Product Update: Updates To Cutoff Times

Our team has been working very hard to update the way cutoff times, ordering intervals and order reminders work. In the coming weeks, we will be launching several updates that will improve the way plans function. You”ll now be able to offer weekly, bi-weekly and monthly plans, have greater flexibility when setting cutoffs, and find skipping weeks to be more seamless.

We’ll be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 14th at 2pm ET to review these changes and all the different ways you can take advantage of the new features. Sign up here for the webinar and reserve your seat to see how these changes can help your business.

Improve SMS Deliverability with Custom Domains

At Bottle, we’re big believers that using text messaging to communicate with customers and power repurchasing leads to better customer experiences.

However, the world of messaging is ever evolving. As part of this evolution, the wireless carriers continue to change and update their algorithm to detect spam. When a message is marked as spam it is usually not delivered. Unfortunately, there is limited transparency into the carriers process for marking a message as spam.

We are consistently working to maximize deliverability and ensure every message on Bottle reaches your customer’s phone. One thing we’ve found to improve deliverability is using a custom domain for texted ordering links. We encourage merchants to set up a custom domain for texting links to customers.

So instead of order links being sent from sendbottles.com, you can choose a custom subdomain to use as the root of links texted to customers (typically these links are for ordering reminders).

One thing to note is that setting up a custom redirect link will not affect your website domain or Bottle marketing site domain. By adding a custom domain redirect, you’re creating a unique link that is tied to you message reminders sent on Bottle. We know domain names can be tricky, so we’re here to help if you need us!

You can read the full instructions for creating a custom domain here. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions to team@sendbottles.com.

Creating Holiday and Catering Menus on Bottle

As the holidays approach, many of our customers will consider adding special items to their menu or creating entirely new menus altogether to accommodate holiday catering. Given Bottle’s flexibility, there are several ways to create special menus during the holiday season. Here are a few tips as you think about creating a holiday menu. 

Create A Holiday Menu With A Specific Ordering Deadline

Let’s say you’re allowing customers to order meals for Thanksgiving and the last day to order is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In scenarios like this one, we suggest creating a new plan with a specific cutoff date. This allows you to take orders consistently up until the order cutoff. 

Here are a few steps for setting up a holiday menu:

1. You are going to want to create a new subscription here. Before doing that, we would recommend creating a new category on your menu page and adding the special products to that category. Make sure all of these products are available. For example, you may want to create a category called “Thanksgiving Main Dishes” and add Turkey to that category.

2. Next, create that new subscription. Make sure to add that new category to this subscription in the “Customer Choices” section. Learn more about setting up subscriptions here.

3. Now, you’ll want to scroll to the bottom and enter your cutoff time. You will want to hard code this cutoff. So for example, if you want the cutoff to be the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, you will enter  “Tuesday, November 26th at 5pm”. You will also want to hard code the fulfillment day.

4. If you’d like to send customers a notification reminding them to order for the special menu, we suggest doing that via a scheduled message. 

5. Lastly, we would recommend setting up a separate delivery option that is only eligible for this specific plan.

Offer Holiday Items Each Week

Of course, you may want to add items to your weekly menu. If this is the case, you’ll want to create a new category, add the special menu items to the category, and then add that category to your current plans. 

You can read more about how to add categories to plans here

Taking Time Off For The Holidays?

After a year of hard work, you’re probably planning to take a week or two off as you prepare for the New Year rush. There are several options for pausing your plans while you are not preparing food. You can read about how to pause plans and take a break here

We love the holiday season at Bottle. It offers time to reflect, recharge and prepare for the busyness of the New Year! As always, don’t hesitate to email team@sendbottles.com or let us know on Instagram how you’re planning to spend your holidays.

How Earnest Uses SMS To Help Student Loan Borrowers

I think just about everyone can agree that student loans kind of stink. Every month when I pay my loan off I cringe. I’ve been sitting on my student loans for a few years now and with a lower interest rate environment it was time to refinance.

I just finished up the process, spending a decent amount of time pricing out my options. I was mostly concerned with two things, 1) the borrowing rate, which was the most important factor, and, 2) the quality, responsiveness and reputation of the lender. 

Not surprisingly, given the low interest rate environment, I found a lot of attractive refinancing opportunities. The market for student loan refinancing is pretty efficient as most lenders were within 15 basis points. 

So how can a lender differentiate in a low rate, efficient market? Well, one way is by being on top of their game and proving that they care about the borrower. The company I went with, Earnest, was by far the best in terms of being responsive and helpful.  I particularly thought their use of SMS was thoughtful and very helpful to getting me to choose them as my lender.

Moving your loans is a bit of a process. You need to submit a ton of documentation, go through an in depth application process and then spend time coordinating between lenders. As you can imagine, when digging up paperwork, finding tax statements, searching for arcane mailing addresses, lots of questions come up. 

What really separated Earnest was the support they provided. Immediately after submitting my application I received a text asking for some more information. 

From that point on, I was able to text with questions as they came up. Since the process is so arduous being able to text and quickly get a reply did a few things:

  1. Sped up the final application process. 
  2. Helped answer questions about their program. 
  3. Made me feel more comfortable knowing there was a reliable resource on the other end. 

I love the way Earnest is using SMS. They’re the only company that I saw in the student loan space that took advantage of sms and it made a big difference. 

Saying Goodbye To Wheels of My Own

The day I turned 16, I went to the DMV, took my driving test and walked out with a new sense of freedom. Driving to school, meeting up with friends, escaping my parents, the world was my oyster. That was 1999.

20 years later and the world is vastly different. A car is not necessary in many urban environments. Most teenagers can Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, Jump etc. and get around. The idea that a car equals freedom is a foreign notion.

I’ve lived in four different cities since those days of late 90’s joyriding. In Philly, where I went to college, I ditched the car for easy on campus biking. When I moved to NYC after school I became a subway rider and a power user of Zipcar – car rides were saved for the occasional weekend getaways.

But when my wife and I moved to Atlanta, one of the most congested cities in the U.S., we assumed we needed 2 cars. And for the most part, we were right. I was running around delivering food, she was commuting in to work every day.

But over the past few years our lives have shifted. We now both rent space in the same office, but work for different companies, at the beautiful Industrious at Ponce City Market.

We live a few miles from the office, so I can walk (about 40 minutes), take a Lyft or best of all bike.

So when my lease came up a few weeks ago, I happily drove my car to the dealership and turned in my keys.

So far the change has been amazing. I’ve been riding my bike in most days, and the other day Will and I walked home together when he was in town.

It’s almost like the opposite of that feeling when I was 16 – saying goodbye to my car has welcomed in an entirely new sense of freedom. I’ve shed the financial and mental burden of owning a car. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but for now it’s been a great ride.

My new ride to work – that’s my bike and in the distance you can see Ponce City Market.