Blink is a premium cat food brand for discerning cat owners who care deeply about the quality of ingredients and their cat's health. The brand understands that cats are more than pets; they are part of the family. And with Supermarkets packed full of "fast food" for cats, Blink's premium cat food provides a high quality, high meat content alternative.
With Blink's highly customisable cat food subscription, cat lovers can create a subscription that perfectly matches their needs (and their cats' tastes!) with just a few clicks.
The Blink team were looking for a technology partner to bring their concept for a unique subscription platform to life. They had a strong vision and had collected solid market research about how cat owners wanted to buy cat food.
Making healthy the easy option
To match their brand, the subscription offering needed to be an easy, flexible and reliable way for cat lovers to feed their cats tailored, healthy meals they love. But with complex cat palates, there were some interesting challenges to overcome.
They approached Pixie Labs for help as our previous experience building complex subscription platforms meant that we had a deep understanding of the challenges involved. Their research indicated that their target market had specific requirements around how they needed and wanted to buy cat food, which, if responded to correctly, could give them an edge over their competition.
The Blink team needed to be able to configure bundle compositions and pricing whilst allowing individual customers to create and subscribe to bespoke bundles by adding different products within that defined bundle composition. They also needed to provide their customers with a simple way to update their bundles between deliveries to please changing cat palates.
In addition to the customer-facing side of the subscription platform, Blink also required a warehouse fulfilment system built around their unique bundle configuration requirements. This system had to ensure packing and shipping could be done efficiently at the time of launch (with their small team) and as they scaled the business.
We kicked off the discovery process by combining Blink’s in-depth market research with a deep dive into their vision, requirements and challenges. Following this, we worked with the founding team to flesh out all the requirements (for both customers and warehouse staff), validate any assumptions and prioritise tasks based on value for their customers and their business. This helped us build a deep understanding of what it would take for a successful launch.
We then moved on to a vendor selection and solution architecture process to help us determine which technology options would best suit the platform's and customers' needs. We compiled a comprehensive list of e-commerce solutions, ranging from off-the-shelf vendor options to fully bespoke solutions. To be thorough, we also researched what services other subscription businesses (such as Tails, Huel or Hello Fresh) used, if any.
Using a feature-feasibility matrix, we evaluated each vendor against the requirements we had identified. Our methodology for this assessment type is scoring suitability (e.g. ‘how close is the vendor aligned to that requirement) and ease of implementation (e.g. how easy is it to satisfy this requirement if we use this vendor?’) based on each requirement.
We also consider other factors, including which tools are currently best in class, the general direction of innovation in this space and our skill set, to ensure we can move at speed to create the best possible solution.
Working with Blink, we used this information to make practical trade-offs and create a plan for bringing their vision to life. The final recommended solution comprised a headless e-commerce solution (Elastic Path), a bespoke customer frontend, a bespoke warehouse fulfilment system and tailored product analytics.
To conclude the discovery process, we created a product development roadmap which included development milestones and an estimated, prioritised product backlog.
“Out of everyone we spoke to, Pixie Labs had the best understanding of the brief, the most questions for us and were not afraid to challenge us. It was obvious that they were focused on delivering outcomes that were the best fit for our customers and us, not just pushing us into an out-of-the-box solution they already had on hand.” - Ben Ford, Founder & GM @ Blink
Build & launch
We built the first release of the subscription platform in 15 weeks. Using an Agile approach, we worked closely with the Blink team in short iterations of two weeks to build, test and deploy the software.
Our first milestone was a subscription platform with just enough features to test the end-to-end customer journey with a closed group of beta users. The early feedback we gathered from this early milestone enabled us to make improvements before the public launch and launch a much more polished and refined platform.
Elastic Path was a fairly nascent service at the time of the initial build, and we were leading the charge with building a complex bundle subscription offering using their platform. We solved some novel challenges as we were breaking new ground. And as a result, we worked closely with Elastic Path to help shape their roadmap for subscription platform customers and improve their platform for future customers and us.
The Outcome & Results
Blink’s subscription platform was a hit with customers from day one. It gives them peace of mind that their feline family members will get a tailored, healthy meal plan that they love. The platform lets customers personalise the contents of the subscription to match their cat's food preferences, boosting both retention and customer loyalty. No wonder they have an average TrustPilot score of 4.8 and a long list of fans (both of the human and feline variety).
“Blink is a great company. The food is very high quality, and having the ability to change the mix of food in the box means nothing is wasted (although my cat actually enjoys every flavour of Blink). The app is completely user-friendly and intuitive, so it’s easy to get what you need when you need it and delay the delivery if you have too much. ” - Blink customer
The bespoke warehouse fulfilment system built around Blink’s processes keeps the operational team lean without sacrificing excellent customer support. It also means it can (and has) evolved with them as they’ve scaled the business, working with them every step of the way to maintain and improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. This system has allowed Blink to ship hundreds of thousands of orders to tens of thousands of happy customers.
“The initial platform that Pixie Built allowed us to test and scale the brand rapidly and successfully. We’ve since gone on to become the fastest growing cat food brand in the UK. With Pixie Labs as our partner, we are confident that we can continue to grow sustainably and continue to delight our customers and their feline friends.” - Damian Koblintz, Head of Growth @ Blink.