Apparel

How Swap.com Engages Brand Loyalists Through Sophisticated SMS Segmentation

Swap.com reviews

67x+

overall program ROI

26%

of total revenue driven by a conversational campaign over a two-day period

134x+

total ROI on triggered messages

Learn how Swap.com uses text messaging to acquire and directly engage mobile-first shoppers.

About

Founded in 2012, Swap.com delivers high-quality, pre-owned wardrobe essentials for the whole family at prices everyone can afford. Their marketplace makes it easy to shop everyday style sustainably and makes buying and selling secondhand second nature.

Challenge

Swap.com needed a way to break through cluttered inboxes to directly engage their audience of busy millennial shoppers. “Our email subscriber churn rate was at 140% in August 2019, and it increased to 176% in March 2020 when shoppers were being inundated with messages from many brands,” explained Maya Menon O’Connor, Director of Marketing at Swap.com. “After stay-at-home orders went into effect, we saw a fairly large decrease in email open and click-through rates.”

The brand wanted to launch a direct communications channel that delivered a seamless mobile experience and created a feeling of “thrift joy”—the moment of delight when you discover the perfect item. Knowing that many of their customers are repeat purchasers, the brand was looking for a new channel to drive customer acquisition and retention.

We know that 75%-80% of our orders come from existing customers, so we were looking for a new way to make sure those customers felt as engaged as possible. After we started seeing some drop-off in engagement on email—which was generally our biggest revenue generator—it was important for us to test new channels to retain customers. It quickly became clear that Attentive was the best solution for keeping our audience engaged. 

- Maya Menon O’Connor, Director of Marketing, Swap.com

Providing personalized recommendations and relevant updates is key to Swap.com’s customer retention strategy. The brand needed robust segmentation capabilities to personalize messages based on a subscriber’s purchase and engagement history.

Solution

Swap.com partnered with Attentive to launch a text messaging channel that would help them acquire and directly engage mobile-first shoppers. Launching Attentive’s “Email-First” sign-up solution on their mobile and desktop websites allowed Swap.com to quickly grow a list of loyal, high-intent SMS and email subscribers simultaneously.

On average, our text subscribers make at least two purchases after signing up. That’s incredible—this is a group of people who are really engaging with Swap.com and are getting a lot of value from the channel. 

- Maya Menon O’Connor, Director of Marketing, Swap.com 

Using Attentive’s Segmentation Builder, Swap.com creates dynamic segments based on a subscriber’s purchase and engagement history, geographic location, and product preferences to deliver relevant updates and offers. 


Strategy

Swap.com uses personalized text messaging to treat their subscribers like VIPs by sending mobile-exclusive offers, including free shipping and early access to sales. Making subscribers feel special—along with addressing them directly in the brand’s signature friendly voice—helps Swap.com create a strong sense of community and brand loyalty within their SMS program, resulting in repeat purchases from subscribers. 

The brand uses Attentive’s Segmentation Builder to create tailored subscriber experiences throughout the lifecycle including: 

  • Engage subscribers who have clicked through on a message or made at least one purchase
  • Nurture subscribers who have not yet made a purchase 
  • Personalize messages based on a subscriber’s location to recommend apparel items that are relevant to their seasons and lifestyles

Swap.com sets goals for each segment they create that are relevant to each audience. “It’s important to be deliberate about how you engage those segments and think through how each will respond,” said Menon O’Connor

Whether you’re focused on winning back lapsed subscribers to driving a certain click-through or conversion rate, your goals should be aligned with your funnel. For example, our VIPs who are familiar with our brand will engage with playful campaigns, whereas a lapsed subscriber may need an incentive to finally make that first purchase.

- Maya Menon O’Connor, Director of Marketing, Swap.com 

Swap.com treats subscribers who have clicked through on a message and made at least one purchase like VIPs. Because the brand knows this audience tends to be their most engaged customers, Swap.com rewards them with exclusive offers. The brand also texts this segment of subscribers more frequently to increase their program’s ROI. 

Texting your segment of highly engaged subscribers is powerful because you're not only providing more relevant information, you're being cost-effective by engaging consumers who are ready to buy.

