The Series B round for Witherspoon’s Draper James brand was led by San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures.
Coffee equipment retailer lets consumers take the lead.
Coffee and brewer manufacturer Keurig Inc. uses social media to encourage consumers to teach and learn from each other. Keurig uses Facebook, blogs and customer reviews and ratings as venues for consumer interaction.
“Some companies push content, but we see it the other way, which is to let consumers drive it,” David Manly, president of Keurig Inc. said this week at the 2010 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition. “We started a Facebook page six months ago, but there are very few company posts. When you remove yourself, consumers talk to each other.”
For example, a customer posed a question about using her own coffee in the company’s brewers and when the answers didn’t resolve the issue a Keurig employee stepped in and noted that coarsely ground coffee is best. “When you do answer questions and are honest in responding to these posts, they are happy,” Manly said.
He cautioned retailers not to look at social marketing as just a marketing tool. Instead it’s a way to share shoppers’ thoughts across a company, including with customer service and management personnel. “This really is where the customer is talking to you,” he said.
Keurig also supports and monitors blogs and will send brewers to bloggers who review coffee and brewers. Keurig is owned by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, which sells online and through catalogs.