Case Study
0 min read

Brightland Olive Oil Grows Corporate Gifting 50% in First Holiday Season With Zest-powered Storefront

April 9, 2024
Blog post hero image

Brightland didn’t set out to be one of the most giftable brands on the world wide web, yet in just over five years, this olive oil company has adorned seemingly as many kitchen countertops as it has “best of” gift lists.

In 2018, Brightland was founded with the authentic mission to bring light to everyday moments. Founder Aishwarya Iyer wanted to contribute to the priceless memories made around food — the togetherness, the laughter, the conversation — while celebrating and honoring her ancestors and the land.

Despite the brand’s foundational simplicity, it wasn’t long before folks latched onto this refreshing stance and started snapping up bottles of the good stuff for themselves and for others.

This digitally native ecommerce brand has now spread onto shelves in hundreds of mom-and-pop stores, gift shops, and longtime go-tos like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. Brightland’s iconic white bottle decorated by category-changing artists was firmly planted as a leading olive oil contender when Oprah named it one of her Favorite Things (more than once!), and its growth hasn’t slowed since.

Artist Capsule Series

This boom in popularity organically shifted the products from great DTC goods to also being highly coveted gifts. So when the Brightland squad started getting heaps of inbound requests from other businesses looking to buy the perfect corporate gift, they knew they had to find a solution to help meet this new demand.

Read on to see how Brightland strategically automated its corporate gifting, saw huge gains as a result of busting up bottlenecks, and is preparing to dominate the year ahead.

The Problem: Customer Demand for Corporate Gifting Caught Brightland by Surprise

When you’re in the ecommerce biz, high demand is rarely a bad problem to have. However, the team at Brightland didn’t realize just how much demand there would be for their products as corporate gifting caught on. But without a dedicated corporate gifting flow in place for the team, corporate customers, and gift recipients, it didn’t take long for kinks in the pipeline to make themselves known. 

“We got out of the 2022 holiday season and said, ‘We can’t do it like this again,’” recounted Alisha Stagg, vice president of strategy and operations at Brightland. Without a corporate gifting program in place, her team found scrappy ways to ensure every customer was satisfied and order fulfilled, but it was a tedious and laborious process. 

“The really time-consuming piece was the order processing. We had to fulfill a lot of unique situations being asked for by customers, so every single order was processed like a manual custom order. We’d create a spreadsheet for every order, then submit those spreadsheets to our 3PL. It was a ridiculously manual process that also needed a lot of following up and back-and-forth with each customer.” 

And that was just the beginning.

On top of the time needed to enter the deluge of corporate orders, the team also needed to think about the post-purchase experience, address collection, shipment tracking, and supporting gift recipients should any issues arise. Even if the team wanted to bring on some helping hands to sift through the holiday rush, a less structured process meant onboarding was nearly impossible to do in a pinch.

Brightland’s fan base was eager to spread the joy of great olive oil, and every gift sent meant getting on more kitchen counters and adding to more memories over meals. “Customers were the ones who really organically guided us into the corporate gifting motion,” said Stagg. “Everyone here hustled to make it work. We all had to put on a sales hat.” The rollercoaster of roles everyone played ensured corporate clients were happy, but it also took them away from their original roles and responsibilities.

While Brightland made it out of the holidays alive (and thriving), it was clear that 2023 needed to be different. The company’s consciously crafted products needed an equally conscious corporate gifting experience to match. 

The Solution: A Modern Tool Fit to Grow Brightland’s Direct Corporate Gifting Channel Is Found 

With the 2022 holiday season scramble in the rearview, the team at Brightland set their sights on the old adage “there has to be a better way.” The customers had spoken and shown them that gifting could be a massive channel for the company, but only if it could scale efficiently. They started doing some shopping of their own for a tool that would:

  • Integrate with Shopify
  • Expedite order entry
  • Handle package tracking
  • Be easy to implement
  • Let them have full control

It turns out, there aren’t many options on the market for platforms that empower brands to scale their direct corporate gifting channel. 

Most tools require the brand to relinquish control and only sell their products through the tool’s marketplace, which requires shoppers to leave the brand’s experience and fully submerge in the tool’s experience. Other times, implementation drags on and lean teams have to invest more resources than they can spare to make it work.

Brightland wasn’t finding a platform that fit the bill until chatting with Zest, the corporate gifting platform built to help brands scale the channel directly on their own site. Zest’s seamless Shopify integration was key to earning the partnership with Brightland, but it was only the tip of the iceberg of good things in store.

With Zest tucked into their tech stack, Brightland’s corporate gifting team was able to unlock benefits like:

  • Balance between automating corporate orders and handholding orders that need extra care and attention. While the team knew they needed to automate the bulk of orders that ate up their time in the past, they also knew there would be edge cases that required a bit more TLC. These cases included super custom orders, orders with more shipping complexity, or orders by customers who simply needed the peace of mind of talking on the phone with someone at Brightland before placing a massive order.

  • Harmony between the DTC shopping experience and the corporate shopping experience. In ecommerce, brands spend countless hours optimizing their customer journey, erasing any sign of friction, and ensuring every touchpoint is on brand. On the other hand, the corporate gifting experience is often much different.

