DTC 53: 📦 DTC Sneakers: Email Analysis
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Let’s start by wishing all the DTC M-O-Ms out there a very happy Mother’s Day!

I wish you breakfast in bed (that doesn’t get spilled), and homemade coupons for chores that are impossible to enforce and too precious to ever use.

Marketers love Mother’s Day too. For marketers, I wish that all your ad variants across all platforms are live, your landing pages have congruence, and your discount codes are active.

If you need any last-minute gift ideas, consider DTC sneakers – seeing as you’re getting a master class in shoe marketing every weekend right here on our Saturday edition.

👆🏻This is the gift response we’re looking for.

Speaking of cool, in this edition of the DTC Newsletter, you’ll find:  

📦 Part two of the DTC Sneaker Diagnostic – this time, we’re tackling email!

📦 How to utilize consumer research to capitalize on viral campaigns.

📦 Our impossibly nerdy iOS 14.5 focused All Killer No Filler podcast.

📦 minisocial’s playbook for building a UGC campaign to support a retail launch.

If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss another. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

DTC Diagnostic

Welcome to part two of our four-part deep dive into the marketing strategies of DTC sneaker brands Atoms, Vessi, and Cariuma.

If you haven’t read last weekend’s Facebook Ads analysis, you can catch up here.

Today we’re focusing on email strategy with the help of Pilothouse’s chief email experts Julien Normand and Graham Battie.  

Let’s Jump/Run In:

📩 Pop-ups

As SMS has risen in popularity, collecting phone numbers has become a huge priority.

Some brands collect email and phone numbers in one pop-up, but we recommend implementing a two-step process like Atoms.

The Pilothouse team notices there’s less friction with two steps.

"We’re seeing a submission increase of 7% for email and 5% for SMS when implementing a two-step process," says Julien.

In the Atoms pop-up, the copy doesn’t change from step one to step two.

We’d suggest adding "You’re almost there! Finish by entering your phone number and we’ll send you free shipping" as a way to encourage users to complete the process.

Notice how close the CTA sits in comparison to the email/SMS form.

Bringing this down a touch to help with the awkward white space at the bottom.

📩 Welcome Email

The copy is strong and precise and the brand perfectly displays its value propositions along with a sleek photo.

The images aren’t the same sizes, and while this isn’t a huge deal, Julien and Graham did notice (email nerds 🙄).

The value props are clearly communicated, but if you’re still unsure, the brand writes, "Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered."

The CTA leads to a page specifically about sizing – a key USP for Atoms.

If you’re still not convinced, the brand hits you with social proof.

Julien and Graham are massive believers in the use of social proof and UGC within emails. Make sure your emails flows have BOTH.

To complete the email, we’d suggest adding one more CTA between the review and Instagram pictures.

📩 Founders Story

Establishing the "why?" behind your brand is vital, especially early on. Atoms sends their why email three days after their welcome email.

Since there’s no CTA, you’d assume the video links directly to their website. Unfortunately, it links to YouTube. 😢

We’d suggest placing this video on the website, so users end up on site. They’ll likely browse after watching, which could lead to sales.

📩 Order Confirmed & Delivered

Similar to the overall brand aesthetic, these are very minimal. Nothing fancy, only the essentials.

Notice that "View Your Order" is predominantly placed at the top for easy access.  

"Returns and Exchanges," "Help Center," and "Order Status" are styled in black, so they’re clearly visible.  

Every line is standard procedure.The brand is missing an opportunity to showcase its tone of voice.

Write a piece of copy that’ll make customers laugh, smile or excite them about the shoes.

📩  Pop-Up

Always make sure your offer is crystal clear. For Vessi, "10% Off" is upfront and prominent – nice work. 🙌

We’re big fans of the CTA "Let’s Do This," and the ending statement: "Get Ready to start puddle jumping."

They’re small pieces of copy but go a long way towards building the brand voice.

There’s a lot of steps in between typing your email and opening your inbox. Users might get sidetracked and forget about the coupon.

We’d suggest split-testing the "Continue Shopping" screen with a pre-delivered coupon code to see if code conversions increase.

📩  Welcome Email

Vessi has a comprehensive and clean email strategy.

The wavy lines between sections create great transitions and look aesthetically pleasing.

The unique value propositions (comfort, style, utility) are clearly stated along with "100% waterproof" and "Lightweight."

If a user quickly scrolls, they’ll easily catch these USPs.

Notice the three icons at the bottom. We call these "trust badges," and they’re a must for any brand.

They help build customer confidence, making it easier to purchase from your brand.

📩 Secondary Welcome Email

Vessi has two CTAs distinguishing those shopping for men’s products and those shopping for women’s products.

This reduces the number of times a user has to click once they’re onsite.

Reducing just one click in the user journey can have a massive impact on conversion rates.  

Remember, if a user clicks on a particular CTA, it doesn’t necessarily indicate their gender. Many users are shopping for a friend, partner, etc.

One way to gain clarity is by asking who they’re shopping for.

Think about adding a small check box in your pop-ups to gather this information.

The data collected will help shape customer profiles and deliver relevant emails to shoppers.

📩 Abandoned cart

This is a simple but well-executed email with killer copy: "We’re not spying, but we did notice you were taking a peek at these."

Notice the "flexible payment" trust-badge is missing.

Vessi (presumably) believes enough purchase intent has been shown. Therefore, the icon isn’t necessary.  

On the contrary, you could argue that someone who leaves their cart is price sensitive and might need a push. Tough to tell.

We’d suggest keeping the badges the same throughout all emails.

📩 Order confirmed

Vessi uses Shopify’s standard back-end confirmation emails, but similar to Atoms, they’re a bit bland.

Every touchpoint is an opportunity to showcase your brand’s voice. Insert a line of copy that makes customers laugh or excites them.

