you guys happen to already have that mindset. There's so many companies out there today that wish they had that mindset. Six months ago, you said you were ready for. So I think that's it's really cool and really impressive. How much does you know, technology is one of your your second pillars. You're building that bridge or digitization, I guess. How much does digitalization really factor into the ongoing success of Philz Coffee, which. Because we think of a coffee shop, we think brick and mortar.

James Fratzke: [00:18:31] So much of the experiences in the store. But the digitization part, even at point of sale, you guys are collecting information, adding people into emails, being able to communicate in that way. I just shared very efficiently. How much of it plays into your guys success?

Jacob Jaber: [00:18:50] Yeah, you know, I think in my view, it's not about the technology or the digitization of Philz, it's really about the customer and how do we meet our customers, where they're at? How do we serve them best? So. We have a Philz app, but the app wasn't developed, so we can create an app. The app was developed to serve a needs state that customers have, which is convenience and predictability in their wait time. So it's about solving for the customer's needs. It's not about becoming a technology company or becoming more digital.

Jacob Jaber: [00:19:29] So we always orient ourselves around the customer first. It always starts with the customer. And then we work our way to solve that pain point or opportunity. So but I do think you know, if you're going in the way I think about it, like if you are going into COVID strong but without any digital presence, you're probably a lot weaker now. If you were, you know, if you were going in strong, but you have a digital presence, you're gonna be able to retain a good amount of your business and you're gonna be able to bounce back. I think. My view is that it's really important to serve your customers best and meet them where they're at. It all depends on the business you're in. So everybody kind of has to look at it on a business by business case. In general, though, the world has moved to mobile, right? I mean, it's a form factor that sleeps with us. So it's just making sure that you can give your customers the opportunity to engage with your brand and your product on whatever device they choose. I think that's important for general in general. I think it's critical now. And if you don't have it to your point, it's a weakness.

Jacob Jaber: [00:20:52] And I think that the world was already moving digital. COVID has just accelerated that. So it's kind of accelerated what has is already happening. So, that's kind of how I see it. It's about the customer, it's not about not about the device. About the customer.

James Fratzke: [00:21:14] I absolutely appreciate that response. And I think it makes a lot of sense. And time and time again, we've talked before. You see this on social media for Philz, as you see it in different interviews that you've done. There is a commitment to the values. And so, you know, I'd like that you came back to that's not necessarily about the digital. It's just about meeting the customer where they are and if their preferences to be able to order from their smartphone. And we want to be able to provide a service that makes sense. You know, right before this all kind of hit, you guys, it opened up kind of a mobile only location in San Francisco. And I don't know if had been open long enough to really kind of.

Jacob Jaber: [00:21:55] No, not really. Two days or one day.

James Fratzke: [00:22:00] So you really. I was gonna say. Tell me more about, you know, what you've learned. But with that being said, you know, you look at some some companies like Chick-fil-A, and other folks that in large metropolitan areas, they are saying, OK, how do we make mobile only locations where it's just the kitchen? All you can do is order and walk in or, you know, through delivery. Obviously, you're testing that out in San Francisco. You've only got a couple of days. But is that something you're looking to explore more in larger metropolitan areas? These mobile only experiences?

Jacob Jaber: [00:22:36] Yeah, I think it particularly for dense urban environments. You know a lot of the people working in financial district, central business, district type locations are on the go.

Jacob Jaber: [00:22:52] And real estates typically a little more expensive. And having a gathering place for Philz and a meeting place is super important to us because we want to bring people together. But it doesn't mean that every one of our locations in the financial district needs to look the same. So, again, it comes back to serving the customer best. But the mobile only store is really about how do we serve that community best? Who is on a who's needs stat is convenience and on the go?

Jacob Jaber: [00:23:29] And how do we do it in a more economically viable way, frankly? Like, how do we do it a more economically viable way? Because if you have imagine having 10 stores in the downtown area that are all sizable stores versus having five stores that are. Sizable. And then maybe five that are just mobile. If you can serve the same amount of customers with less square footage and costs and you're delighting people, I think that's a good thing. So that's what we're trying to do.

