Rise and Shine: Burrow

August 28, 2019
eCommerce
J.D. Crabtree

Rise and Shine is a segment dedicated to emerging eCommerce brands. Profiled companies are selected by offering an impressive product, exhibiting creative marketing strategies, and utilizing a variety of technology and tools. Profiled companies may or may not by Yaguara customers.

Name: Burrow

Website: https://burrow.com/

Categories: eCommerce, Lifestyle, Home and Decor

Year Founded: 2014

HQ: Brooklyn, New York

Founders: Stephen Kuhl & Kabeer Chopra

Total Funding Amount: $19M (Series A)

Alexa Ranking (Global, US): 109,681, 23,307

The Skinny: Disassemble your moving stress. Love your loveseat. The Casper of couches.

2015: While complaining about Ikea and furniture moves over drinks, Burrow’s future founders knew there had to be a better way to go about all of this. It’s the 21st century, and so many industries have been revamped due to smart minds and advanced technology. And that’s when the idea came together.

Stephen Kuhl and Kabeer Chopra were so inspired by the idea that they decided to use it for a project for their Wharton entrepreneurship class, where they were enrolled at the time. The thesis was that furniture costs reach astronomical levels because of shipping and white-glove building requirements for big, bulky items. Burrow was going to disrupt this model.

2016: Burrow is accepted into Y-Combinator, and the small founding team is spending the summer splitting time between the California incubator and making trips to their manufacturing facility in Mexico. While still in beta, they are ultimately trying to make a Burrow delivery come in a compact box that can assembled in 10 minutes, without a single tool.

2017: Burrow officially launches in New York City, their new home and headquarters. In addition to the launch they raised $4.3 million in seed funding to help support all the requirements that come with building a consumer products company.

And the most important part of an eCommerce company starts happening: real sales from real consumers.

2018: Burrow then raises $14M Series A funding round for rapid expansion, which translates to they knowing they have found product-market fit. Manufacturing has also moved from Mexico to Mississippi at this point.

The team keeps scaling. National recognition and awards accumulate. And Burrow is becoming a tier 1 option for the modern urban mover.

Now: The team has kicked off their brick and mortar strategy, and is starting to introduce non-sofa products to turn the company into “an entire home lifestyle brand.

While the product is designed for down time, the Burrow team definitely isn’t sitting back and relaxing.

We broke down this growing brand:

(jump to section)

Marketing Site

Content Strategy

Social Media

Mobile App

Toolkit

Performance

Brick and Mortar

The Shine

Précis

Marketing Site

Burrow’s marketing site is designed to feel smart and urban, which is their target market.

Their copy and product descriptions are have a confident tone to ultimately eliminate your moving woes. Examples of wording across the site:
Simple assembly & disassembly
Arrives in easy-to-move boxes that fit up steep stairs and through narrow doors
Tool-free assembly
The first truly easy-to-move sofa
End the compromise between quality and convenience


For new visitors Burrow wants you to accomplish two things:

  1. Learn why they are better
  2. Watch a short video or see a series of images that breaks down, well, the breaking down of the furniture

You won’t find too many bells and whistles after that. They do offer free swatches to ensure this entire transaction can be done in the comfort of your home.

Burrow spent years nailing down their designs, and they are not afraid to let you know by packing in comments such as “life-changing features”, “responsibly forested wood”, or “universal, modular design”.

Lastly, the product reviews::

With already over 700 reviews for a higher-priced catalog, and an average of 4.5 stars, their customer voice is truly impressive. Strong peer reviews are one of the strongest differentiators Burrow could have to bust up the furniture behemoths.

Content Strategy

Welcome to Under The Cushions, the blog of Burrow. You will immediately notice that this page takes a minimalist approach, with individual images being the focal points. You can filter their blog by four categories: Life, Lounge, Design, Advice.”

A collection of post titles over the past twelve months:
The Perfect Pillow For Your Zodiac Sign
Things To Do When You’re Bored At Home
How to Make Your Home More Instagrammable
Our January Book Recommendations


The average length of their past five feature posts was 454 words, with one post bringing up that average due to its 1201 word count. As expected almost all of their posts involve thoughts around a couch, living room, and/or lounging activities. There are also subtle product introductions in their posts:

But Under The Cushions has been strangely dormant since February 2019. Perhaps that is due to efforts being allocated elsewhere with their enormous growth. We will keep an eye on their upcoming content strategy.

Social Media


Burrow keeps their social media game makes sure you will understand how comforting and stress-free life can be with a Burrow experience. Across all of their feeds they keep a healthy mix of relaxation inspiration and couch jokes to keep followers entertained.

