Graze's Secret to Success? Creating Emotional Customer Engagement as a Foundation for Brand Advocacy

The Head of UK Online at Graze discusses innovative customer acquisition initiatives and key steps to retaining customer loyalty.

Noel Eves is the Head of UK Online at and brings over ten years of experience in retail, ecommerce, marketing and strategy.

Before joining graze he worked in the supermarket sector in a variety of roles that included brand management, campaign management, customer insight and commercial buying. He began his career in consultancy at PwC.

In this interview for CX Network, he discusses the subscription company’s customer acquisition strategy and what the key is to not only growing the customer bases but then turning them into true brand loyalists.

Hi Noel, thanks for joining me today. First of all can you tell me what your role as Head of UK Online at Graze entails and what your involvement is with the company’s wider customer experience strategy?

I’m the business owner for Graze’s UK online business, which is one of our three major business units along with UK retail and the US business. My role is to coordinate and prioritise all of the elements that need to come together to drive our revenue and profit performance across acquisition, retention, product and proposition.

Obviously this means that customer experience is a major focus for me but we tend to run it as a very collaborative process across our Retention, Strategy, Marketing and Tech teams. In fact we recently went even wider than this and invited the whole company to submit ideas on new ideas to retain and reward our customers.

In your previous role at Graze you had a particular responsibility for customer acquisition, what was the most successful initiative you worked on during this time?

The biggest success we’ve had within acquisition over the course of the past year has been the extension of our proposition into new demographic groups through the development of productised concepts.

For example our protein box, which only features snacks with a high protein content, has been our most successful product ever with men. We’ve also seen similar high traction with our kid’s box amongst young families.

We’ve been able to run these campaigns successfully through online and offline channels and the exciting part has been the way in which we’ve been able to widen our targeting strategy to include groups we haven’t been talking to previously.

What are the biggest challenges you’re currently facing with regards to customer loyalty and retention? What key steps are you taking to overcome these challenges?

I think the key challenge we probably face is at the early stage of the experience where we need to educate new customers how to get the most out of Graze by letting us know their preferences and rating their snacks.

We’re constantly working on ways to make this simpler but we’ll continue to challenge ourselves to go further. Email journeys are an important part of this education process, but we need to keep these concise and relevant to their needs.

More broadly I think there’s a challenge created by the number of subscription propositions in the marketplace. I think most customers will naturally look to limit the number of these they’re committed to any point in time so we’ve got to make sure that they’re continuing to have a good experience with Graze and retain a strong emotional connection with the brand.

Gaining and retaining a loyal customer base is one thing, but how do you turn loyalists into true brand advocates?

In the early days of the Graze business we relied on our most engaged customers to act as brand advocates. In fact since launch we’ve seen over a million customers in the UK trial the product through our ‘refer a friend’ scheme so I’d say we’ve managed to do this pretty well!

Ultimately this success comes from getting all elements of the customer proposition right and giving them the means to share this positive experience with others. We saw a similarly great response from our customers when we launched in retail with many of them sharing their excitement on social media at the prospect of being able to buy graze punnets in shops for the first time.

However, we definitely can’t afford to rest on our laurels in this respect and we’ll continue to try and improve all aspects of the proposition as expectations will naturally increase over time.