Email strategy teardown: Converse vs Toms

Great marketing is successful because it treats users as individuals.

Why Converse and Toms?

Great marketing is successful because it treats users as individuals — real living, breathing people— not just as email addresses. Great email marketing strategies succeed for the same reason.

I decided to break down the email strategy of two house name brands: local mega brand Converse and west coast giant TOMS.

I signed up for emails with Converse and TOMS. Took a few actions.

Then watched to see how the experience unfolded.

They’re both successful shoe brands that the Klaviyo team loves. We wanted to take a look under the hood and examine their email marketing strategy to see if they were doing everything that they could to send the best emails.

The backstory of Converse

Converse is a now-famous shoe brand with roots in Malden, Massachusetts right outside of Boston. Converse is known for their rubber sole and canvas upper shoe that was originally designed for basketball. In 2003, the company was purchased by Nike for $305 million.

A look at the history of TOMS

TOMS brand is built around their One for One business model, where they promise to donate a pair of shoes to someone in a developing nation for every pair of shoes sold. Founded in 2006 by a former contestant of the reality TV show “The Amazing Race”, TOMS has grown into a huge company.

Here's what happened with Converse

action 1

We signed up for their email newsletter and received welcome series and email newsletters.

action 2

We abandoned a cart and received robust abandon cart auto responders.

action 3

We purchased after the abandoned cart and received order confirmation and shipping emails.

Here's what happened with Toms...

action 1

We signed up for email newsletter and received promotions a few days later.

action 2

We abandoned a cart and they received an abandoned cart email series.

action 3

We purchased after the abandoned cart and received an order confirmation email.

Email deep dive

Let’s look at their three week email strategy.

1. Sign up for their emails

2. One week later abandoned a cart

3. Make a purchase a week later

Converse Emails

converse welcome
converse welcome
converse abandoned cart
converse abandoned cart
converse order confirmation
converse order confirmation

TOMS emails

toms welcome
toms welcome
toms abandoned cart
toms abandoned cart
toms order confirmation
toms order confirmation

Get helpful articles, real-life success stories, and email marketing insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Email strategy deep dive

Let’s look at their three week email strategy.

1. Sign up for their emails

2. One week later abandoned a cart

3. Make a purchase a week later

Daily email strategy

Converse

TOMs

Welcome

Abandoned cart

Promotion

Newsletter

Order confirmation

Shipping confirmation

Promotion

Newsletter

Delivery confirmation

Newsletter

Subscribed to emails

Abandoned cart

Purchase

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Subscribed to emails

Abandoned cart

Purchase

Promotion

Newsletter

Abandoned cart

Abandoned cart 2

Promotion

Order confirmation

Shipping confirmation

Newsletter

Newsletter

Promotion

Promotion

Newsletter

Newsletter

The good, the bad, the ugly: Converse

positive review

Helpful visuals

They included pictures of the style that I abandoned and also included an image in the confirmation and order delivery emails that I received. Had I placed multiple orders, or done a lot of online shopping, this would have been really helpful.

positive review

Dynamic recommendations

They used dynamic product recommendations in many of their emails.

negative review

Multiple from senders

Stick to one from sender to minimize confusion.

negative review

Boring preview text

Converse should spice up their preview text.
Right now it isn’t saying anything or it is boring.

The good, the bad, the ugly: Toms

positive review

Dynamic coupons

The introduction of a dynamic coupon that auto-populates into a new subscribers shopping cart was interesting and kept me on the site. This seems to be a new play for them.
positive review

Shipping confirmation email

A timely shipping confirmation email was a great post-purchase experience.

negative review

Fix preview text

All of their preview text was broken. This is just good housekeeping and should increase opens.

negative review

Limited images

Toms should include images of the products that were abandoned in their follow up.

And the winner is..


With a strong brand, multi-touch abandoned cart, dynamic recommendations, and helpful visuals, Converse is the winner in this battle.

converse shoes
Email strategy teardown: Converse vs. TOMS from Klaviyo

Get helpful articles, real-life success stories, and email marketing insights delivered straight to your inbox.