Since it opened its first storefront in 1989, Popeye’s Supplements has helped Canadian consumers reach their health and fitness goals with its wide selection of targeted supplements, including multivitamins, collagen and mixed whey—but no spinach! The company boasts 140 locations across the country.
Popeye’s—like virtually every business out there—encountered new challenges in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. For one, they had to figure out how to keep their brick and mortar businesses running safely (stores remained open throughout lockdown because they sell essential goods), but it also had to adapt to take in an increasing number of online orders.
In Montreal, for instance, where Popeye’s 15-person team has been working between home and the office, the company has had to think on its feet for ways to provide the same degree of customer care online as it offers in store. A big part of the Popeye’s retail experience is speaking directly to highly knowledgeable and trained staff, who can help you find the ideal supplements for your health goals, so maintaining this level of attentiveness is a priority.
“We are a highly specialized product, so our consumer needs to be sold on our service and feel the value of what we bring to the table,” Philippe-Antoine Defoy, a franchise owner of Popeye’s in Quebec, explains.
“We have a lot of teams at the store level who interact with clients one-on-one, but as people began relying more on online shopping, we had to figure out how to replicate the in-store experience to ensure the same level of communication.”
Heyday replicates the in-store experience with online chat
This is where Heyday comes in. Our chatbot allowed Popeye’s to augment its online customer service offering, providing round-the-clock communication and improving customer response rates. “The integration with Facebook messenger is also key,” Defoy adds. “Before, people would send us messages and they would often go unanswered. With the bot, we can now provide instant responses and also manage expectations in regards to when they can speak to a human agent.”
To give a clearer picture of the scale of Popeye’s customer service, the company receives over 60 customer requests per day through its various channels (Facebook, Panier Bleu, Google's Business Messages). Heyday’s chat technology not only consolidates these incoming messages into a single inbox, it also handles a whopping 85% of the responses using FAQ and product automation.
Looking at Popeye’s extensive selection of supplements, it is unsurprising that most customer queries are about finding the right product.
Heyday’s AI-driven product search recommendation feature guides customers to the right product, taking into account their demographic and health goals. Overall, it has had a success rate of 60% in finding the right product for the customer, which has translated to over $500 in sales (in the first month of service alone!) without any human intervention. Another 20% of customer requests, related to FAQ, are automated by the chatbot, making things more manageable for the customer support team.
Maintaining a strong online presence
Popeye’s was quick to recognize that it needed to adapt to the COVID-19 reality, as customers that would have once shopped in person were opting for the online experience. Prior to the pandemic, the supplements specialist had largely focused on its in-store operations, but as soon as customer behaviour shifted, it started to beef up its online offering, supplementing its website with more features and products. And though the company has reported a bounce-back in store traffic since mid-June, it still plans to maintain a strong online presence.
“As a business, we were forced to adapt and switch to the changing habits of the customer,” Defoy says. “Whether the customer decides (or is forced) to shop online, we need to be able to follow their journey and meet them where and when they want. If they want to take the time to chat with our experts and team, then we need to be available to meet that demand.”
Like many retail enterprises of its size, Popeye’s doesn’t have extensive technical resources, so Shopify’s ecommerce platform played an important role in its online journey. Shopify’s user-friendly backend and various plugin options—like Heyday’s chatbot—allowed the Popeye’s team to scale its business and online footprint in a cinch.
THE STAT BOARD 💯
- Popeye’s Supplements receives over 60 customer requests a day from 59 Facebook pages, Panier Bleu and Google’s Business Messages. 20% of these requests received by Popeye’s are now answered with our FAQ automation tool.
- Heyday’s chatbot has a 60% success rate finding the right product for customers.
- Popeye’s has saved at least 50% in customer service costs with Heyday - allowing its team more time to focus on high-value projects.