Urban Outfitters is a lifestyle retailer dedicated to inspiring customers through a unique combination of product, creativity, and cultural understanding. Founded in 1970 in a small space across the street from the University of Pennsylvania, Urban Outfitters now operates over 200 stores in the United States, Canada, and Europe.


Urban Outfitters partnered with Attentive to launch its text message marketing channel and quickly grew subscribers using various list growth tools, including Attentive’s “Email-First” sign-up unit to seamlessly collect both email addresses and phone numbers. With incredible subscriber list growth came the need to optimize and segment their sends.


Urban Outfitters split its text messaging file into two groups. Inactive—users who are subscribed to SMS but not active on other UO marketing channels; and Active—users who are subscribed to SMS and also active in other UO marketing channels.


Unexpectedly, the Active file drove higher engagement and demand. From those learnings, Urban Outfitters decided to create a second test, further segmenting its Active and Inactive segments by placing them into Test and Control groups. This would allow the brand to understand what kind of incremental demand text message marketing was driving. The Test group received a promotional text message, and the Control group did not receive a text message at all.


The Active Test group saw a 13% increase in demand vs. the Control group. The incremental lift was especially significant for the segment of subscribers that were active in email, driving a 19% increase in demand. Through these tests, Urban Outfitters proved that sending a text message to subscribers who are active across other communication channels does drive an increase in incremental demand. It also proved that sending text messages to these audiences did not cannibalize email or mobile push notifications, but instead, worked in harmony.

Through tests like these, we were able to learn that sending texts to active customers across channels will create incremental demand and increase ROS (return on spend). So you don’t have to choose between a text or an email or a push notification just because they’re all in the mobile channel—customers like to engage with brands across all channels. But, most importantly, is to test what works for your brand.

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