How APL Delivers Luxury Experiences and Drives Repeat Purchases via SMS

photo of APL's different luxury performance shoes




average CVR of triggered text messages


of SMS subscribers have made 3+ purchases

Learn about APL’s approach to SMS marketing that’s influenced 25% of subscribers to make 3+ purchases.

Founded in 2009 by two former collegiate athletes, APL is recognized worldwide for being the pioneer and world leader in the “luxury performance” category of men’s and women’s footwear. As a digital-first brand, APL prioritizes building strong connections with their customers online. 

Powering personalized luxury experiences through SMS

In early 2020, APL was interested in how SMS marketing could help them connect with their increasingly mobile-first shoppers. With its personalized and 1:1 nature, they thought text messaging could replicate the traditional in-store luxury experience for their online customers.

APL also knew the channel’s notably high open rates would complement their frequent product drops, and would give their subscribers immediate access to new collections and exclusives. 

But, they were committed to preserving their luxury aesthetic and distinct brand voice in every message they sent. For NJ Falk, Managing Partner at APL, the brand embodies beautiful performance. “This vision is behind every customer touchpoint and translates across our marketing channels.” 

APL needed an SMS provider with the product capabilities to send high-quality MMS messages that aligned with their brand voice. As an innovative brand, they also needed a platform that was ahead of the curve and would help them tap into the latest SMS strategies.

Turning customers into loyal brand advocates

With Attentive, APL found everything they were looking for in an SMS platform. At the start, they worked closely with their Attentive Client Strategy Manager on which KPIs they’d use to define success. They set a modest goal to drive 4-7x total ROI from SMS.

In no time, APL began taking advantage of Attentive’s full menu of product capabilities. They launched their triggered message strategy, which includes a welcome message, reminders for abandoned browse, cart, and checkout, back-in-stock alerts, and transactional messages (such as order confirmed, shipped, and delivered).  

Every message they send highlights, “timeless, elevated, and simple but severe product-centric in-house photography,” says Falk, “along with colorful emojis and carefully crafted copy to align with our brand voice.”  

text message example from APL

Attentive’s SMS solution is APL’s portal to reach each shopper and replicates the in-person clienteling experience through mobile interactions. For example, every time a subscriber texts APL with a question or comment, the brand personally responds through Attentive’s platform, almost as an extension of their CX team, so their customers are never “left on read.”

SMS is our most strategic way of curating the conversational commerce experience for our shoppers. It’s the highest form of personalization and has created an ongoing dialogue with our customers. They become loyal brand advocates because they feel heard by APL.

- NJ Falk, Managing Partner, APL
example of APL's conversational commerce and CX support via text messaging and Concierge

Another priority for APL and their SMS channel is consistently refining their text messaging copy to elevate the experience for each shopper. 

One way they do this is by branching on their browse and cart abandonment journeys to tailor the experience based on a subscriber’s level of intent to make a purchase. For example, subscribers who add products to their online cart two or more times get an abandoned cart reminder with an exclusive offer to help get them over the finish line. 

Subscribers who only browse products once get a different version of the abandonment message—without an offer—encouraging them to come back and make a purchase. This strategy allows APL to get more out of their promotions by only offering them to their high-intent shoppers who are most likely to convert.

By consistently studying each detail and performance of their journeys with their client strategy team, APL is always finding new ways to complement the customer journey to increase engagement, conversion, and repeat purchase intent. 

Driving repeat purchases: 25% of SMS subscribers buy again and again

Fast forward two years, and APL has exceeded their original 4-7x ROI goal by a long shot. Overall, their SMS program is seeing 78x ROI, and their triggered messages continue to drive engagement, with a 32% average CVR. 

From carefully crafting every sentence to align with their brand voice and including in-house photography in every message, to responding personally to shoppers’ questions within the Attentive platform, APL delivers a luxury experience over SMS. And it has certainly paid off: 25% of SMS subscribers have made 3+ purchases.

They’ve even taken their success global, and launched their SMS program in Canada in April 2022.  

Looking ahead, APL is determined to keep embracing change and moving forward. “It’s so important to continue perfecting the SMS experience in every possible way. This means always testing new features and strategies,” says Falk. 

They’ll continue to test Attentive’s latest technologies. They recently launched Text-to-Buy, which lets consumers purchase directly in response to a promotional text message from a brand, without having to navigate a website or a checkout page. 

Set your sights high. We flew past our early goals and are still unlocking more and more value from SMS. Our journey with Attentive just gets better and better.

- NJ Falk, Managing Partner, APL
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