SMS Marketing Boosts Promotion Redemption For Julep Cosmetic Sales

Cutting-edge retailers are incorporating mobile elements into their loyalty programs to better engage with connected consumers.

Tapping into this trend, Julep, an online-only cosmetic company, partnered with Tatango, a short message service (SMS) marketing company, to create a text-message initiative that delivered timely offers and incentives to loyalty program members. With this program, the retailer plans to directly communicate with on-the-go consumers while still driving traffic to the e-Commerce site.

Within the first 24 hours of the launch, the SMS Julep Mobile Insider Club garnered more than 5,000 customer signups. The eTailer also generated a 10.7% redemption rate from an initial promotion in which consumers received a discount on nail polishes.


“When we started to look at all the many options available to us in mobile marketing, SMS seemed like the perfect channel to dip our toes in,” said Heather Harrington, Email and Social Marketing Manager at Julep, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “With our audience being mobile savvy, and the already high adoption rate of SMS, it seemed like the perfect fit for us to communicate to our customers.”

Harrington continued: “In the past we found that the more attractive the initial offer, the lower the retention rate was after consumers received that offer. This wasn’t the case (with the new SMS program), as we were able to retain 99% of all new subscribers, even after they received the initial offer.”

Creating A VIP Brand Experience

The Mobile Insider Club was implemented in March 2013 to provide Julep fans and loyal customers with access to exclusive deals, Harrington explained. “This means special insider promotions, first pick of new colors and products, and early access to some of our innovative programs here at Julep.”

Julep also offered consumers in the U.S. and Canada a 50% discount on any nail color purchase when they texted JULEP to 33733 to join the Insider Club. Using the company name as the SMS keyword and a short code provisioned to both the U.S. and Canada helped ensure a seamless opt-in process, according to Harrington.

“With a lot of marketing initiatives taking place through email, social and on our web site,” Harrington said. “Two separate call-to-actions and two separate short codes would have been extremely confusing for our customers.”

Julep promotes the Mobile Insider Club via social media, and sends messages to current customers through its email database. Coupon codes for the initial offer also are accessible to consumers on the checkout area of the e-Commerce site.

Reaping The Benefits Of SMS

Real-time analytics within the Tatango platform helped Julep track customer opt-ins by country and subscriber retention rate once the initial offer was redeemed. 

Overall, Harrington said that she and the Julep team are “very happy” with the growth of the loyalty program and “continue to see hundreds of new subscribers join.”. In fact, the effectiveness of the mobile initiative has encouraged Julep to consider implementing other text message campaigns such as contests or polls to engage fans and customers.

“SMS may not be the newest or flashiest thing to come around in mobile marketing, but the results are really what matters,” Harrington stated. “The results we’ve seen from our Julep Mobile Insider Club have definitely opened our eyes to using SMS marketing to drive e-commerce sales.” 

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