BÉIS’ Director of Digital and E-Commerce Unpacks the Brand’s Customer-First Approach to Marketing

illustration of phone, rolling suitcase, handbag and shopping bag
Published on
Feb 21, 2023
Written by
Kayla Ellman
Kayla is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Attentive. You can find her binge-reading, baking from her (rapidly growing) cookbook collection, or exploring local hiking trails.
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Learn how the travel essentials brand creates a first-class retention strategy with SMS.

If you’ve gone on a big trip or a spontaneous weekend getaway recently, chances are you’ve seen BÉIS luggage at the airport, train station, or in a hotel lobby.

Founded in 2018 by actor (and avid traveler) Shay Mitchell, BÉIS has since become a go-to for everything from luggage and travel accessories to backpacks, totes, and diaper bags. It’s no surprise that BÉIS products are so popular: they’re chic and highly functional without breaking the bank, so people don’t have to choose between style and utility.

For the brand, serving the needs of their consumers has been the goal from the start—and that mindset is reflected in their marketing strategy. We sat down with Julie Chalker, Director of Digital & E-Commerce at BÉIS, to talk about how the brand uses customer data and feedback to inform marketing decisions, the role of SMS in driving loyalty and retention, and more.

How does being a consumer-driven brand inform your approach to marketing at BÉIS?

When we're developing our marketing strategies, the first thing we do is ask ourselves: What are we trying to achieve? What are we trying to learn? What are the primary success metrics for our campaigns? Once we answer those questions, we have a clear path forward.

There are also some consistencies in our marketing strategies that allow us to create a convenient, customer-driven retention strategy with product at the core. The first is our product affinity data. We use that data to identify our consumers' purchase behaviors, and then we take those trends and apply them to our marketing strategies. Ultimately, our goal is to anticipate our consumers' needs and make it easier and more convenient for them to make their next purchase.

The second thing is how we talk to our consumers. Our brand marketing team knows how to keep the two-way conversation going in an authentic way—and the proof is in the engagement we see from our growing communities on social and SMS.

Lastly, we listen. We want our customers to feel like they're part of the conversation. We have strong internal teams, but our consumers are also our experts. They know more than anybody what they need, so it's our responsibility as a brand to make sure they have ways to tell us what they want. SMS is a great channel for that.

What opportunities are you focused on as a brand this year? How will SMS help you stay ahead of the curve?

BÉIS has been in growth mode for the last few years, so customer acquisition has been a primary focus for us—and it will continue to be, especially as we expand into other regions. But customer loyalty and retention is an opportunity that’s just as important, if not more important.

We've been using Attentive’s segmentation capabilities to more effectively target our consumers. Sending them relevant messages based on where they are in their shopping experience and really leaning into SMS to amplify that path to purchase.

The other opportunity is customer feedback. We'll continue to prioritize giving our customers the right channels to communicate their needs, whether it’s post-purchase surveys or polls to specific segments. SMS is a really quick and convenient way for us to get those answers from our customers and stay connected.

While we’re focused on our brand strategy, Attentive does a great job of focusing on what's next in the SMS space, and their partners, like us, ultimately benefit from that.

-  Julie Chalker, Director of Digital & E-Commerce at BÉIS

What kind of SMS campaigns have been the most successful for you? What was the strategy behind them?

Product teasers are part of our evergreen launch strategy, and we see great results from them. Our success metrics for these types of campaigns are click-through rate and notification sign-ups because, at this point, the product’s not available to purchase. We're just letting our consumers know that we have something new coming soon and encouraging them to join the waitlist.

We use that data to check in on our merch strategy and pivot our approach if needed. But the big win with our product teasers is that—while our metrics are click-through rate and sign-ups—we actually see strong conversion rates and revenue from these campaigns. That’s telling us that our consumers aren't only excited about what’s coming, but they’re also excited about what’s already on the site.

product teaser and product release SMS examples from BÉIS

Product releases act as a follow-up to our product teasers. We like to have fun with these messages with a “cheeky” opener—something like, “The wait is over” rather than “Shop new arrivals.” And we can do that because we’ve already built that anticipation and informed our users through our teasers.

back in stock SMS example from BÉIS

We also use SMS to amplify our messaging around back-in-stock and low inventory products. Our goal here is to alleviate consumer frustration. We want them to be able to plan their purchases accordingly, and the more that we can keep them informed, the less frustrated they'll be in their shopping journey. 

