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XXL Nutrition

How the flywheel spun rapidly at XXL Nutrition


Back to 20 years ago

In 2004, René van der Zel began a personal quest for the perfect protein shake that didn't give him a stomachache. What once started in a modest garage is now XXL Nutrition: a leading player in high-quality nutritional supplements for athletes of all levels. With an innovative approach and a tireless commitment to quality, René van der Zel has evolved his brand from a niche brand for bodybuilders to a trusted partner for thousands of gyms, supermarkets and top athletes across Europe. A story of passion, perseverance and a good dose of guts.


Solid basis for growth

Until 2019, XXL Nutrition experienced stable growth. The brand continuously expanded its range with new products, thereby attracting not only bodybuilders, but also regular fitters and athletes. By making no concessions about the composition of their products, always thoroughly testing them in the lab and being completely transparent to their customers, XXL Nutrition has laid a solid foundation for further growth. The quality of the products and customer satisfaction provided a firm foundation for their success.


Momentum in the sports nutrition market

In 2020, there was momentum in the sports nutrition market. While competitors were struggling, the popularity of fitness exploded thanks to platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Jordy, commercial director and key figure in XXL Nutrition, saw the opportunities and felt that more was possible. He found a strategic and pragmatic partner in Yellowgrape to further discover and optimize the e-commerce game. From the first moment, the goal was to jointly cause a rocket launch in terms of growth. Yellowgrape would not only help achieve this growth, but also help build and train the team at XXL Nutrition so that more could be done in-house in the long run. Team fit played an important role in this choice; it was essential that the teams were able to work well together and learn a lot from each other.


The partnership with Yellowgrape and how growth is exploding

Yellowgrape saw the potential of XXL Nutrition. The brand had a solid foundation, a huge fan base and customers who were very satisfied with the quality of the products. This provided an excellent basis for scaling up.

In order to work broadly but to maintain focus, four important pillars were defined at the start:

   • Data: Future-proof foundation
   • Acquisition: Broad full funnel approach
   • Conversion: Optimizing traffic
    •. Retention: Excellent customer follow-up

Data: Future-proof foundation
XXL Nutrition had a large customer base and a wealth of customer data, but this data was not used optimally. Together, we set out to build a strong data foundation, with the Customer Data Platform (CDP) playing a central role. In the CDP, we built 360-degree customer profiles, which we were later able to activate in our campaigns, email strategy and on-site personalization.

Acquisition: Broad full funnel approach
A customer journey never consists of a single touchpoint. Google's messy middle model clearly shows how crucial it is to be everywhere to reach potential customers. Until 2020, the XXL Nutrition funnel consisted of a few touchpoints in the see, think and do phases. In the years that followed, we expanded this funnel considerably. We strengthened our presence in existing channels such as SEA and expanded to new channels such as TikTok, contextual targeting, YouTube and partner marketing. This broad full funnel approach allowed us to create a more integrated and effective customer journey, resulting in much greater visibility with higher conversion rates.

Conversion: optimizing all that traffic
Such an explosive growth in traffic only makes sense if your user experience is optimal and the offer is relevant. Previously, the target group was familiar with XXL Nutrition, but now there was also a whole new target group. To ensure that they were able to find their way around the XXL site, we implemented a decision aid.

Research shows that consumers who use a decision aid are up to 2.5 times more likely to buy. In addition to the implementation, we used various A/B tests to see how we could integrate the decision aid into the website and contribute to the user experience. This has resulted in a huge increase in conversion rates.

Retention: Excellent customer follow-up
Our ultimate goal is to convert one-off visitors into loyal fans. XXL Nutrition already had a strong community, but also wanted to embrace the new generation of athletes and turn them into loyal customers. In recent years, Yellowgrape has developed a lifecycle strategy based on behavioral psychology that focuses on personal and relevant customer interactions.

By segmenting customers based on their phase in the customer journey, we can guide and engage them through small, targeted steps. We call these steps use cases. A classic example is cart abandonment mail, a standard e-mail automation in e-commerce. But at Yellowgrape, we go one step further: we adapt the content of these emails based on the specific phase in which the customer is. This ensures recognition and appropriate appreciation. For example, someone who has already ordered five times will receive different benefits than someone who has never ordered before.

This customized approach uses our lifecycle model, which consists of five baby steps: from unknown visitor to fan. Each step is designed to guide the customer to the next phase in a subtle and effective way. The result is a seamless, personalized experience that not only satisfies customers, but encourages them to come back and become part of the XXL family.

"XXL Nutrition recognized Yellowgrape as a strategic and pragmatic partner to further explore and optimize their e-commerce strategy."



The collaboration between XXL Nutrition and Yellowgrape produced significant results, characterized by a remarkable hockey stick effect of growth. We saw a 54.30% increase in the number of sessions, an impressive 45.85% increase in sales and a 38.70% growth in the number of transactions. The number of new customers rose by 35.25%, while returns remained stable.

These figures clearly illustrate the impact of our joint efforts. By making smart use of market momentum and a sophisticated e-commerce approach, XXL Nutrition strengthened its position as market leader. With a solid foundation and innovative strategies, we look forward to a future full of growth and opportunities.

Revenue growth
Growth in transactions
Growth in sessions
Increase in new customers

Next steps: Towards an even better customer experience

Now that we've laid a firm, scalable foundation at XXL Nutrition, the real game is just beginning. We are currently working on various projects that will ensure that XXL's customers are served even better.

Combining lifecycle with sports goals
As we further refine XXL Nutrition's customer journey with our thoughtful use cases, we're now taking a step towards more detailed segmentation. XXL Nutrition can now divide its customers into different types of athletes, each with their own unique needs. We are currently working to organize the customer journey based on these sports goals, so that our strategies are even more in line with what our customers want to achieve.

Redesign process
Although we have already optimized a lot in terms of usability, the design needed a refresh. Using the design thinking method, we interviewed XXL customers to find out their wishes, needs and frustrations. This enabled us to fully tailor the design to the end user.

To offer customers an even more unique experience, XXL Nutrition is currently developing an app with unique customer benefits. From customized recommendations that take your fitness goals to new heights to special offers that are only for app users, the app is focused on transforming your fitness journey. Stay tuned..


These experts know this case inside out

Désirée Brussel

Head of Account

Tristan van Egmond

Senior Campaign Manager

Anouck van den Berg

Team Lead Full Funnel Marketing