Delivering fresh food for dogs and excellent user experience for their human friends

Butternut Box offers a fresh take on dog food — healthy, delicious home cooked meals. They partnered with Reaktor to deliver a mobile customer experience worthy of their beloved brand. Now, humans enjoy using the app (almost) as much as dogs love eating their delicious food.

Project highlights

  • Brand new mobile app built from the ground up to deliver a seamless customer experience.
  • Data-driven approach that empowers dog owners and rewards their loyalty.
  • Upskilled design and development team, thanks to continuous guidance from our experts.
  • User experience built for onboarding, retention, and nurture.

Background and goals of the project

Butternut Box has been providing delicious, healthy meals for man’s best friend since 2016. And while it all started with co-founder Dave’s home-cooked suppers for his rescue dog, Rudie, there are now many more mouths to feed — both inside and outside the company. As they invested in growing their production capacity to keep up with demand, the team didn’t want to lose sight of what got them there in the first place: a focus on the relationship between dog and owner.

As the best brands know, creating an emotional connection with your customers is key to a sustainable business. So when Butternut Box enlisted Reaktor’s help to reimagine the buyer’s journey, we knew it had to be built around the bond between human and dog. This reimagined user experience has reduced churn and increased satisfaction while cultivating more confident dog owners.

“Reaktor helped us build the experience around our customers' dogs, rather than around transactional features. We redesigned the architecture in order to move to a more cohesive user experience. Along the way, the team learned so much from Reaktor, adopting new ways of working that will extend way beyond the work we did on the app.”

Niall, Head of Engineering at Butternut Box

Mobile-first approach

From the ground up

Butternut Box is beloved by dogs and owners alike. So the experience of ordering meals needs to be just as good. 

The front end is all about the dog: breed, size, age, and preferences. To accommodate these changes, the backend had to be rebuilt with a new architecture. And because we wanted this to be a mobile-first experience, we built it in React Native to ensure seamless operation on iOS and Android.

To accommodate all the features needed, we built integrations for third-party services to handle things like payments, notifications, analytics, A/B tests, and feature rollouts. 

Our chosen technologies ensure seamless integration into Butternut Box’s other systems and services. It also helps future-proof the business as they grow into new markets. But most importantly, the app delivers an elevated customer experience that customers expect of the Butternut Box brand and mission.

Happy dogs, confident owners

Empowering users

We love data as much as dogs love Butternut Box’s food. So we took a research-driven approach to ensure dog owners became loyal, repeat customers.

It gets really interesting when you combine data with Butternut Box’s expertise in nutrition. The app is designed to evolve as the customer’s pup grows — suggestions for appropriate food come at the right moments, taking the guesswork off the owner’s plate. The result is happy, well-fed dogs, and confident, well-informed owners.

Upskilled team

Ready for anything

Clients don’t hire Reaktor just to build stuff. They want their teams to grow in skill and confidence, benefitting from ecommerce expertise that will long outlive the project.

From the initial selection of Reaktor developers and designers, through to the hands-on training sessions, it’s all about building a healthy mobile development culture. Together, we worked on upskilling in a number of areas: performance optimization, testing for multiple devices, app store review, and many more.

“Reaktor’s collaborative approach helped our team adopt new ways of working. A perfect example was how quickly our new design lead — who joined midway through the project — got up to speed.”

Alex, Digital Product Director

Keep it simple

Smoothing out the edges.

Because Butternut Box is a subscription service, it’s vital to optimize for convenience, retention, and nurture. This means empowering customers to find the right plan, personalize meals their dog will love, and find a convenient delivery slot.

Together, we started by revamping the onboarding process and creating accessible user journeys that build confidence with every step. Effective onboarding closes the gap between curious first-time users and invested customers. This sets the foundation for the rest of the customer relationship.

Finally, to serve owners who weren’t yet ready to commit to a subscription plan, we created a simplified way to purchase extra treats for their dogs.

Our contributions

  • UI design
  • Native apps for iOS and Android
  • Updated design guidelines consistent with brand
  • Localized content in multiple languages
  • Software architecture and design
  • Training and development

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Robert-jan Blonk

Lead Producer

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