To: David Yeom, co-founder and CEO of Hollar

Dear David,

Since Hollar began three years ago, you’ve managed to bring the joys of the dollar store online by providing a way for value-conscious shoppers to experience the treasure hunt—with the added convenience of direct shipping. In doing so, Hollar appeals to the typical—yet underserved—American shopper.

When shoppers surf the Hollar site or app today, they can choose from thousands of products, filling up their carts with items from beauty to snacks, party supplies to toiletries, at an average of $2 to $5 dollars per SKU.

As a mass market retailer, Hollar will have to find new ways to serve both general and more niche needs in order to acquire new customers and foment loyalty with existing ones. Though your brand already provides a unique experience for shoppers, figuring out how to build an emotional connection with these customers will serve the brand well in the long term.

Here’s one idea about how to do it.

Launch Giftery Boxes.

What if Hollar took the impulse buy concept even further and turned it into a gifting mechanism, combined with the idea of the mystery box? Giftery Boxes would allow shoppers to choose from a curated selection of products to send to a friend or family member as a gift: the son or daughter in college, the friend who just had a baby or the aunt who’s birthday is around the corner.

Here’s how it could work:

  1. Hollar would create categories—or personas—based on customers such as College, Grad, Baby, Wedding, Engagement, Get Well Soon, Anniversary, Birthday, Just Because, Sympathy, Thank You and a select number of holidays.
  2. Hollar would pick and choose which SKUs are available for Giftery Boxes—a way for the company to sell overstocked products or slow-moving inventory, feature your private-label line or spotlight your bestsellers. Each box would include 25 items and sell for a flat fee of $30.
  3. Shoppers would then go to a category and choose 20 items for their box based on Hollar’s provided assortment. An empty-nester parent could go to the College section to send her daughter tissues, snacks, a mini whiteboard and markers, and some other trinkets to decorate her new dorm room. Another shopper could send her friend who lives across the country a box filled with baby powder, wipes, bath toys and bibs to celebrate a the arrival of a newborn, along with a couple of gifts just for the new mom: a face mask and lotion, a picture frame and her favorite candy. Each sender could add a personalized message to the box, and then Hollar would ship it directly to the recipient.
  4. Hollar would fill in the last five items for the box, adding an element of mystery to the gifting experience that builds anticipation for the sender who will want to ask the recipient what ended up in her goody bag.

This would come with a number of benefits for both you and your customers:

  • Segmenting out groups is a way to enhance the appeal of your service as a mass market retailer that also can serve niche and individual shopper needs. In addition, recipients of the gift packages are all potential new customers, who get to experience Hollar similar to how full-fledged customers do.
  • The program would also raise AOV without detracting from the “treasure hunt” aspect of dollar store shopping. Shoppers would be able to choose from a core set of Hollar private labels, but they’d also be able to add in other novelty, just-for-fun products, making the box fun and personalized for each shopper and recipient, all without breaking the bank.
  • For Hollar, Giftery Boxes would allow you to unload hard-to-sell or surplus items by featuring them in gifting categories—and, it would also be a way for you to plug your private-label items. But apart from that, the offering would operate as a typical Hollar transaction, at no extra cost to your business.

Hollar already gives the majority of consumers across the U.S. more purchasing power, both for essentials and impulse buys—but giving them a way to express gratitude or love for a friend or family member will start to build a greater emotional connection between each shopper and the your brand.

This is just one way that Hollar can cultivate a special relationship with customers, raise awareness for its brand to new potential shoppers, and secure loyalty in the long term. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.

Richie Siegel
Founder and Lead Analyst
Loose Threads