    Without the right tech, it’s an experience that’s historically been relegated to a form hiding in the footer of a website, or an interested shopper is sent away to a marketplace off the brand’s website (and out of their experience). With Zest, the corporate customer enters a self-service flow that is 100% on-brand and is as intuitive as DTC shopping.

Brightland's direct corporate gifting storefront.

  • A way to apply discounts in a click. Typically, applying any type of discount requires a lot of manual labor. With Zest, the Brightland team is able to offer volume and shipping discounts to their corporate customers with just a few clicks in the Zest dashboard. They can also offer custom discounts to different clients, all while maintaining an automated and stress-free process.

  • Support whenever it’s needed. Zest gets how important corporate gifting is to a brand trying to scale the channel. After all, these are often bulk orders that add up to thousands in revenue (and most of the time, these are customers who will return time and time again). When issues arise, brands need to be able to count on support to smooth over any glitches and ensure customer happiness.

    Brightland’s team has direct access to Zest support in this partnership, which is a priceless benefit when the holidays come around, the squad is fully busy, and corporate orders are pouring in. When the flow springs a leak, it needs to be resolved fast. Brightland knows they can count on Zest to do just that.

With implementation wrapped up, a branded corporate storefront pushed live, and a newly added link on their corporate gifting landing page, Brightland was ready to take on the 2023 holiday gifting season.

The Results: Corporate Gifting Grows 50% Year-over-Year, Spike in Repeat Customers

The holidays were rolling in and it was time for Brightland to put their new tool to the test. As soon as the calendar flipped to November, the corporate gift orders started mounting. Could Zest take the manual load off of Brightland’s plate?

“The whole process was a lot smoother,” said Jillianne Estevez, Brightland’s customer experience manager. “The entire sales cycle is so much easier. Customers can go and see what products are available, see any available discounts, and know how long fulfilling their corporate order will take. Just seeing the platform made them convert because they had total control.”

The user-friendly interface and transparency surrounding pricing, products, and shipping led to love at first sight from customers. “Everyone loves the experience — people who get it, get it. And there’s still the flexibility we need to talk to a customer if that’s what they’d prefer.”

One feature that helped streamline even the most customized orders is Zest’s Custom Storefronts, which enables brands to set up a private custom store filled with unique or personalized products for just one client. “Being able to make a custom storefront and say ‘I made this just for you!’ makes the experience really special,” said Jillianne. “It’s a cool tool to have that people love, and it doesn’t take up a ton of my time to make happen.”

Brightland’s corporate gift process got the streamlined overhaul it needed. With the bulk of orders being placed directly by customers in this new self-service experience, processing them changed from a painstaking manual process to automated glory. Instead of everyone tediously entering individual orders, the team was able to dedicate time to other parts of the company, and Jillianne could give extra attention to VIP clients while knowing most orders were flowing seamlessly through the Zest platform.

The surprisingly quick adoption of Brightland’s freshly minted corporate gifting storefront, coupled with the flexibility between automation and personalized attention, proved to be a success for the 2023 holiday season. 

Brightland’s corporate gift sales grew 50% year-over-year, smashing their goal to grow that channel directly. The Zest platform also empowered many first-time customers to convert and quickly become repeat customers. 

“We saw a ton of people come in through Zest for the first time. And not just repeat gifters who’ve been buying corporate gifts from us for a while — the Zest platform was their first experience with Brightland, period,” recalled Alisha. “We saw those same people, then, coming back because their first experience was great.” 

Aside from revenue growth and repeat gifters, Brightland was able to offer something more valuable than anything to its team in 2023 — time. With the majority of gift orders being automated with Zest, employees were able to take much-deserved time off without having to shut off one of their most lucrative channels. 

“Zest is always open, which means we never have to shut down or delay the corporate order process. We catch orders at all hours, even when people order at weird times, and it definitely feels like passive income.”

Brightland Is Empowered to Seriously Scale Corporate Gifting from Seasonal Surge to Successful Year-round Channel

The 2023 holiday gifting season wrapped up better than anyone anticipated. Corporate gifting is a channel that’s seen little innovation over the past couple decades, and the vast majority of ecommerce brands either rely on dusty contact forms or they simply avoid the channel entirely.

Branching out to find and implement a tool that powers a modern corporate gifting experience shows Brightland’s drive to innovate and dedication to the customer experience. Zest’s ability to automate the majority of corporate gift orders while providing custom one-to-one experiences when necessary has opened up a lot of opportunities for Brightland.

“We’re excited to continue using Zest to grow our direct corporate gifting channel. We especially want to push the channel and turn it into a year-round business, not just for the holidays,” said Jillianne. 

There’s a lot of buzz around the potential of corporate gifting in 2024 within the ecommerce industry. The demand for better, more thoughtful corporate gifts has been surging, and with the right tool and the best team on its side, Brightland is bound to be leading the way.

Author headshot
Liz Lorge
Swooping background

Ready to Give Zest a Go?