The retail landscape is changing. Shoppers are choosier, products are more specialized, and in order to get customers to stick around for the long-term, brands have to stand out amongst their competition. To keep up, trends are cycling at lightning speed, prompting apparel leaders to launch new collections every few weeks — or strive to do so.

The result is that shoppers are now bombarded with choice. An imaginative and varied marketplace is one thing, but when too many options equate to oversaturation within a category or style, fashion companies must find new ways to compete.

Princess Polly knows this challenge well. The fashion retailer’s response to a rapidly evolving digital ecosystem where consumer markets have grown increasingly more niche is a case study in the power of understanding — and unifying — the customer journey.

How Princess Polly rode a social media wave

Beloved by Gen Z consumers for its influencer-ready aesthetic, Princess Polly’s rise to fame can largely be attributed to the retailer leaning into social media.

Much like its cult-like following of young customers, the Aussie-born brand grew up alongside the rise of social media. Founded in 2010, Princess Polly and Instagram went online the same year and Twitter had just reached the height of its initial growth period. Like its competitors at the time — Nasty Gal and ASOS, for instance — Princess Polly took notice of how social media could vastly improve its visibility, and that efficiency was at the core of the approach.

However, as it rode the wave of a social boom, Princess Polly soon found itself  inundated by its numerous communication channels. While the brand deployed several consumer-driven marketing strategies to reach its customers, it was using a separate solutions provider for each channel — leading to a disparate strategy and siloed data for its team, and disconnected experiences for its customers. 

What Princess Polly needed was an approach by which it could build customer experiences that were not only cohesive and consistently on-brand, but engaging and exciting enough to hook its shoppers and turn them into loyal brand advocates. To take on this endeavor, Princess Polly enlisted the help of Yotpo, an integrated e-commerce marketing platform that helps businesses create connected marketing strategies. By partnering with Yotpo, Princess Polly was able to align their marketing efforts from one platform — a move which yielded a wealth of integrated consumer data the brand could leverage on its mission to create a more seamless customer experience. Not only did Princess Polly gain an in-depth understanding of its customers, its new trove of data empowered the brand with the ability to activate the right touchpoint at the right time. 

To reach its ultra-connected customers, Princess Polly went straight to the source

With 96 percent of Gen Z consumers already owning a smartphone, Princess Polly decided to leverage the tools already in the hands of its customers through simple, yet effective SMS outreach. As SMS helps the brand connect with its customers in a literal sense, it also provides Princess Polly with data that allows the brand to connect on a more personal level. By understanding who the customer is and what their preferences are, Princess Polly can generate highly personalized text messages, such as links to exclusive deals and flash sales as well as sneak peaks of relevant merchandise drops.

The result? SMS quickly became one of Princess Polly’s best performing channels with campaigns seeing up to 73x ROI and welcome flows boasting 84% CVR. And not only was Princess Polly getting through to its fans, old and new, their engagement and enthusiasm drove sales. 

SMS has been able to support all of our marketing campaigns,” said Kim Zorn, head of performance at Princess Polly. The performance we see on the SMS exclusive sales are incredible — the ROI is one of the highest among our channels.”

Further unifying its approach, Princess Polly turned to UGC and reviews 

Brought up in an era of endless information, Gen Z and millennial consumers are increasingly looking to their peers to help them filter through the noise. 

With this in mind, Princess Polly leveraged the Yotpo platform to integrate reviews and visual user-generated content (UGC) into its e-commerce site. These features help take the guesswork out of the purchasing experience while imprinting an added layer of trust into the minds of its customers. 

And with its SMS capability, Princess Polly was able to directly request reviews and visual UGC via text after the customer received their order. 

“Reviews help our customers find the right products and increase their buying confidence,” Zorn said. “Plus, with the visual UGC we collect in review requests and via Instagram, we can showcase galleries of real people wearing our products and looking great. It’s so impactful for our shoppers.”

Additionally, not only did reviews help inform customer buying decisions, they also provided Princess Polly with insights into its customers’ experiences with its products. 

“We received feedback from multiple customers about how much they loved a certain dress, but wished it was slightly longer,” said Zorn. “We took that information back to our product department and added two inches to the dress. We would have never known these business-changing insights without Yotpo reviews.”

For Princess Polly, personalization and trust are fostering brand loyalty

As part of its mission to engage customers beyond the shopping experience, Princess Polly rolled out a new loyalty program that incentivizes engagement with all its marketing channels by rewarding shoppers with points for leaving reviews and signing up for SMS.  

Structured into VIP tiers, Princess Polly’s loyalty program offers benefits beyond discounts. The brand’s VIP members are rewarded with experiences, such as access to its private Facebook Insider group and even opportunities to be featured on its social channels — a move Princess Polly knew would resonate deeply with its audience of camera-ready fans.

And resonate it did: According to Zorn, VIP participation now averages 74% across Princess Polly’s four loyalty tiers and 95% of members became redeemers in the most elite tier, Backstage Pass.  

“It’s been a dream come true for our customers,” said Zorn. “They get really excited over the exclusivity and we’re able to communicate better with them knowing what they want.”

By uniting the customer journey in these ways, Princess Polly not only set itself up for the future of retail — it is forging a path to that future that others are bound to follow.