James Fratzke: [00:24:07] Yeah, absolutely. I kind of want to circle back to we talked about at the beginning this kind of idea of Philzing at home or how to Philz at home. Phillz at home, hashtag. Thank you.

Jacob Jaber: [00:24:19] I hope you have a bag of Philz do you have a bag of Philz at home?

James Fratzke: [00:24:22] Of course. Yeah. I do. I grab it. But no. No. Absolutely. Well I don't think I ever shared this with you. But just to get super personal for a second. My wife and I, our first date was at a Philz location in Huntington Beach. And then we had Philz at our wedding. So, you know, it's amazing. I'm up there on the scale. I'm sure there's more fanatic people than me. But, you know, I'm up there.

James Fratzke: [00:24:53] The idea feels at home. I like how you guys been telling that story on social media and through some of your digital channels. Can you tell me a little bit about how the marketing team or how folks came up with that? And what are some of those tactics or things that you're looking for to to be able to create some of that content because it wasn't necessarily in your plan before. But now it is. And it's it really shows off your brand in a nice way. What were some of the the ideas that went into some of that stuff?

Jacob Jaber: [00:25:25] Yeah, well, the team has done an amazing job. I think we've always had Philz at home, which really is just selling our bags of beans, whether ground or whole bean. We don't sell coffeemakers or grinders. We may put some on the website at some point, but we're not doing that. So Philz at home is really about bringing awareness that you can enjoy any one of your favorite blends at home. And it's about education, educating people way, different ways to prove Philz at home. That's really what it is. It's not like a new product. It's really about communication. It's about awareness. And it's about focus. Right. Because a lot of people are at home. So Philz at home makes a lot of sense. And it might not taste exactly like the store. Maybe that's a good thing. I'm not sure.

Jacob Jaber: [00:26:23] I mean, I don't I think we are a retail brand first. Like you experienced the Philz. If if you live far away and you never been to a Philz store and you order a bag of beans online, hopefully you enjoy it. It's going to be good if you get the right blend that comes to your taste. But you won't necessarily view Philz as very different, right?

Jacob Jaber: [00:26:48] Because the store experience is what is the real difference of how we how we make it, how you order. You know what the concept is. That's I think that's where you get the real difference. And it's hard to communicate that online.

Jacob Jaber: [00:27:09] If you've never been to a store. So.

Jacob Jaber: [00:27:14] I think where a lot of people who order online are people who have experienced and engaged with the brand to some extent. But that's the thing we're just thinking through, is how do we what more can we be doing to present Philz online where you don't have to store nearby in a way that tells that story?

Jacob Jaber: [00:27:38] So I guess that's something where we're thinking a lot of. Tell a friend. Right. Right. Everybody tells a friend, which is great. But, yeah, we're sticking through that because we do think it's important to continue focusing on this Philz at home experience.

James Fratzke: [00:27:53] If I might ask one last question, does I know where we're running short on time? And I want to come back to that idea of getting back to business. And I love what you said, our family rooms. I didn't know you referred to two to that common areas, family rooms. I love that. What does it look like to get back to business for you guys? What what does it look like to create an experience that still feels uniquely Philz, but also is starting to come along with the country reopening and different places, you know? How did how do you guys get back to that kind of dine in or walk in business that you had before the crisis?

Jacob Jaber: [00:28:35] Well, let's start with the long term view. And the long term view is that we're going to get back to normal. And maybe that is a better version of where we were before. OK. But I do think ordering from the barista then having that high touch personalization is super important. Having a gathering place where people can meet and socialize and relax is important. People want their dose of community. People want to be able to connect with others and just have a sense of belonging. So that's not going to change, I think. How do we continue to evolve this contactless experience will be a learning process. We will not we do not currently have all the answers. We have ideas. But I do think that there's a difference between, know, local cities and states. There's this physical reopening, which is when they get on TV and they say we're reopening. And then there's a psychological reopening. And I think those are different things, they don't necessarily go together because people can tell you that things are open back up, but there's still going to be people who are worried about getting back to normal life. So I do think it's going to be a slow process. So we'll need to see how that unfolds. But really, coming up with ways to create a safe living room for people is not that hard. It's just like less eating. You know, maybe it's table service, distant table service. So well I don't know. I don't have the specific answer about how we're going to do it. But right now, we like how we're doing it, which is mobile. And even if living rooms are, we're able to open them. We may just pilot three or four stores to try different things while we keep what we have because we know it works.

