How The Dry Eye Company Has Evolved Its E-commerce Experience

Photo source: The Dry Eye Company

When Rebecca Petris founded The Dry Eye Company in 2004, she knew that she needed an e-commerce platform to run her business. So after reviewing several software packages, she decided to implement TrueCommerce’s Nexternal e-commerce platform in 2005. While she says that she didn’t have any measurable goals, she cited the technology’s level of flexibility, control, and database granularity as her reasons for adopting it.

“I was completely new to the retail business,” she says.

Fast-forward twelve years later and The Dry Eye Company is still leveraging Nexternal to sell care and protection products for people on the severe end of the dry eye spectrum. Here’s a summary of some of the moves it’s made over the years.

Email and content marketing

As the owner of the company, Petris doesn’t consider herself a marketer. “I don’t really market,” she says. “That’s not really a part of my business.” However, she used Nexternal’s email marketing tool to communicate with customers after a popular product was discontinued in 2015.

The discontinued product had been used by customers with extreme dry eye medical conditions, Petris explains, and The Dry Eye Company was selling a substitute to replace it. Unfortunately, the supplier ran out of the new product due to overwhelming demand — leaving The Dry Eye Company with 12,000 backorders in less than two weeks for customers who were in dire need, according to a Nexternal case study.

Petris knew that she couldn’t contact each customer individually. So, she used Nexternal’s email marketing tools to send batch-and-blast emails that updated customers on their order status.

“We had to keep in constant touch with them,” she says.

In addition, The Dry Eye Company used Nexternal’s content tool Articles to publish a post announcing that the product had been discontinued and that there were alternatives. Petris says that the article has been The Dry Eye Company’s most read post and that it’s been a “key landing spot for people Googling the subject.”

“The ability to give comparative information on a specialized topic is really helpful with Articles,” she says.


Another feature The Dry Eye Company leverages within the Nexternal platform is the subscription tool. This tool, which The Dry Eye Company started using in April 2014, allows the brand’s customers to automatically order products on an interval basis. Petris says that she can even send these specific customers discounts.

Multichannel ordering

Due to medical conditions, not all of The Dry Eye Company’s customers are able to order online. As a result, many customers place orders over the phone. This requires Petris and her team to manually input the contact and sales information into the Nexternal system. This data helps The Dry Eye Company send more targeted communications, Petris says. But whatever channel the customer places the order through, Craig Ross, VP of sales for Nexternal, says the platform allows The Dry Eye Company to link the sale back to the same customer record.  

Loyalty program

One of The Dry Eye Company’s most recent developments is the launch of its loyalty program, which it debuted in August 2016. Ross says that the Nexternal platform allows companies to customize how many loyalty points shoppers earn based on spend, as well as how much shoppers need to earn before they can cash in their points. In the aforementioned case study, Petris says that the loyalty points, paired with the subscription model, can help customers save “significantly.” Ross also says that the loyalty program serves as a good retention tool.

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