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See How Six Barrel Soda Uses the Shopify Integration to Grow their Audience and Measure ROI

Learn how the soda syrup company puts the power of Mailchimp email and Shopify together to organically gather newsletter contacts, and see the results of their campaigns.


  • Industry: Consumer goods
  • Location: Wellington, New Zealand
  • Year founded: 2012

Published: August 2, 2022

If you're a soda, cocktail, or mocktail lover that searches the world over for unique and unexpected tastes, Six Barrel Soda is here for you. Made from scratch with local fruits, and free from chemicals and artificial anything, the Wellington, New Zealand-based company is on a mission to create fizzy flavors that “shake up the soda game.” And they deliver with options like orange and dandelion, spiced cherry, and raspberry lemon.

Since Six Barrel Soda creates experimental flavors, they needed a name just as daring. When winemakers and small breweries tinker with recipes and develop new products, they don’t want to dedicate a whole barrel to it—so they use what's called a “sixth barrel,” a barrel that’s one-sixth the size of a regular one. (Try saying “sixth barrel,” though. It’s difficult, so they shortened it to Six Barrel.)

Reaching customers and growing e-commerce sales

Founded in 2012 by 2 childhood friends, Joseph Slater and Mike Stewart, the company has grown from a tiny dinette into a wholesaler and retailer of natural soda syrups. While they had to say goodbye to the dinette, their growth makes up for it—they now sell products in several countries with distributors in the United States, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand.

They communicate with 2 main audiences—their consumer audience who receives newsletters about new products, recipes, customer highlights, and more, as well as a hospitality wholesale audience. “Our real customers, at the core, are all the same,” Joe says. “They're all people who are interested in trying out new and different flavors, they're interested in supporting independent companies. They want to stand out from the crowd a little bit and have products that are different, that are better for you, that are natural, but fundamentally, that taste great.”

They started using the Shopify integration when they realized they had an opportunity to grow their online sales, and that Shopify was a natural choice for e-commerce. “We were more able to manage the site in-house using Shopify, rather than needing external developers for updates.” He goes on to say, “Mailchimp has always done what we need it to for our newsletters, and is a trusted brand for customers receiving them, helping us avoid the spam box.”

“We're in the business of making drinks, not necessarily building lists of customers.”

Joe Slater, Co-founder and Managing Director of Six Barrel Soda

The challenge: Growing their audience and measuring ROI

Six Barrel Soda’s main goal is to get more direct-to-consumer sales before moving on to wholesale growth. Competing against the big soda brands in a crowded space means they also have to find a way to stand out and get themselves in front of as many people as possible. To do this, they need to expand their audience, build brand awareness, and measure their marketing efforts accurately. And with a marketing team of 1, they need a way to do it all quickly and easily. That means no manual spreadsheets of contact information gathered from different places.

The tools: Shopify integration + Mailchimp email

The Shopify integration syncs customer and sales data into Mailchimp, which helps Six Barrel Soda see the revenue generated from each email, while adding new subscribers at the same time.

Social media serves as a top-of-funnel audience builder that drives potential customers to the Six Barrel Soda website, where they find a signup form and a 10% discount on their first order. But as social algorithms change and it becomes more difficult to get visibility on their posts, Mailchimp email has become an invaluable tool for the team.

They send newsletters full of educational content—like how to use the product, recipes, and more—to reach their opted-in audience directly, driving them to the website where they can make a purchase. Joe also says that they can tailor their campaigns using tags to differentiate between their New Zealand and Australian customers, helping to drive more engagement.

The results: Clear metrics of ROI and audience growth

Joe says that the Shopify integration makes measuring marketing easier for them. They can determine what content is interesting and engaging by looking at click-through rates and the amount of revenue generated by the email. That helps them to decide what to do next—if there’s a product that’s selling well, they can order more and promote it again, for example.

They can also easily see recent stats:

  • 1061

    new contacts from June 22, 2022 to July 22, 2022

  • 97%

    of new contacts from the Shopify integration from June 22, 2022 to July 22, 2022

  • $1426

    average revenue ($NZ) generated per email campaign from December 2021 to April 2022

The integration also helps them save time because they don’t have to add email addresses to a spreadsheet and then import it into Mailchimp—the audience grows organically through the marketing opt-in and newsletter signup form during purchase in their Shopify store. “We're in the business of making drinks, not necessarily building lists of customers. We can just focus on making the stuff and coming up with new ideas, with making the recipes, making more content, rather than doing the admin side of the content delivery,” Joe says. “The time building that list is zero for us.”

Advice for business owners: Make something the world needs

Joe says that anyone thinking about turning their hobby into a business should think about the longer term and ask themselves, “is this something I want to do every day?” He says that “running a business is pretty brutal…making sure you really want to do it is key.”

He also says to “make something that needs to be made.” Lots of companies make cheap things that they know will sell, but Joe doesn't think the world really needs more of that. “Make something that’s good for the consumer—and good for the planet.”

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