Good reviews help sell new products. But how do you get reviews of a new product you haven't even launched yet? You do it like Oatsome: launch it on WhatsApp first.

<b>Saskia Dörr</b> </br> CRM Manager, Oatsome

Saskia Doerr, CRM Manager, Oatsome


reviews gathered before the launch


orders through WhatsApp prelaunch


of recipients bought the product

"So many people replied. It was super exciting to see such quick, enthusiastic responses."
Saskia Dörr, CRM Manager, Oatsome

edit The goal: gather early product reviews

It's a common problem in eCommerce: you have a new product you want to launch... But you don't have reviews yet... But you can't get reviews without launching the product.


Oatsome saw WhatsApp as an exciting new opportunity to fix this problem for its new product Choco Crush – which it was launching on February 13, 2023.



Oatsome's new Smoothie Bowl, Choco Crush. Launched with love on February 13.


Oatsome already has a thriving WhatsApp channel with 8.5k subscribers, managed with the charles platform. It saw its WhatsApp subscribers as an interesting opportunity to get early product reviews. 


"Our main objective was to get social proof before the public launch," says Saskia Dörr, CRM Manager at Oatsome. "We also wanted to see how pre-access works. We'd never had one before but we've seen other brands use WhatsApp to offer pre-access to products."


Oatsome is a brand that likes to innovate, and this holds true for its WhatsApp marketing strategy. "Most of the time I saw that brands give 1-2-day pre-access before the public launch. We thought if we give them a longer time to order it, we can use this time to build social proof that we can use to strengthen the main launch campaign afterwards."


With a small team and a full calendar in January – doing campaigns around healthy vegan breakfasts and sending recipes on WhatsApp – the Oatsome CRM team wasn't able to test this new approach. It took the brave move to try this new idea across the entire WhatsApp channel. 


"While we couldn't test pre-access on WhatsApp before we launched Choco Crush, we did test other things – like what happens if we insert an image or not."

edit The campaign: exclusive WhatsApp launch

With a February 13 public launch planned for Choco Crush, Oatsome sent pre-access to its WhatsApp subscribers 7 days before. 


oatsome Choco Crush launch on Instagram and WhatsApp

A WhatsApp message (made with charles' Campaigns feature) linked customers to a hidden web page where they could order Choco Crush. Instagram and email encouraged more WhatsApp sign-ups.


4 days later, Oatsome sent a second WhatsApp message asking if customers had already tried the new product, with 3 buttons:

1. YES!


When subscribers tapped a button, they were led onto automated flows. Those that said "YES!" (they had tried it), got an instant automated message that asked, "How did you like it?"

oatsome Journey in charles platform

Oatsome built the automated WhatsApp conversation with charles' Journeys feature


Saskia says this worked particularly well: "We got so many answers to that because it just looked like a native message. It was just a one liner. No CTAs, no buttons, nothing. So people just replied straight in the chat. We had so many answers to that question and, luckily, so much positive feedback."


Oatsome used the friendly, easy style of WhatsApp to keep conversations flowing and people engaged. The marketing team was on hand to reply to messages using charles Conversations (WhatsApp contact center) feature.


If people said they didn't get their package yet, the team would reply personally to say sorry and to encourage them to message their opinion as soon as they tried it. If customers sent a review, the team thanked them for their answers and time.


People even took the time to send pictures says Saskia, "I got into conversations with them and it was really nice. One person said, 'I mixed Choco Crush with Strong Peanut and it's so good! Take a look...' I replied, 'That's really good inspiration for my breakfast right now.' "


To boost WhatsApp subscribers and campaign numbers, Oatsome also advertised the WhatsApp pre-access on:

📷 Instagram stories

📧 Its email newsletter 


These both had used a "" link that brought people straight to Oatsome's WhatsApp channel, with an automated GDPR-compliant double opt-in.


Customers received the the exclusive Choco Crush product link in the WhatsApp greeting message

route The results: big product love with little effort

The prelaunch was a big success. Oatsome received many preorders and, with that, 50 glowing reviews that it could then feed back into email and social media as social proof to boost the official launch.


"Around 50 people said they'd already tried it and almost every one of them replied with feedback, which was crazy," says Saskia. 

oatsome 3 product reviews from WhatsApp pre-access

Oatsome received many quick, personal product reviews in WhatsApp


"Of the 170 who said they hadn't tried it yet, many were still waiting for the package. Next time we will send the follow-up message a little later."


All this feedback was quickly turned into content that would act as social proof. Saskia's team made a presentation with all the feedback from customers and shared it with the social media team for use in Instagram stories, website and emails. Using WhatsApp screenshots offers "real social proof that people can see – not something we set up. It looks really native."


Oatsome gained around 500 new subscribers through email and Instagram. 


The official product launch, strengthened with the prelaunch reviews, was a great success. Oatsome ran out of stock in mid-March. 

Oatsome x charles: powerful partners

According to Saskia, "charles has been a fantastic partner in getting us into WhatsApp and supporting us with our campaigns."


