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Nestlé Purina: Nestlé Purina Just Right D2C Subscription Ecommerce Improvement Team 

To respond to the demand of dog own­ers seek­ing tai­lored and cus­tomized nutri­tion for their pets, Nestlé Puri­na launched a sub­scrip­tion-based dog food busi­ness, Just Right, as one of their direct-to-con­sumer (D2C) tests in the mar­ket. What start­ed as an MVP ecom­merce pilot expe­ri­ence, turned into a com­mer­cial­ized brand that Puri­na sub­stan­tial­ly invest­ed in, to grow and scale. 


We improved the Just Right brand’s over­all per­for­mance by com­bin­ing user research, UX/​UI eval­u­a­tion, com­pet­i­tive analy­sis and assess­ment of agile process­es, team struc­ture and tech­nolo­gies and imple­ment­ing a mul­ti­tude of rec­om­men­da­tions. This ulti­mate­ly led to an expan­sion of GRAYBOX’s work with­in Purina’s fam­i­ly of brands.


GRAYBOX per­formed at a high lev­el, inte­grat­ed smooth­ly with the Nestlé Puri­na team, and con­sis­tent­ly deliv­ered effec­tive and effi­cient results for the Just Right brand.

  • 3
    The number of concurrent team/squads supporting trialists, subscribers, and ongoing work streams
  • 85%
    Target achieved on DORA metrics across squads
  • 50%
    Increase in amount of new/feature work squads could tackle versus previous structure

GRAYBOX was asked to partner with Just Right to augment their teams, while recommending and implementing a wide variety of UX/UI and technical improvements across the customer journey. By enhancing the user experience, optimizing technology, and addressing enterprise operational pain points, GRAYBOX aimed to boost conversion rates and minimize technical debt. This would aid Just Right's transition from a pilot program to full commercialization.

GRAYBOX is more than just an agency for hire. They have become a strate­gic part­ner that becomes a val­ue add to the in house team. GRAYBOX isn’t just a team of order tak­ers but a team that brings ideas to the fore­front. GRAYBOX has pro­vid­ed a num­ber of resources to our team. Each have brought expe­ri­ence and cre­ativ­i­ty to the mix. They go deep into the busi­ness objec­tives to bet­ter under­stand the fun­da­men­tals of the indus­try and busi­ness that pro­duces impact­ful results. We are always look­ing for oppor­tu­ni­ties to bring GRAYBOX into more of our day to day work and longer term visioning.

Curtis Taylor, Head of Direct to Consumer, Nestlé Purina

Dedicated Consulting Team

As part of our initial discussions with Purina, the understood landscape would be integrating into an existing complex team structure that had been working on the brand from inception. Given the breadth of the scope of the work and the necessary velocity of the team, it was clear that dedicated, full-time resources were the best solution.

GRAYBOX’s ability to partner with brands on a project or retainer basis, dependent on the need and what the work entails enabled a specialized approach in the case of Just Right. In general, though, anytime we have been able to dedicate 100% focused resources on a brand we are partnering with, the pace at which we deliver work and make progress can be substantial.

Due to the needs of the business and an already existing structure needing consultative augmented resources, we recommended a blended approach where majority of GRAYBOX resources involved would be dedicated full time to leverage expertise while balancing overall velocity and monthly team cost.


GRAYBOX prides itself in its ability to integrate into existing structure and process quickly and seamlessly when onboarding into a new client-partner. This creates a collaborative environment where we aim to have the least friction possible and to optimize the efficacy of output. In this case, the speed of onboarding and understanding the landscape of Just Right and the Enterprise, including adoption of existing ways of working with Nestlé Purina as an integrated part of their team, was crucial to success.

Purina is primarily headquartered out of St. Louis, Missouri, however, the existing Just Right team was globally distributed. GRAYBOX was able to have the flexibility to provide resources able to collaborate day-to-day as needed to ensure that the challenge of augmenting into a remote and distributed team world time zone was met and that software and design development velocity would not be impacted.

GRAYBOX facilitated a series of collaborative workshops to drive an understanding of the current state of the brand and business model and recognize what Purina had already identified as some areas of opportunity around improvement. This included the site, operational and technological pain points, technical debt, as well as needed improved design and user experience to help foster brand loyalty and perception, conversion and retention. In parallel, our team partnered with Purina’s product and technical leadership to understand the development and integrations landscape to aid in making the necessary recommendations for improvement.