- Maya Menon O’Connor, Director of Marketing, Swap.com 

Swap.com also uses personalized text messaging to engage in two-way conversations with their mobile audience, learn more about their preferences, and give them personalized offers in return. “Our program with Attentive empowers us to serve specific content to people who are actively requesting it,” explained Menon O’Connor. “I love that text messaging, as a channel, feels a bit more personal and allows us to start 1:1 conversations. We’re able to execute conversational marketing campaigns in a really personal, authentic way—our subscribers love engaging with us via text.” 

As the seasons began to change, Swap.com sent a text message to subscribers asking if they were more excited about breaking out their fall wardrobe or taking advantage of the final days of summer. Subscribers were prompted to respond with a keyword related to their preference where they were rewarded with an exclusive deal—either for a new fall collection or summer clearance items. Swap.com then automatically segmented subscribers based on their responses so that it could send personalized offers to subscribers in the future. 

Implementing their learnings from this seasonal campaign, Swap.com sent a conversational text message to their VIP segment inviting them to reply with a playful keyword—Abracadabra, Presto, or Shazam—to reveal a special limited-time offer. “We drove impressive results. 10% of our VIPs responded, and the campaign drove 26% of our total revenue over the two-day sale," said Menon O’Connor. 

Conversational text messaging has been a successful way to engage our audience. Our SMS subscribers are excited to communicate with us in a way that feels more personal. We text subscribers like they're our friends, and they love that our brand voice shines through. Our audience naturally replies back, asks questions, and gets in touch with our customer service team.

- Maya Menon O’Connor, Director of Marketing, Swap.com 

In addition to campaign messages, Swap.com automatically sends triggered messages to subscribers throughout the customer lifecycle based on actions they’ve taken, such as opting into the text program or abandoning their online shopping cart. Each of the brand’s triggered messages—a browse abandonment reminder, a cart abandonment reminder, and a post-purchase message—are tailored with product names and direct links for subscribers to click through and take action. 

Our browse abandonment reminder has been amazing—it’s out-performed our triggered email reminder. It’s a completely mobile experience—something that we hadn’t focused on creating before partnering with Attentive. Because the reminder is so immediate and doesn’t take you away from your preferred device, it’s been a really powerful type of message. 

- Maya Menon O’Connor, Director of Marketing, Swap.com

Swap.com uses A/B testing to optimize their triggered cart abandonment reminder, helping the brand learn what language resonates most with their audience. To help translate the traditionally in-store “thrift joy” experience—the feeling of finding that perfect item you didn’t know you were looking for—they positioned themselves as a helpful friend along on a shopping trip. The approach helped increase message engagement and conversions.


Results

Swap.com’s text messaging program with Attentive has driven an overall ROI of 67x+. Using Attentive’s “Email-First” sign-up units on their mobile and desktop websites, Swap.com was able to quickly grow a list of engaged subscribers for both email and text messaging. 

“It’s been extremely useful to collect email and SMS opt-ins simultaneously. Since partnering with Attentive to grow our subscriber base four months ago, we’ve decreased our email churn rate by more than 150%,” said Menon O’Connor. “Our Attentive-powered SMS program—especially our ‘Email-First’ sign-up unit—has contributed to this decrease in churn and has helped us achieve real list growth, even during a year like this.” 

The brand has grown their list of SMS subscribers by 521% in the same four-month period. These subscribers are incredibly engaged with the channel from the beginning—Swap.com’s welcome message delivers an ROI of 448x. Overall, Swap.com’s triggered messages—which include a  welcome message, browse and cart abandonment reminders, and a post-purchase message—have driven a total ROI of 134x. “Our text messaging program with Attentive made a major difference for us—we were able to avoid cluttered email inboxes to directly engage our mobile audience,” said Menon O’Connor.  

It’s been so much fun to work with the Attentive team. They’ve helped us scale this program very quickly, and I appreciate the amount of support I receive from them—especially since we’re a small team. 

- Maya Menon O’Connor, Director of Marketing, Swap.com 
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