Riff Raff & Co is an Australian company that specializes in soft, comforter-style sleeping dolls for babies and toddlers. Their vision is to provide better sleep to babies, and as importantly their parents all around the world.
Founded in May 2016, Riff Raff & Co is currently a million-dollar company with more than 50,000 happy parents (and babies!) who adore their products.
Let’s take a look at what Riff Raff & Co did to build up their customer base and increase sales:
1. Riff Raff & Co was created to solve existing problems with baby sleeping aids.
A toy that would serve both babies and parents
Sometime in 2015, founder Emma Kruger was in Bali and felt really frustrated having to constantly carry multiple toys with different uses for her two children. Each of them had three toys each – one for sleeping, one as a comforter and one for playing. They took up a lot of luggage space and were difficult to wash too.
So she decided to create her own perfect doll to check all those boxes: travel-friendly, washable and effective in helping her children sleep. What started out as a ‘mad’ venture (her words) turned out to be a successful journey into entrepreneurship and plenty of peaceful hours of sleep for mother and babies: Riff Raff & Co sleeping aids/comforters/soft toys.
All Riff Raff & Co dolls come with two types of audio – white noise and a lullaby to help the child sleep easier, is comfortable to hug and easy to wash.
While baby toys with audio lullabies aren’t revolutionary, Riff Raff & Co’s strengths have made it a top choice amongst parents.
An edge over their competition
One of their closest competitors is Lulla Doll, created by Icelandic startup RoRo Care that was launched 5 years before them. They were said to be extremely effective in lulling a child to sleep and every parent wanted one.
However, they launched with a very limited quantity of 5,000 which couldn’t satisfy sleep-deprived parents worldwide. A bidding war ensued, which saw prices reach a whopping $350 on eBay, more than five times their retail price of US$71.
Riff Raff & Co’s retail price of AUD $65 (about US$46) is considerably more affordable that Lulla Doll, which is a big deal for parents who often find themselves having to spend on a million other purchases for baby care.
Riff Raff & Co also has more designs available, allowing for more returning purchase options and are great gift ideas.
2. Riff Raff & Co celebrates proud parents worldwide by sharing photos of their babies with their dolls on social media.
The community of parents, mothers, in particular, is an extremely close-knit one. There are many opportunities for mothers to interact with each other. Activities like prenatal yoga, meditation sessions, postnatal fitness classes and common shopping spots like supermarkets and the maternity department.
The process of motherhood can be scary, so mothers bond really easily through a commonality of suffering and empathy. They are also very much more likely to take advice from another mother on what has worked for them.
There are also many social media groups for mothers where they share tips on parenthood. They also recommend products or services that was effective for them. In a community such as this, social proof is extremely influential and word-of-mouth recommendations are the most effective.
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Opening messages like this on the hour just makes what we do sooo rewarding. Thank YOU all for being amazing enough to take the time and share your experiences. I honestly smile ear to ear ALL day long x Review from @ajemslife . Hey, I just wanted to say a big thank you for creating such an awesome comforter!!! I honestly didn’t think it would work because we had tried everything. I bought raffy on a whim and thought I’ll try it. We played the lullaby music on the 40 minute setting consistently each time we popped her down for a nap or sleep since she was 8 months old. Fast forward Lola is 13 months old now and she goes and gets Raffy to tell us she’s ‘sleepy’! AMAZING! WE LOVE Raffy
On Facebook and Instagram, Riff Raff & Co repost photos of babies sleeping peacefully with Riff Raff & Co dolls beside them. They celebrate Riff Raff & Co customers who are so much happier now that their child is sleeping better and show potential customers that their product can do the same for their own children. A quick Google for Riff Raff & Co reviews show many happy parents from all over the world posting happy pictures and positive endorsements – you couldn’t pay for testimonials like that!
3. Riff Raff & Co’s referral program encourages mums to recommend a product that works to other mums around them.
Emma understood how closely-knit the motherhood community was and that referral marketing was important for growing her brand.
With much of our target market being mums, and me being a mum myself, I knew that the best people to promote our product were other mums – they are the ones they really trust.” – Emma Kruger | founder of Riff Raff & Co
Riff Raff & Co’s referral program rewards customers who share the brand with their friends with one free toy for every five referrals. This gives mums an incentive to share more with fellow mums.
And it has worked, according to an article by Kidspot that interviewed some mothers in Facebook groups:
“A lot of mums in my mum’s group are raving about the Riff Raff baby sleeping toy at the moment”
“It’s just one post after the other right now and they swear by how well it works for their bubs.” – A Facebook group administrator
We know that customers trust peer recommendations the most, which makes referral marketing more effective for this demographic than the company’s own marketing efforts. After all, we would rather trust what our peers say over a company advertisement which has their own interests in mind.
Another interesting note that Riff Raff & Co has done with their referral program is that they only reward customers after making five successful referrals. Thus, customers will keep on referring and spreading the word through their networks for a longer time. This is definitely achievable for most mums and works great in Riff Raff & Co’s favor. This is a great example of a customised referral incentive, that offers parents a unique experience.
4. Riff Raff & Co achieves up to 35% of sales through referrals by asking customers to refer at the perfect moment.
Timing referral emails can be both an art and a science. It depends largely on what you are offering and who your target customers are.
For Riff Raff & Co, they understand the psychology of their customers and have been able to coincide the sending of their emails with the highs of the customer journey, to maximise their value they get from email marketing.
Rather than emailing customers to refer after they have received a product, Riff Raff & Co sends emails right after they have purchased, when the brand connection is the strongest. Since the brand is top-of-mind at this moment, they are more likely to tell their friends about what they just ordered.
Emails are sent when the product is shipped (anticipation is high) and also a few weeks after receiving the product. That’s when customers are happy and convinced that the product is working for their children. They are encouraged to refer so they can earn another Riff Raff & Co doll for free as a backup or as gifts. Something parents will happily do.
Email customers when they are happiest or have the most anticipation. This maximizes the chances that customers will refer to their peers and minimize the likelihood of them forgetting.
What can we learn from Riff Raff & Co’s success?
- Understanding your target customers’ pain points and behavior – From their product design to their focus on word-of-mouth marketing, Riff Raff & Co comes from the same place as their customers and understands their pains and frustrations
- Utilize social media to boost word-of-mouth sharing – Social media is the best place to leverage the social proof theory. By showcasing happy and satisfied customers, you give them social currency, and also tell potential customers that they can be happy too if they buy your product.
- Use a referral program to increase our natural tendency to share – Every one of us shares good and bad experiences with our friends. With a referral program, we are more incentivized to share and purchase to help our friends.