This story was originally published in The Retail Bulletin.
Reaching mobile-first consumers to boost conversions and retention
The INKEY List knows that skincare can be confusing. That's why they take an educational approach to marketing to their “skincare curious” Gen Z and millennial consumers, who want to understand more about their skin so they can make better decisions.
As a relatively young brand founded in 2018, The INKEY List needed a channel to supplement their marketing efforts and drive new and returning shoppers to their website.
Georgina Little, Head of Retention and Loyalty at The INKEY List, knew from experience that SMS could help the brand increase website traffic and revenue from their mobile-first audience. But it was also important for the team to work with an SMS partner that understands the UK consumer landscape and can provide guidance on best practices for engaging them with marketing text messages.
“We prioritize being in the channel a customer prefers at the right time, so we covered our bases by working with Attentive. Attentive is the bread and butter of SMS, the place to be and the leading player in the market for SMS.”
- Georgina Little, The INKEY List
Growing an engaged audience of SMS subscribers
With Attentive’s support, The INKEY List launched their UK SMS program in a matter of weeks. The brand leaned into the platform’s full suite of sign-up units from the start, which allowed them to harness their existing website traffic to grow a healthy list of subscribers.
This was a crucial step to make sure The INKEY List could reach a large audience with their first SMS campaigns and see results right away. It also helped the brand grow their email list simultaneously.
Maximizing engagement and revenue at key touch points
To keep their subscribers engaged once they joined the channel, The INKEY List set up a series of triggered text messages to engage subscribers with personalized messages at critical points in the customer lifecycle. These messages are sent based on specific behaviors or actions their subscribers take, like opting in to SMS, abandoning their shopping cart, or making a purchase.
For example, their welcome journey encourages new subscribers to make their first purchase soon after opting in to SMS. They incentivize these shoppers with a discount code and friendly follow-up reminders if they still haven’t converted after a few days.
The brand uses triggered browse and cart abandonment messages to re-engage high intent shoppers and drive them back to the website to buy, recovering otherwise lost revenue. And, recently, they introduced price drop journeys into the mix. These messages alert subscribers when a product they viewed or added to their cart is available at a lower price, creating a sense of urgency for them to shop.
The INKEY List also uses their post-purchase journey to share relevant product knowledge with recent shoppers—like the top five ways to use a specific product or tips for how to make it last longer. This strategy is a nice and easy way for the brand to offer customers advice, but it also allows them to add value and increase retention through SMS.
Using data to power personalization
As a channel, SMS easily connects with a range of data sources and marketing channels to fuel personalized messaging. The INKEY List took advantage of the ability to easily integrate their SMS program with their website, loyalty program, (managed by Attentive partner LoyaltyLion), and the rest of their tech stack so they could send more targeted text messages.
For example, the brand has a quiz on their website to help customers find the right products for their skin and build a personal routine. The INKEY List uses that data and insight to send customers relevant content and recommendations via SMS. It's a smart move considering shoppers in the UK, Canada, and Australia would like to receive a personalized recommendation after sharing their product preferences, according to our recent consumer trends report. By providing customers with helpful information and tips about the products they purchased, The INKEY List builds trust and establishes their brand as an expert in the field, leading to increased loyalty and repeat business from customers.
Seeing immediate and impactful results from SMS
Since launching their UK SMS program with Attentive, The INKEY List has seen 26x total ROI. The average conversion rate across all triggered messages in the UK is 36%, accounting for 80% of total SMS-attributable revenue.
Little emphasizes that the results they see from SMS complement the work of their email program, driving additional incremental revenue for the brand.
"We chose Attentive because we knew they were the leading player in the SMS market, worked with all of our integrations, and had highly effective list growth tools. We were able to launch within two weeks and SMS has driven incremental revenue quickly and didn't take away from other retention channels. Many mobile-first consumers prefer to hear from brands via SMS, so it's a great alternative to just being reliant on email."
- Georgie Little, Head of Retention and Loyalty, The INKEY List
The INKEY List has also successfully launched SMS programs in the US, Canada, and Australia with Attentive and as a next step will continue investing in building out their programs to create those personal and effective customer relationships.