After some initial teething issues, the channel now runs smoothly. "At the beginning, because the software was so new, it sometimes worked differently than expected – especially with huge flows. But now it's much better, and we have flows already set up. We have a Perfect Match one for finding the right breakfast for every taste which is working very well."


Saskia is excited about the potential of charles' automation tool, Journeys: "the more we worked with it, the more we realized we can do so much with it. With new additions like the new condition nodes, things are getting more exciting."


Condition nodes enable brands to choose which WhatsApp message will be sent automatically to people next, based on the action they take (or don't). . For example, Oatsome automatically reminds people to use their discount code with an automated WhatsApp message that says: 'Your code is about to expire, use it now.'  



Saskia, Oatsome at OMR

We were happy to welcome Saskia our booth at OMR 23 to hear Oatsome's WhatsApp story


What is it that Oatsome likes about Journeys? "It's the ideal mix of automation and the human aspect. It still feels so close to the customer when you design it. And you can really think about all of the different directions people may go, and then automate their paths. But still, with the wording – how you put things – you're creating a real, engaging journey for them. It's a bit like a game. We've noticed that if people are able to click something in the campaigns and then go on a unique path afterwards, they have a lot of fun doing that."


Oatsome has a great relationship it has with charles. "We're really happy with the support from Maurizio. He has some really good ideas. We recently had a strategy meeting where we set our goals together for the next 6 months, which is very helpful."


Why did Oatsome start with WhatsApp Business? "We were talking with Christopher from sales since January 2022. I thought it sounded interesting but we didn't have the capacity to go for it then. Eventually we decided we couldn't wait anymore. We wanted to lead the charge, and not be beaten by other brands. So we went for it in September 2022."


Why charles? "I guess it was a gut feeling. As well as the talks I'd had, I just felt like charles was the right partner to have on our side. Happily, it turns out I was right!"

edit WhatsApp: a marketing gamechanger

Oatsome loves the immediacy of WhatsApp, Saskia says "it's so close and new – people feel like most of our messages are sent manually. Having such an intimate and close channel with our customers is really valuable for us."


On New Year's Eve, for example, Oatsome sent a simple Happy New Year's message without a button (called a "brand message" internally) and received many messages back – to which they replied individually, in a casual tone.


"I like to stay very hands on. When we send those campaigns, I'm sitting here and reading all of these and taking screenshots because I think it's so important. It gets us really close to the customers. That's why I'm a big fan of WhatsApp marketing. It's so sweet how the customers reply if you talk to them in the right way."


And of course the numbers are a big draw: "The click rates and open rates are crazy in comparison to email."

edit Email vs WhatsApp: friends or enemies?

How does email sit beside WhatsApp for marketing?


"I think email and WhatsApp can work really well together, says Saskia. "The email flows and WhatsApp Journeys (charles' automation solution) can work really well together. And we already have many ideas, with Maurizio, our Success manager.


"For example, birthday messages. If it's your birthday, I would rather send a WhatsApp message than an email. Because that's what you do with your friends in your private life. You would never send your friends an email saying ‘Hey, Happy Birthday!.’ So why would you do it in a business context if you have the possibility to do differently?


"Because WhatsApp is such an intimate channel, it should stay that way with our communications. That's what we try with all of our messages. We try to be like a friend. I think WhatsApp is big for branding.


oatsome 4

Oatsome uses WhatsApp mostly for marketing, but also offers it as an option for customer support on its website


"We tested moving something we did in email last year into WhatsApp. We sent a message saying, 'This is our favorite breakfast. Just reply and tell us what's yours?'

"I think we had one answer to that by email. Then we tried it on WhatsApp and we very quickly had around 50 people reply, some with images. Like, 'I mixed this with the other flavor, and I put this in it.' It was really nice. I love how the customers engage with us on WhatsApp."

stars How the WhatsApp prelaunch boosted the public launch

Step 1: Offer exclusive WhatsApp pre-access

oatsome Choco Crush launch on Instagram and WhatsApp

7 days before the public product launch on Feb 13, Oatsome offered exclusive pre-access through its WhatsApp channel only. To advertise this, it sent WhatsApp messages and emails, and posted on Instagram stories.

Step 2: Gather social proof


4 days later, Oatsome sent an automated WhatsApp Journey asking what customers thought of the product. The marketing team gathered responses and replied to people in a chatty tone.

Step 3: Use social proof for official launch


Oatsome collected the social proof they received on WhatsApp and used it to boost the official launch via email, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Step 4: Send follow-up message to replenish stocks


Oatsome sent a replenishment reminder 3 months after the launch of Choco Crush, with a discount code for 10% off.

💛35 What's next?


Integrating WhatsApp with email


Moving birthday messages from email to WhatsApp


Innovating with new creative ideas with charles' Journeys feature

Saskia says there are many more ideas in the pipeline.

"We're focusing on omnichannel management right now. So for example, we are combining email and direct mailings. We're also trying to do that with email and WhatsApp right now. We're really excited about the Klaviyo integration, that will help push this goal."

Ilke, charles Account Executive

WhatsApp-exclusive product launches work. Want to do it like Oatsome?

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