Q&A: Brooklinen forges a path for comfort

Insider Intelligence spoke with Kate MacCabe, Brooklinen's vice president of Product, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand selling luxury bedding products. Brooklinen is a Brooklyn-based company founded by Vicki and Rich Fulop, who saw a gap in the market around luxury beddings products.

MacCabe leads Brooklinen’s digital product space and oversees a customer’s online experience. Prior to Brooklinen, MacCabe worked in digital product management at companies like Rothy’s and Ancestry.

Insider Intelligence: How does Brooklinen stand out with its ecommerce experience?

Kate MacCabe: We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. We want people to come to our website and intuit how they can navigate through our different product categories and then easily purchase when they're ready.

However, when it comes to bedding, being able to purchase all the different items that make a great bedding situation—sheets, pillow cases, duvet covers—in a bundled format helps the user get to their end result faster. That’s what makes us stand out—offering the product bundle builder and easing the process for the customer to choose bedding products.

II: How should retailers improve a customer’s online buying experience?

KM: Users have mental models that are established for ecommerce user journeys. Many ecommerce companies have a homepage, a PDP, which is a product detail page that leads to a cart experience, and the checkout flow.

Online purchasing is second nature for customers, so as a business, you need to pay attention to what's happening to the left and right of what you're doing. Then make a decision—do we lean into what the rest of the marketplace is doing? Or is there something about our business model unique enough that we should introduce an innovative ecommerce journey to purchase this product?

For example, we are testing our customization offerings, as we realized that we might have over-rotated on the customization. We allowed users to choose for every single product, size offering, and color option, which equates to a lot of clicks. Our data showed that a majority of customers, even though they're able to choose a custom color and size for each one, are all choosing the same color and size. So we are testing letting the customer create their bundle, and choose their size and color once. We want to create the best customized experience for those who want to mix and match products, while not overwhelming them with choices.

II: How does Brooklinen approach expanding its omnichannel offerings?

KM: We're not looking for just one growth strategy. Retail is a pillar of how we think we can reach more customers—both new customers who have never heard of the brand and those who want to try out the products and walk away with them. In addition, we're doing things like prioritizing our loyalty program for people who have purchased from us before.

Our loyalty program allows shoppers to build up points, donate those points to a humanitarian effort, or use them as a discount on their next purchase.

II: How did consumers’ relationships with the brand change in the past year?

KM: The biggest shift was in terms of interest. As everyone was forced into their homes, we saw that huge investment in items to make their home comfortable. Our customer base was looking at how to make living spaces safe and homey places to be, given we were spending so many more hours in the home.

With the world slowly reopening, we're seeing that trend hold in terms of the investment into making sure your home life is a place where you have everything you need to be comfortable. As a brand, we have a commitment to bring comfort to the world across all our product offerings.

II: What are some things you would want to see change within the ecommerce industry?

KM: Within ecommerce, the technology space is very crowded. There's a lot of great competition happening in terms of how to enable ecommerce businesses to be successful by providing things like third-party plugins, apps, and platforms to enhance the experience for the end customer.

I'm excited to see changes happen as we and other retailers adopt more technology partners like Shopify to provide the best digital experience for customers. There are lots of solutions to learn about and vet for our product offerings.