Check out Native deodorants order confirmation email. It’s clever, engaging and makes you laugh. 👇👇

Final note: We’d encourage Vessi to sprinkle social proof throughout their emails.

The brand needs to add a human element, and customer reviews, UGC, or PR from blogs/articles will help.

📩  Pop-ups

"If I was putting Atoms’ and Vessi’s pop-up against Cariuma’s, I’d almost guarantee Cariuma’s is getting a better conversion rate," says Julien.

"Unlock your free shipping" makes users feel like they’re earning something exclusive. Great copy.

Additionally, "Free shipping" is bolded and has a larger font than everything else. This makes it crystal clear what you’re receiving.

📩 Welcome

All three brands do a killer job of displaying their main value propositions.

Cariuma is no different with "Good-looking," "Crazy comfy," and "Consciously made."

The only CTA leads to a women’s page, which is a problem since I’m shopping for men's sneakers.

We’d suggest looking into this and potentially adding a men’s and women’s CTA.

"We’re all about serving up old-school sneakers made with new-school ethics." This line perfectly sums up the brand’s ethos, which is hugely important in a welcome email.

Cariuma’s bright green trust badges and great photography makes for an awesome email.

Similar to their Facebook ads, Afterpay is on every email the brand sends. We love this strategy.

📩 Product Launch

Cariuma pairs a stunning header image with a bold statement, "The Lowest Carbon Footprint of Any Sneaker. Ever."

The claim is backed up with the exact amount of carbon emissions, and the footer features their certifications.

While most consumers won’t know what the numbers or certifications mean, it shows the brand’s authority and commitment to sustainability.

Instead of placing their trust badges in the footer, Cariuma features them higher up on their emails. This increases their visibility.

📩 Order confirmed / Order Delivered

For this type of email, Cariuma has a better branded experience compared to Atoms and Vessi.

They’ve invoked their brand tone with the line: "Good news, you’re about to make your feet very happy."

Plus, the brand displays their Instagram at the bottom. A small but important detail.

The "order confirmed" email isn’t spaced out correctly, making it tough to read, but it’s not the end of the world.

That’s all for the Facebook analysis. Our next review will cover each brand's website strategy!


When Japanese ice cream brand Little Moons went viral on TikTok,  their sales increased tenfold.

Despite the short life span of social media trends, Little Moons was able to ride the wave of viral success and turn it into long-term growth with help from Attest’s consumer profiling.

"We went viral and our sales went up tenfold, almost overnight, which was incredible"

"What the audience profiling helped us do, though, is make sure we reacted in the right way and didn’t lose our focus on the overarching ambition of introducing Little Moons to a broader audience."

Despite a social following of primarily young women in their late teens/ early twenties, through consumer profiling Little Moons’ team uncovered that the people who buy premium ice cream on a habitual basis are quite different – they’re the affluent 30+ demographic.

This 30+ audience represents less than 20% of TikTok’s UK users, so to achieve their growth goals, Little Moons knew they’d need to gain more traction off the platform.  

The strategy? Little Moons doubled down on a PR plan to pitch their viral success on TikTok as a story to The Telegraph and The Sun so that they could reach a wider section of their target audience.

Read the full case study on how Little Moons pivoted their strategy to target their actual demographic here.


Welcome to the nerdiest iOS 14.5 podcast you’ll ever hear.

We’ve assembled a team of experts from Pilothouse to talk you through what to expect during the iOS 14.5 transition and to provide insight into what our teams are seeing.

Listen to the full pod for:
📦 The three biggest changes we’ve seen in our accounts so far.
📦 Where in the funnel you should focus your efforts.

📦 Theories behind Facebook’s staggered prompt roll out.

📦 Why you need an effective way to model your data externally.  

📦 Test results from the Pilothouse team (plus what tests you should be running).

📦 Why creative is still king.

📦 Predictions for the future of conversions API.  

Bottom line: this iOS’nt the end of the world.

Tool Spotlight

Ever wonder how leading brands get such great UGC?

Say hi to minisocial. 👋

They’re the user-generated content platform that helps DTC brands produce UGC on demand and at scale via micro-influencer creators on Instagram and TikTok.

This month, minisocial is shining a light on one of their most common use cases – producing user-generated content to support brick and mortar retailers of your products.

When launching with a new retail partner, getting critical early traction can be tricky. That's why many leading brands including Hilma, Haven's Kitchen, Hydrant, and others support the launch with timely UGCcampaigns to get the word out and create share-worthy content on demand and at scale.

In this (free) guide you'll get the full minisocial playbook for building a UGC campaign to support a retail launch – including creative direction, incentivizing, targeting, and execution best practices.

Ready to get started with your next UGC campaign?

For a limited time, DTC Newsletter readers get 15% off their first minisocial campaign – just mention this ad.

👉 Get started by building your campaign brief or schedule a free intro/strategy call.

M & A

💰 Wealthsimple raises $610M at a $4B valuation.

📶 Verizon sells AOL and Yahoo for about half of what it paid.

🦋 Shares in Jessica Alba’s Honest Co. rise 44%, valued at $2.68B in market debut.

💵 Subscription management platform ReCharge raises $227M and a $2.1B valuation.

👗 Women’s apparel brand ModCloth changes hands once again.

🍽 Food52 acquires housewares brand Dansk.

🐦 Twitter thread: DTC scrubs brand Figs files to go public.

⛹️ The Athletic halts merger talks with Axios.

📺 Roku Q1 active account growth slows, revenue booms 79%.

🥊 Twitter thread: a breakdown of the UFC’s revenue, and why their margins are so impressive.

📉 Federal Reserve warns about potential for ‘significant declines’ in asset prices as valuations climb.

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