Last updated on October 17, 2023

Roshelle Savdie
Associate Product Marketing Manager @ Yotpo
March 23rd, 2022 | 7 minutes read

Foria Wellness uses Yotpo Loyalty & Referrals to work around digital advertising restrictions on CBD while boosting CLTV and retention.

Table Of Contents

For CBD brands, restrictions around digital advertising can create challenges with customer acquisition and building brand awareness. And, when you’re a CBD brand that focuses on sexual wellness, it’s even harder to get your message out there. Amanda Couture, Sr. Director of eCommerce & Retention at CBD brand Foria Wellness, knows these challenges all too well. But, she found a solution: Points for Pleasure, the brand’s loyalty and referrals program. Below, Amanda offers her insights and advice for any brand that wants to use loyalty to help boost awareness and retention. The following is a transcription of a live Q&A that originally took place at Grow LA.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a Virginia native who spent a handful of years kick-starting my career in New York primarily in the beauty industry. Up until a month ago, I was a resident of Santa Monica, but I have now fully embraced the digital nomad life and after this weekend will be spending a few months in Mexico. I’m very lucky Foria supports the fully remote work life.

2. What is Foria’s story?

Foria Wellness has been around since 2014 when our founder Mathew had the idea of mixing coconut oil with THC to act as a lubricant in the bedroom. Over time we have evolved into a sexual wellness company with the primary goal of bringing pleasure into everyone’s lives, through our effective CBD sex products, to the educational content that we release, to the platform that we’ve established to allow people to share their stories and experiences. Some of the products we sell include CBD arousal oils to help with women’s libido and access to orgasm, CBD lubricant, CBD suppositories that help with penetration and discomfort. It’s a unique company because we live at the crossroads of two very nascent industries: CBD and sex.

3. What are some recent trends in your industry?

The biggest and most exciting trend is this sexual revolution that’s happening, specifically women’s sexual health and the female’s access to pleasure. This is a topic that historically has never really been addressed, and I believe one that has come out of the larger movement around women’s equality. More and more thought leaders, brands, publications are starting to address the way society thinks about and experiences sex.

One example I can give you is endometriosis, which affects 10 to 20% of women. Endo pain can cause daily discomfort, incredibly painful periods, and can make penetration during sex impossible. I bet very few people were aware of that, which is why it’s so important for Foria and for the other sexual-health brands to not only create products that help women and people with vulvas access sexual pleasure and ease their discomfort but also to educate people around these incredibly important topics. Everyone wants and deserves to have better sex.

4. Acquisition has always been a challenge for the CBD industry and other “ad restricted” industries. Can you share how your brand has approached balancing acquisition and retention strategies, knowing that you are unable to leverage traditional acquisition channels?

Being in the CBD and sex spaces, acquiring customers is an incredible challenge for us. Three of the main acquisition channels that D2C brands leverage: paid search through Google, paid social, and organic social through Facebook and Instagram are all limited for us. Retention becomes a challenge because a lot of software companies such as Afterpay, SMS providers, even Shopify Payments won’t do business with us. We’ve really heavied up our investments on more long-form content strategies such as our blog, podcasts, and email where we can speak freely and openly about sex. And, we lean heavily into the programs such as our loyalty program with Yotpo to retain our customers.

5. Being that you are in the intimacy space, there is a natural tendency for consumers to want to be anonymous when shopping. How has that impacted your loyalty program, which requires customers to sign up and log in, and how did you build a loyalty strategy to overcome those challenges?

What’s so interesting that we’ve found is that even if people are choosing to be anonymous, such as when leaving a review, they are still willing to share very personal, intimate accounts of their experiences with our products. They’re also willing to share their age, gender/sexual orientation, and why they came to us. This has helped our loyalty and retention strategy tremendously because we’re able to tailor our messaging to the appropriate audience. Going back to the endometriosis example, say a woman between 25 and 34 stated that she tried our suppositories because she had extreme pelvic pain. We’re then able to target her with a post-purchase email driving her to a few of our blogs about endometriosis.

6. With the recent shift in focus from acquisition to retention, how has Foria been able to engage customers and keep them coming back to your site? How have you been able to drive people to buy direct versus retail?

I mentioned that our blog and educational content is a huge part of our marketing strategy which makes up about 20% of our traffic to the site. Having an incredibly solid email program is crucial for us. Ours not only integrates our blog content but also states our value prop such as free shipping and returns, integrates the many CRM programs we have such as referral, and rewards our high-value customers and loyalty members.

As for balancing out D2C sales versus retail, we’ve been a D2C brand since birth. But, as our wholesale team works to make our products accessible across other retail partners, it’s extremely important for me to ensure that we protect our flagship site and give them a reason to shop directly with us. A few things we’ve activated are Beam, a plug-in technology that allows Foria to donate 1% of all sales to the customer’s non-profit of choice. Another program we’ve activated is our rewards program through Yotpo, in which we’ve seen firsthand how the LTV of our active rewards customer is higher than our repeat customer who’s not engaged with the program. The way I view it is to use your retailer partners as discovery platforms, and your flagship as your primary sales channel.

7. How do you think about loyalty, and how does it fits into your strategy as a brand?

I really think about loyalty as your consumers’ love for both your brand and your product. Without a killer product, no rewards program or CRM initiative is going to keep your customer coming back to repurchase. So every single touchpoint that you have with the customer should be considered when trying to strengthen the relationship with your customers. For us at Foria, loyalty is a fun topic because we’re constantly analyzing how consumers are using our products. We’re essentially trying to change their behavior to have more sex, more often. Because the more sex they’re having, the more often they’re coming back to purchase our products.

8. Let’s talk about the importance of loyalty for Foria. Clearly, trust is very important in your industry. Can you share some tactics on how loyalty plays a role in driving customer advocacy (e.g. people writing reviews, referring friends)?

Our consumer’s trust is the most important thing to us. Because we’re essentially creating this CBD and sex category, it’s really important for us to provide a platform for consumers to ask their questions and feel comfortable purchasing from us. Customer advocacy is huge for us, because we’re legally limited as to what we can/can’t say about our products. We have to let our customer testimonials speak for our product efficacy. Also, if you just had the best sex of your life perhaps you wouldn’t leave a public review but wouldn’t you immediately go tell your best friend about it? Around 12% of our customers hear about us through a referral, so leaning into our referral program with Yotpo and integrating it into our customer post-purchase journey is crucial to continue to grow our customer base. And, with the high costs of acquiring customers these days having a low-cost referral program is a no-brainer for us.