Apparel brand HOMAGE scores a touchdown with first SMS campaign using Klaviyo

Industry: Apparel Platform: Shopify

40%

increase in SMS subscribers since fall 2021

10.5%

average click rate on SMS sends

9%

order rate in initial campaign

At the crossroads of pop culture, sports, and local pride, you’ll find HOMAGE.

Based in Columbus, Ohio and born in the basement of founder Ryan Vesler’s childhood home, the company revels in offering comfy apparel with local flavor to niche fan bases on a global scale.

By adding SMS to their quiver of marketing tools, the team at HOMAGE has discovered new ways to deliver authentic customer experiences at a scale they could have only dreamed of 15 years ago.

How HOMAGE uses SMS marketing to attract niche fan bases

HOMAGE dove into SMS marketing because the brand is built on catering to niche fan bases, and text messaging offered a better way to identify customer preferences. The brand was no stranger to Klaviyo email, but only adopted Klaviyo SMS in fall 2021.

We had high trust and high confidence in Klaviyo from our relationship on the email channel, so SMS was a no-brainer.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

According to Okuley, customers seem more willing to read a text than go through the effort of opening the promotions tab in their inbox to read an email. And data from the Klaviyo dashboard supports the idea that engagement on text is higher than email.

As social media buys get more expensive, we will continue thinking about what’s cost-effective for us. Personalization and first-party data are only going to get more important, and when it comes to being at the fingers of our customers without being intrusive, SMS is our best channel for that.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

That doesn’t make email less important for HOMAGE. Instead, email serves as a natural complement to SMS campaigns.

Klaviyo lets us experiment with what channel works best for different audiences and different messages.

Justin Nottke, Director of digital design, HOMAGE

The team has played with different ways to send reminders about items left behind in carts and promotions about new product releases, and is even experimenting with new ways to tell stories.

The Rewind newsletter, for example, turns back the clock to offer products based on big moments in local history. Think: a retro shirt celebrating that all-day Grateful Dead concert at the McFarlin Auditorium in Dallas on Dec. 26, 1969.

Using both email and SMS in the same platform is a huge advantage, because we’re able to harness that historic customer data and utilize it for a new channel. It’s exciting for us to have both channels work so seamlessly together.

Justin Nottke, Director of digital design, HOMAGE
A group of people standing and wearing apparel from HOMAGE.

Klaviyo integrations make HOMAGE systems smarter

HOMAGE scores for their all-star customers thanks in large part to Klaviyo’s no-fuss integration with their Shopify storefront.

When a user shops a product category, the information Shopify collects about that action helps HOMAGE ensure the right messages land in their inbox or text queue via Klaviyo. Those messages help drive customers back to the new HOMAGE releases that are most relevant to that customer.

The information from either platform helps us use the other platform in smarter ways. Ultimately, it’s about connecting customers to products and stories they are going to care about.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

With 3,000+ products on their website, HOMAGE finds that Shopify’s seamless integration with Klaviyo is critical for understanding what’s best for individual customers, whether they’re a Cheesehead, a Deadhead, or just somebody who really loves Columbus, Ohio.

Klaviyo makes that personalization sustainable, and still authentic.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

It also makes it scalable. Thanks to Klaviyo, HOMAGE has access to more Customer-First Data™: information a company obtains as part of a direct relationship with a customer through its own channels, such as purchase history, on-page actions, and opt-in contact information.

As Google and others are signaling a move away from third-party cookies, it’s more crucial than ever to earn trust from customers directly.

That two-way street is so important. Klaviyo makes it easy to ensure we aren’t doing something that makes you think we’re not listening to you, like sending a rival team’s products to your inbox.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

HOMAGE also integrates ecommerce customer loyalty platform LoyaltyLion with Klaviyo, which simplifies the process of sending customers automatic reminders about points or nudging them to unlock different achievements.

Without Klaviyo, the kind of loyalty program communication we achieve with members would require two or three more humans on staff. Klaviyo’s automations allow us to be strategic and disciplined.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

SMS debut breaks records for HOMAGE product drop

Shortly after HOMAGE added Klaviyo SMS, they used the channel to promote the fall release of their 80s- and 90s-style NFL Starter jackets.

First, HOMAGE released a hype video and encouraged customers who wanted to be first in line for the new jackets to opt in to SMS. Then, they used that SMS channel to offer exclusive updates and drive excitement among this loyal fanbase, offering first dibs on jackets to those who texted STARTER.

Customers loved feeling like part of an exclusive club. The chance to be first in line for great products drove high engagement—and the clutch finish to the campaign was how easy HOMAGE made it for SMS subscribers to score a jacket.

Customers told us they got the text, clicked the link and, bam, they bought the jacket. Simple and fast.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

The SMS campaign drummed up 100 orders in the first hour alone. According to Okuley, the buying process was so easy, customer service calls actually declined—despite the massive volume during the product drop.

Ultimately, 86.9% of SMS customers clicked the in-message link, and 9% of fans placed an order. The campaign delivered $167 in revenue per recipient.

Klaviyo unlocked for us the modern way to shop. There was a feeling and a rush for customers to have access to something and in such a simple way. This changes the way we think about product dropping and releasing cool things and getting people excited about it.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE
A man standing wearing shirts from HOMAGE.

HOMAGE achieves authenticity at scale with Klaviyo

HOMAGE is a company of about 40 employees, but they punch above their weight class in the ecommerce industry.

Most brands our size stay in a lane. Thanks to Klaviyo, we can do multiple lanes at once.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

HOMAGE isn’t just occupying more lanes—the company is in “double-down mode,” barreling down the growth highway at full speed. Their latest win is landing an official NFL merchandising license. That, Okuley says, felt like a pipe dream for HOMAGE when they first started out.

We’ve grown from a small, Midwest brand in Columbus to a large, international brand with a footprint in stadiums around the globe.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

For some companies, rapid scale comes at the risk of losing sight of the personal touches that made them successful in the first place. Not so at HOMAGE.

I believe there are stories about HOMAGE that help you respect and fall in love with who we are and how it relates to you as a customer. I can’t realistically have a 20-minute intro conversation with every customer. I need customer intimacy at scale.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE

Klaviyo, he believes, is the platform that enables those personal conversations in a way that sacrifices neither scale nor authenticity. It provides a source of consistency that lets the HOMAGE team tell their story on repeat—while still being able to snag some shut-eye, Okuley jokes.

HOMAGE also credits Klaviyo with the ability to invest elsewhere in the business, because the automations Klaviyo makes possible are delivering the experience customers want.

The proof is in the numbers: So far this year, HOMAGE is seeing a 10.5% average click rate on SMS sends, according to Nottke. And customers who specifically sign up for early access to product releases—that rabidly loyal inner circle HOMAGE is focused on nurturing—click on SMS messages at a 64% clip.

Okuley anticipates that Klaviyo’s integrations and powerful, precise segmentation capabilities will lead to even more innovation down the road.

The way I shop is very different from the way my wife shops, and today we can’t create preference portals based on who a customer is shopping for. But the way Klaviyo sends data to Shopify, I see lots of opportunity for that in the future.

Nathan Okuley, VP of brand marketing, HOMAGE