Sun-care brand Supergoop is using text messaging and a mobile-first sales strategy in order to reach younger customers.

The brand rolled out a text message subscription at the end of 2017. Once customers sign up for the text updates, they receive regular messages, including alerts about sales, discount codes, reminders about abandoned carts and education on using SPF. Text-message subscriptions are now growing 10 times faster than email subscriptions, as of June, according to the brand, which is pushing its text subscription to customers who visit the site. Supergoop’s site prompts visitors to sign up for texts with a 15 percent off code. The system pre-loads the customer’s number, so all they have to do to subscribe is tap to confirm, rather than play with finicky entry fields.

According to Attentive, the mobile marketing platform working with Supergoop, automated text messages have an 80 percent click-through rate, and average revenue per visit of shoppers who come in from a text is double that of customers who come in from an email. Supergoop declined to specify the average revenue per visit for either email or mobile but did say that mobile messaging has become one of its top three marketing channels along with influencers and organic and paid social media.

Supergoop also redesigned its website to be optimized for mobile in April, after finding that more than 75 percent of traffic was from mobile and that more people were purchasing there than on desktop, according to Michael Engert, head of direct-to-consumer for Supergoop.

Supergoop’s customer base is primarily millennials and Gen Z, two groups that are increasingly interested in engaging with brands via text rather than email: In a report from mobile messaging company OpenMarket, 72 percent of millennials say they text 10 or more times a day and that millennials prefer texting with businesses because it provides convenience, speed and ease of use. Brands such as Kopari and Madison Reed have been exploring text message updates and how they can use it to get the customers’ attention, build brand loyalty and gather feedback.  

Compared to a dedicated app, text messaging is relatively inexpensive, according to Brian Long, chief executive at Attentive. It costs a brand approximately $6 in marketing for every person who downloads an app, whereas Supergoop sees a return of $30 for every $1 they spend on marketing its text feature, he said.

“Getting someone to download your app is very hard,” he said. “And even if you get someone to install it, most people don’t even open it. It’s [also] expensive to make a mobile app and update it.”

Still, brands run the risk of abusing the text-messaging format with too many pings – and customers can be quick to opt out of unwanted messaging. To avoid this, Supergoop takes a targeted approach. It first gathers customer data points, such as who the customer is, how they engage with the customer experience team or their past purchasing history, and provides it to Attentive, which creates personalized “cohorts” of different customers, according to Engert. The buckets then determine what type of message a subscriber receives, like alerts for sales, reminders about abandoned carts or more informative texts, pulled from Supergoop’s sun-safety content called Sun 101 (which is also available through its website).

“There’s so much work to do on educating on SPF, so we see a ton of different ways to [do this],” Engert said, adding that the conversational atmosphere of text has also allowed the brand to gather feedback and reviews on its products by sending messages after shipment, asking about a customer’s shopping and product experience.

Brands can also choose how often they want to message people within the different cohorts, Long said, which helps keep people from opting out; for Supergoop, customers typically do not receive more than two per week.

The brand is still exploring the format’s full potential. Messaging easily lends itself to replenishment services and payment options, as well, which Supergoop plans to specifically roll out in the next few months, Engert said.

“[Mobile] is incredibly important. I think we are in the very early stages of what’s possible, through mobile and text and chat.”