Sound Support

How Sonos Determined that Wunderkind Could Hit the Right Notes

From June 17-19, Salesforce hosted its annual Connections conference in Chicago. The event was attended by thousands of Salesforce clients and brands, as well as numerous technology vendors & partners from across the digital landscape. On June 19, Sean Knotts, Sr. eCommerce Manager at Sonos, presented during a breakout session alongside Shane McWilliams, Sr. Director of Business Development at Wunderkind

Sean—who manages digital initiatives and vendor relationships at Sonos—discussed his company’s challenges with consumer dropoff at checkout as well as the criteria Sonos used in their search for a strategic marketing partner. Below, Sean recaps the key points from his onstage presentation with Shane. 

With every new program or initiative, marketers find themselves at a crossroads: build or buy? Outsource or choose to lean on internal resources and expertise?

In speaking with Wunderkind at Salesforce Connections last month, I was able to reflect on the mutual success we’ve seen throughout our partnership to date as well as the process that informed our decision to go with them. I talked through our experience in the hopes that the Sonos evaluation would be edifying for others in the audience.

Converting A High-Consideration Purchase

Sonos is a premium sound system that enables customers to customize their set-up, control with their voice or app and stream music from any of their favorite services; as such, it requires significant education throughout the customer journey. We recognize that our product is a higher-consideration purchase and that most prospective customers won’t convert on the spot.

On our website and in our marketing communications, we tend to lead with the product value propositions (the quality of our technology) and follow up by promoting the extensive channel services we offer. Both components of our experience are key for selling the consumer on “why Sonos” and purchasing direct.

The Reverse Showrooming Problem

After expanding our ecommerce efforts, we realized that Sonos was falling victim to a consumer behavior known as “reverse showrooming”: consumers would research the product online and show intent to purchase, but would then require the tactile experience of seeing and testing the speakers in-store.

Though they had spent significant browsing time on our site, the store would receive the conversion credit. Our onsite cart abandonment rates reflected the impact of this trend, hovering around 88% as consumers dropped off right before converting.

Abandonment rates, paired with what we were spending to get consumers to site only to have them convert elsewhere, served as the impetus for beginning to evaluate vendors who might help us address the issue. In addition, we noted that low identification rates hindered our ability to retarget those people who were leaving the site without making a purchase.

“Accelerating” To A 12X Return on Spend

Having pinpointed our two fundamental challenges, we began to build out a shortlist of key requirements for finding a solution. Those were as follows. (For what it’s worth, I’d recommend that any brand marketer go through the process of developing their “non-negotiable” criteria for tech partners):

  1. Compatibility with our existing ecommerce and CRM tech stack
  2. Capacity of our CRM team in managing the solution
  3. Ability to address limitations pertaining to user identification
  4. Acceleration of “time to first dollar”
  5. Ability to achieve success without discounts
  6. Quantifiable (incremental & measurable) impact

Wunderkind was able to hit every one of these points, but we were particularly swayed by Wunderkind’s ability to address #4: “acceleration of time to first dollar.”

Our global ecommerce and CRM operations are managed out of the US and sit with a small team that is already strapped for resources. For that reason, ease of global implementation was a critical selling point, and we didn’t want to wait a year (or more) to see the returns from our investment. The premium level of onboarding and strategic service ensured that we got up and running quickly, and enabled us to see immediate—and impactful—return on spend.

Over the course of our first six months with Wunderkind, we’ve been impressed by the results and feel very supported by the Wunderkind team. We’re seeing a 12X return on spend, which far exceeds our forecast. Our onsite identification rates also rose significantly, to 21% of site traffic, which aids in more productive retargeting and revenue capture efforts.

We’ve also been able to deploy additional onsite campaigns that improve customer experience and better nurture visitors, as well as brand-appropriate email capture modals that grow our addressable database. All said, our rigorous evaluation landed us with a highly effective partner, and a team that comprehends, internalizes, and executes on the Sonos goals.

To learn more about Sonos, visit To connect with Sean Knotts, find him on LinkedIn. To learn how Wunderkind can help your company, request a demo.


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Sean Knotts

Sean Knotts is the Sr. eCommerce Manager at Sonos. At Sonos, he manages digital initiatives and vendor relationships.

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