James Fratzke: [00:30:27] So, yeah, it certainly seems like you and your team have a willingness to test things and adjust. And that's a great approach. Right. Because you're not trying to just go all full speed all in all at once, which is, I think, a nearsighted tactic that a lot of people take. So I appreciate you kind of taking steps. With that being said, I will give you the final word before we wrap up today. Is there anything you'd like to say that you haven't said or anything you can share with the audience?

Jacob Jaber: [00:30:58] No, I think this has been great. I really appreciate the time and do you have any feedback for us? Anything we could be doing better?

James Fratzke: [00:31:07] Oh, that is such. You know what I was going to mention this, Jacob. Because literally every post that you make about an innovation or something that Philz done, you ask for feedback. And in the stores you have the iPads or the tablets or whatever they are that are asking for instant feedback on the app. You're asking for instant feedback. I love it. It's absolutely great. Do I have any feedback for you? None that I'm willing to share right now.

Jacob Jaber: [00:31:38] Do let me know.

James Fratzke: [00:31:40] But I'm I'm really appreciating what you guys are up to and and being open for the community. And I know people appreciate it. So I guess that's my only feedback is keep up the good work.

Jacob Jaber: [00:31:51] You keep up the great work too. Awesome connecting. Stay safe. OK. Alright.

James Fratzke: [00:31:55] Thanks, Jacob. All righty. That concludes my interview with Jacob Javor. I just want to thank him again for his time today. And I thought it was really telling at the end of our interview, he asked for feedback. And that is something that Philz Coffee is truly committed to, asking for feedback. Acting on it and getting better every day. So here's my feedback for Philz. Keep doing what you're doing. In fact, for people listening right now, for those mid-sized businesses that are thinking about how do we get back to business, I think what Philz is doing is actually a great blueprint that Fratzke Media. We believe that the rebound will be digital. That's why we're committed. At the end of each of these episodes, unpack what our guests shared and think about what are the digital marketing strategies that our listeners can take into their business from what our guest has been sharing. And so I think there's three great takeaways. And here they are. Number one, the best time to plant a tree was yesterday. The second best time to plant a tree is today. What am I talking about? Well, do you remember when Jacob said that because they invested in digital before the pandemic. Their business has actually been able to stay pretty strong going into the pandemic. He also made the point say if you weren't invested before the pandemic, you're probably in bad shape right now. Well, now is the perfect time to invest in digital and digital marketing to really bolster your performance going into this back to business phase. Going back to this new normal. So think about opportunities to start incorporating digital into your business. And that brings me to point number two, which is how Philz Coffee had this e-commerce experience already set up prior to COVID-19. So when we were all forced to stay at home and businesses were forced to close, they were able to pivot to Philz at home and give discounts and deals to sell coffee directly to the consumer. So I want you to think about one of the opportunities within your business to start moving some of those pieces online. What are the things you could be selling directly to the consumer through an e-commerce or some other digital channels? And the third thing I want to pull out was their ability to communicate to customers very quickly. Now, Jacob said that sometimes it might seem like overcommunication, but keep this in mind. Your customers want to know, are you open? What are your safety precautions? How can they do returns? How can I buy things from you? And so email marketing is a great way to communicate with your customers. Think about how are you collecting emails? Thinking. Think about how are you sending those emails? And think about what type of automations you can put in place so that your customers are constantly kept in the loop. That concludes our time today. Thank you for listening so much. I can't wait to see all of your faces again, hopefully really, really soon. But until next time I'm James Fratzke, thank you for listening to Back to Business.

James Fratzke: [00:35:05] Everyone, one last thing before he leaves. Make sure you go to whatever platform you're listening to the Back to Business podcast on and leave us a positive review. Every rating and review really helps us grow the show and make sure you share it with people in your professional network so we can help other people like you and your midsize business get back to business.