Mobile App

Since this is a high-priced and pivotal item for your living room, Burrow went out of their way to create an app that lets prospective buyers visualize Burrow furniture in their rooms with true-to-scale, 3D models. Once downloaded the directions are as followed:

- Start in a well-lit room

- Stand and scan the floor in front of you to calibrate the app

- Customize your Burrow sofa to your liking and select

- Drag, drop and rotate the model to see your sofa in different angles and areas

- Change up your Burrow or try adding additional products to complete your set

Toolkit

Burrow's DNA is digital-first with the use of top-tier technology, so there are several moving parts to keep the scaling up and to the right. We dug into their site and discovered a top-tier technology stack:

Kustomer

Kustomer is an omnichannel customer management platform that allows Burrow to use intelligent automation to unify data from multiple sources in order to deliver personalized service and support through a single timeline view.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the most widely used web analytics tool, allowing Burrow to use it for high-level, dashboard-type data.

Hotjar

Hotjar is a tracking platform that reveals the online behavior and voice of a website’s users. By utilizing heatmap and feedback tools, Hotjar gives Burrow a way to improve a site's user experience and conversion rates.

Segment

Segment provides customer data infrastructure to fast-growing and data-intensive eCommerce teams such as Burrow.

Custom eCommerce Platform

Going against the eCommerce grain, Burrow opted to build out a custom platform for its shopping cart and transactions.

Heap

Heap is an analytics platform that automatically collects, organizes, analyzes, and connects customer data, so eCommerce businesses can create more valuable products and experiences.

Yotpo

Burrow can collect, curate, manage, and respond to user-generated content from a single platform in Yotpo, which is an attractive offering during a scaling phase. We cover their reviews earlier in this breakdown.g.


Yotpo in action:


Google Ads

Google Ads are critical for eCommerce companies looking to get in front of buyers ready to instantly purchase (or research) a specific product. Burrow does a stellar job of being the first result in heavy intent searches..

Ads in action:

Facebook/Instagram Ads

Facebook Ads is the ultimate B2C advertising playground since users are often sharing personal interests and tendencies. Burrow naturally has a wide market audience, so it makes sense to market to the platform with the largest audience.

Ads in action:

BounceX

BounceX is a behavioral marketing platform that allows teams to build complete profiles of their site visitors and then direct marketing efforts towards the most valuable actions possible. Burrow uses it to understand behavioral patterns that can’t be found in traditional segmentation..

Taboola

Taboola is an advertising technology platform that helps Burrow serve relevant content to users online. The platform matches news stories, articles, blogs, videos, apps, products and other content to targeted customers for them to explore, and ultimately get back to Burrow’s site..

Braintree

Braintree is one of the premier payment platforms especially after combining forces with the PayPal team. Braintree allows Burrow to accept, split, and enable payments in more than 130 currencies to give their brand a true global reach.

Affirm

Affirm is a financial technology tool that helps customers break large payments into monthly payments, in order to make things more affordable in the short run. With Burrow’s higher price point this is a popular payment method..


Performance

A digital-first company calls for excellent digital performance. eCommerce teams have to handle the daunting balancing act of exhibiting dynamic images and videos of their product without sacrificing the website user experience. We analyzed several parts of the Burrow performance story:

Our top takeaways on Burrow’s digital performance:

  • Buzzfeed is providing a note-worthy amount of referral traffic which has similar audience overlap
  • With close to two-thirds of their traffic being mobile they must ensure they have a great mobile experience, and they do
  • Their images also lead the content charge
  • Burrow has been rolling out impressive YouTube video campaigns over the past year and are being rewarded for those efforts
  • Their website load time is average, there is room for improvements

Brick and Mortar

In the fall of 2018, Burrow announced it was opening its first physical store in New York City. 

‘Burrow House’ allows consumers to interactive with their furniture in a variety of ways. Visitors can hang out in front of a fireplace, watch movies in a private screening room, and also play around with making their own videos in a green screen studio.

Burrow now has a second showroom in Chicago, And partner showrooms can be found in these cities: Seattle, Tacoma, Boston, Plano, New York

With their products this might have been inevitable, regardless they joined the Caspers and Warby Parkers of the world who are pioneering digitally native brands move to brick and mortar success.


The Shine

PR, Awards, and Initiatives

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TIME's 50 Best Inventions of 2018

Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies of 2018


Précis

Executing in this market calls for controlling chaos. There are a thousand ways to mess up margins or become smothered by the furniture giants. But they are finding a pretty sweet spot without compromising on price or product quality. By shipping large items like sofas directly to customers in boxes, they eliminate unnecessary shipping time and costs (for both sides). And by using locally sourced woods and fabrics free from harmful chemicals, they can create a well-designed furniture that looks beautiful and feels like home.

Burrow is now on one of the more serious startup trajectories in the game, the kind that people refer to in phrases such as “I think they are going to do it…” And now everyone that is considered a digitally native vertical brand and/or eCommerce company is on the edge of their couch seat watching them take on the world.