Let's talk about the role of automation. How does triggered messaging play into your marketing strategy?

Our triggered journeys are another area where our product affinity data plays a big role. As one example, we know from our data that if a consumer purchases the Beige Weekender, they're two to three times more likely to purchase the Beige Carry-On or the Beige Dopp Kit.

post-purchase SMS example from BÉIS

We have post-purchase journeys in place that use that data because we want to help the consumer come to that conclusion faster. It also makes consumers feel like they’re having a two-way conversation because it’s a personalized post-purchase experience.

We want to thank them for purchasing our products, but we also want them to know they’re not getting a generic post-purchase message. It’s truly tailored to them based on where they are in their product journey with BÉIS.

As an early adopter of Attentive Concierge™, how has adding real-time conversational support to your SMS program benefitted your team?

We launched our beta test with Attentive Concierge before the holiday season fully kicked off last year, and we had a couple of goals in mind. First, we wanted to support our customer service team. They’re the invisible heroes of every CPG brand, and they’re normally a very lean team, so we saw it as a win to give them support both during the holidays and afterwards.

Second, it was an opportunity for us to serve our high-intent customers—who are on our site, who have questions, who are ready to make a purchase—and support their needs in real time through SMS.

Attentive Concierge SMS examples BÉIS

We started testing Attentive Concierge with a small subset of our audience. As we've been able to scale it and prove out the program, we've been expanding the percentage of consumers who are eligible to have these conversations. It’s been a success for us, and it's a win both externally for our consumers and internally for our customer service team.

BÉIS has launched SMS in the US, UK, and Canada. How do you approach managing the channel across multiple international markets?

Having an international presence is newer for BÉIS. We're taking a "crawl, walk, run" approach to developing our international SMS strategy, like we have with all our marketing channels. We’re focused on trying to understand the unique needs of our customers in each region.

I know it’s every brand's dream to have campaigns that are internationally relevant. But, at the end of the day, people expect different types of messages in different regions, so creating regionally relevant content is top of mind for us. We’re A/B testing to understand if there’s sensitivity around time zones and how certain language or emojis resonate with each audience.

For one of our recent collaborations, we noticed a trend where our winning messages in the US used more classic “just dropped” language. But the variation that won in the UK starts by saying that our collaborator “has entered the chat.” It was a good indicator that their name resonated more with our international audience, and supported our theory that going the extra mile to tailor our messages to each region works.

We have SMS in the US, Canada, and the UK, and we have plans to expand our footprint in those regions in 2023. Attentive will continue to play a critical role in not only penetrating those markets, but helping us learn about the needs of those consumers quickly.

-  Julie Chalker, Director of Digital & E-Commerce at BÉIS

Now let's look at the big picture. We've talked about specific strategies, but what has been the overall impact of SMS for BÉIS?  

SMS is consistently one of our top three performing channels. If the channel were gone tomorrow, we would feel the impact. But more importantly, our consumers, who are accustomed to communicating with us via text, might say, “Hey, where did you go?” and we don’t want that.

The program metrics speak for themselves: 18% of our SMS subscribers have made two or more purchases since we launched our program, proving that SMS drives repeat purchases. 

We’ve seen a huge return on investment—over 600x—from our triggered journeys, validating our decision to double down on them. And, we’ve seen over 140x total program ROI, which is really incredible. These numbers make the conversations we’re having internally about where we want to invest more and where we want to scale so much easier.

But the positive impact we're seeing from SMS isn’t just about revenue. Looking at the way our consumers have adopted the channel, respond to it, and engage with it—SMS is a no-brainer for us. I think it will always be a part of our DNA at BÉIS.

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