nok Expands Its Pioneering Experiential Marketing Platform Following Latest Round of Investor Funding

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The first to successfully offer consumers seamless and worry-free trial experiences, nok also solves the logistical and financial challenges traditionally associated with product trials and returns.

"We’ve built a retrofitted sampling model for products that are too expensive to give away but are too new and too good not to try before buying," said nok co-founder/CEO Bobby Wann.

With consumers increasingly basing their purchasing decisions on word of mouth and first-hand knowledge, nok is pioneering a new model of retail supply chain and commerce through “circular on-demand free trials.” Using nok’s services, people can try a range of products from leading brands, at no charge, for three days before buying or returning them with no commitment.

nok recently completed a round of investor funding led by Moonshots Capital and Greycroft with follow-on from Village Global, bringing nok’s total capital to $4 million. With this infusion, the company is accelerating its growth in the New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco markets.

nok is the first to successfully offer consumers seamless and worry-free trial experiences, while solving the logistical challenges, high costs and inventory reductions traditionally associated with product trials and returns. The company was founded in 2017 by CEO Bobby Wann and COO Renato Anselmi Ricci, two technology entrepreneurs committed to redefining the relationship between brands and consumers.

“Easy and immediate access to information has made consumers savvier and turned many off to the effects of advertising, branding and even influencer marketing,” Wann said. “They know all the gimmicks and don’t want to spend hours reading fake reviews. They would rather build trust through service and they find nothing more refreshing than putting their hands on something and seeing the evidence for themselves. We’ve built a retrofitted sampling model for products that are too expensive to just give away but are too new and too good not to try before buying.”

nok operates as a white label hosting and check-out service, with no need for a brand to design or integrate any new technology into its e-commerce functions. Although customers need to submit their credit card information to begin the trial experience, there is no card authorization conducted or charges processed – enabling a 100% free home tryout activation with no buyer’s remorse.

The company’s successful and profitable approach is attractive to investors as well as partner brands. “Any new investment opportunity of course has to make business sense but, more importantly, we also look for demonstrated leadership and extraordinary vision,” said Kelly Perdew at Moonshots. “The nok founders deliver on both criteria.” Dana Settle at Greycroft added, “This is a massive market opportunity to not only meet changing consumer behaviors, but to also transform how companies have thought about their supply chain for decades.”

The most recent clients to launch with nok are TUMI, the leading international travel and lifestyle brand, and coffee products manufacturer Lavazza.

“In our experience, customers’ expectations have evolved faster than retailers have been able to keep up with,” said Charlie Cole, Chief Digital Officer, TUMI. “We used to debate offering free shipping with a threshold, and then Amazon Prime came along. The lesson learned is don’t wait for someone else to exceed your potential customers’ expectations. Partnering with nok allows our customers to test out a product before making a purchase, letting the TUMI product speak for itself.”

Brands are promoting the nok service by building new landing pages for their websites or simply adding the hook into their existing advertising and channel marketing campaigns.

Once products are ordered, delivery is completed within three hours using on-demand couriers and nok uses environmentally sustainable delivery options like bicycles or electric scooters whenever possible. If a product is returned, nok will pick it up at the customer’s door, take it to their warehouse and get it ready for the next customer to try within 48 hours.

In the United States, nok has established warehousing and delivery infrastructures in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles and the company has run hundreds of test trials for three new clients which are expected to go live in the coming weeks. The company has the capability to rapidly expand and reach 30 major U.S. metropolitan markets.

“nok can do for high-end products what free samples have done for consumer packaged goods and beauty brands for the past 50 years,” Wann said. “For almost all large brands, nothing is more difficult to maneuver than their supply chains and more are realizing it makes sense to let us do it for them. We see ourselves as a new high-engagement channel, turning what used to be heavy losses from returned products into sales and profitable long-term customer relationships.”

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Tom Di Nome
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