Focus on the User Experience

The core of the Just Right experience was focused on moving the user through the customer journey, from education of the benefits of a truly customized dog food blend, through subscription signup and retention. The core messaging of the brand justified the case that each dog is unique, and a customized food blend based on individual needs and preferences, that gets delivered via a recurring subscription model, direct to your door is an optimal solution for your pet’s nutrition.

Through user testing and research, one identified brand pain point was the conversion entry point for the Brand, a consumer quiz. Confusion surrounding how answering the quiz questions would lead to a better customized dog food blend, needed to be addressed. Leveraging site usage data via heatmapping and psychological design strategy, the incorporation of redesigned quiz elements was planned, to improve the site experience and increase purchase confidence.

For any subscription business, retention plays a significant role and Just Right was no exception. To promote retention and lifetime value, our team poured through subscription cancellation requests to identify opportunities to re-educate the user and establish alternative pathways to deter Just Right users from subscription cancellation. GRAYBOX leveraged strategic design-based changes derived from Google’s HEART metrics (e.g. happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, and task success) and tailored user research. After implementing a subscription deflection campaign, efforts led to an immediate downward cancellation trend and increasing customer lifetime value; a major key performance indicator for Just Right and Purina.

Technical Optimizations

Adobe Commerce was the core of the subscription ecommerce ecosystem, with NetSuite as the primary conduit to the complex back-office fulfillment infrastructure. Since Just Right started out at as a new business pilot, the business used lean startup methodologies to get something launched quickly and cost-effectively and ultimately faced the challenge of scaling the brand from an MVP concept to full commercialization.

With the business growing significantly, investments were also necessary in paying off legacy technical debt from the initial launch. The GRAYBOX team identified several areas of key improvements, including agile process, structural changes across three cross-functional teams, site speed and efficiency, design, and overall front-end performance optimizations in the UX of the custom “create a blend” experience presented itself to a customer.

We organized a comprehensive approach—alongside the Purina team—the introduction of a team structure aligned with key functional areas: front-facing customer experience through shopping cart, subscription and retention focus and back-end functionality including enterprise operational support.

This approach enabled each team to have a specific focused scope to deliver based on prioritized business requirements and cross-functionally align through agile and SCRUM methodologies. Each team had a unique and tailored approach in ways of working that promoted collaboration, which increased velocity and created opportunities to quickly identify dependencies, pivot quickly to plan and meet ever-evolving business requirements and expectations of delivery.

We are incred­i­bly proud of the work we did in part­ner­ship with the Puri­na team. The Just Right brand had such a strong foun­da­tion, but also a great deal of oppor­tu­ni­ty around poten­tial improve­ments across the spec­trum. Our team of strate­gists, design­ers, project man­agers, and devel­op­ers came into a fast-paced, data-dri­ven envi­ron­ment and part­nered with one of the sharpest client teams we’ve had the plea­sure of work­ing with over the years.

David Hughes, VP of Strategy at GRAYBOX

Final Results

We improved the Just Right brand’s overall performance by combining user research, UX/UI evaluation, competitive analysis and assessment of agile processes, team structure and technologies and implementing a multitude of recommendations.

The team focused on the most vital areas for improvement to increase new subscriptions and subscription retention and leveraged prioritization and cross-functional alignment using Agile methodologies to meet business delivery expectations. Combined with new always-on usability metrics and a focus on accessibility with a mobile-first audience, GRAYBOX led three agile teams heavily influenced by Spotify Agile Methodologies. The team successfully improved the user experience leveraging creative design expertise combined with a strong technical foundation of Adobe Commerce and native complex logic that was used to curate the customized dog food blend experience. GRAYBOX was also able to successfully contribute to crafting technologies to build foundations for a data aggregation solution to correlate metrics across portfolio brands.

  • 3
    The number of concurrent team/squads supporting trialists, subscribers, and ongoing work streams
  • 85%
    Target achieved on DORA metrics across squads
  • 50%
    Increase in amount of new/feature work squads could tackle versus previous structure