About the show:
Back To Business // COVID-19 & You

As the world recovers from COVID-19, we believe the rebound will be digital. In each episode of the Back to Business: COVID-19 & You Podcast, we interview leaders of mid-size businesses to define best practices and next steps companies should be taking to thrive in the new normal. If you are a mid-size business navigating COVID-19 setbacks, and don’t know where to start or need help defining your strategy, this podcast is for you.

About the host:
James Fratzke

James Fratzke is a Co-Founder and Head of Client Success at Fratzke Media. His passion for storytelling comes from his time at the Walt Disney Company where he and his team executed record-breaking media events. He has helped tell the stories of major brands like Dollar Tree, Advance Auto Parts, and Jelly Belly.

About our sponsor:
Infinity Bank

When you bank with Infinity Bank, you are not banking with a faceless corporation. You are banking with industry leaders who want to know you and your business well. They are here to serve and partner with you to help you achieve all of your financial goals and dreams. To learn more visit www.goinfinitybank.com or call (657) 223-1000 today.

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More Podcasts

At Fratzke Media, our paths cross with some amazing people. Learn more about their habits, insights and stories behind their success.

With coronavirus restrictions taking place throughout the country, Philz Coffee needed to adapt its business model, and find a way to serve customers safely. Fortunately, Philz was already ahead of the curve with their mobile app, e-commerce store and strong online presence. CEO, Jacob Jaber, emphasizes the importance of encouraging a mobile-first mindset and investing in digital technology. Jacob also shares how Philz will be working to safely create a sense of community in every store once restrictions are lifted. Learn all this and more in this episode of Back to Business: COVID-19 & You

Our Back to Business: COVID 19 & You Takeaways

#1: Invest in Digitization for Future Success

During our interview, Jacob mentioned that Philz has been investing in digital for years, and had a mobile app months before COVID-19. Because customers were accustomed to the app, it was a smoother transition to contactless ordering for both sides. This investment in digital has allowed Philz to succeed. There are a number of consumer trends that point to the importance of mid-size companies investing in digital today to ensure their future tomorrow. 

According to FierceWireless, the coronavirus pandemic has pushed mobile users to go contactless, and there’s been a spike in online ordering through mobile devices, apps to order food and groceries, and more. With customers becoming more reliant on mobile devices, businesses need to find a way to innovate to connect with customers online during and after COVID-19. If you haven’t already, now is the time for mid-size businesses to be thinking about how to incorporate digital into your business. 

#2: Pivot Your Business Towards E-Commerce or Other Digital Channels

Without in-person contact, businesses must find ways to continue to reach their customers. In March, Philz put the focus on e-commerce with their #philzathome campaign, and focused on selling beans through their website. At that time, their stores were closed, but the company was able to rely on their e-commerce store to serve its customers. What are some parts of your business you can move online to continue to meet customer needs?

BIGCOMMERCE shares that e-commerce sales have increased 25% since COVID-19, and customers are looking for contactless purchases. Now is the perfect opportunity to optimize your website, and set up your business for e-commerce. It’s a great way to invest in building your online presence to help your company gain customers.

#3: Leverage Email Marketing to Keep Your Customers in the Loop

Communicating with your customers and keeping them informed about store hours, safety measures, return policies, and more is important now more than ever. From the beginning, Philz has sent multiple emails to its customers, and Jacob even referred to it as “overcommunication.” Your customers have questions and concerns that only you have the answers to, and sending emails with any new policies and updates is crucial. Philz shared with customers safety measures they were taking, their mobile-only ordering system, modified store hours, and more. This constant contact keeps customers informed, and can help them feel safe when visiting your business.

Now is a great opportunity to think about your current email marketing strategies, and where there is room for improvement to ensure your customers are kept in the loop. Effective email marketing is a great way to build customer relationships, and improve your digital marketing. 

More about Jacob Jaber and Philz Coffee

Phil Jaber founded Philz Coffee 17 years ago in the Mission District in San Francisco after experimenting with coffee blends for 25 years. Now, Philz Coffee is run by his son, Jacob Jaber, and the company has grown to over 50 stores along the West Coast and East Coast. A NorCal staple, Philz strives to better peoples days one cup at a time.