Soda DTC Poppi makes use of TikTok to spice up gross sales with viral Shark Tank video

  • Poppi, a DTC soda brand, got a boost in business after its founder released a TikTok that went viral.
  • In the video, founder Allison Ellsworth shared how she won an investment for Poppi in Shark Tank.
  • The day after the post was published, Poppi’s sales increased 200% compared to an average day.
  • You can find more stories in Insider’s business section.

Thanks to TikTok, a direct-to-consumer soda company just had its second-biggest day of sales since its inception in 2016.

Poppi, a prebiotic soda brand promoting gut health, saw sales spike after the company posted a video on its TikTok account with founder and chief brand officer Allison Ellsworth on Jan. 28. In the Post, she shared why she started Poppi and secured a $ 400,000 investment in hit television show Shark Tank in 2018.

The video shows Ellsworth struggling with stomach pain and looking for a solution to alleviate the symptoms. Ellsworth eventually felt a change when she started drinking apple cider vinegar, but the off-putting taste inspired her to make a better tasting version of the healthier drink – which eventually became Poppi.

“I was real, telling my story about the hardship I faced and how I overcame it,” Ellsworth told Insider. “I think a lot of people can relate to it or find hope in it.”

As of February 19, the video has garnered more than 700,000 views and 81,000+ likes, making it the most popular video on the brand’s TikTok feed. The number of TikTok followers from Poppi has also increased from 800 to over 13,000 followers.

Ellsworth said she experimented with various posts on TikTok for months before finally landing a hit with her origin story. In the Post, Ellsworth shared how she featured her product on Shark Tank in 2018 when she was nine months pregnant.

“It’s the story of my American dream,” she said.

From viral success to increased sales

Poppi founder Allison Ellsworth

Poppi founder Allison Ellsworth


Poppi

In Poppi’s case, the success of social media quickly led to a surge in business volume. On January 29th, the day after the TikTok video was released, Poppi had its second-largest day of sales in its history, just behind last year’s Amazon Prime Day. Poppi started on Amazon in March 2020.

According to the company, sales of Poppi products increased 200% on January 29, compared to an average business day. The initial increase in sales for three consecutive days resulted in Poppi’s total sales increasing 140% from the average sales month in January and 81% from the previous month.

In general, a third of Poppi’s sales come from Amazon, the rest from partnerships with national retailers like Whole Foods and regional chains. The company declined to share certain sales figures.

Despite his strong presence in physical stores, Ellsworth referred to Poppi as a “Digital First Company”. In addition to TikTok, the brand implements unique social media strategies on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Clubhouse.

“Our job is to communicate authentically with our audiences using content and messages that are appropriate to the platform,” said Ellsworth.

How brands win on TikTok

Big brands like Chipotle and Walmart have been able to use TikTok to reach audiences through influencer partnerships and digital challenges. Meanwhile, smaller DTC companies such as the skin care brand Peace Out and the clothing brand Ivory Ella have had success with unexpectedly viral posts on the platform.

It took Ellsworth months of trial and error to hit gold on TikTok. Poppi was relatively new to the platform and jumping on current video trends didn’t bring any success. Ultimately, it was Ellsworth’s decision to be “authentic” and tell her original story unfiltered, which sparked Poppi’s success on the platform.

“Personally, I am obsessed with TikTok and I know this is the way forward,” Ellsworth said, adding that her TikTok success helped her understand the platform’s true potential. “It’s real and authentic. There’s no need to perfectly curate a campaign. It’s all about people connecting with people.”

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