Shapewear retailer Shapermint only launched in 2018, but it has more than $150 million in online sales to date and is profitable.

Online-only shapewear retailer Shapermint credits A/B testing and profitable customer acquisition as keys to its success. The retailer has roughly 3 million customers, and it pulled in more than $100 million in sales in 2019, which was Shapermint’s first full year of operations.

Shapermint focuses on a positive message for women

Shapermint sells shapewear from 13 brands, including Miraclesuit, Curveez and Maidenform, as well as a few of its own private-label products. It sells its private-label products on Amazon in addition to its own ecommerce site because it knows a lot of consumers prefer to, or exclusively, shop there, says Stephanie Biscomb, head of brand at Shapermint, who did not reveal an Amazon sales figure. Part of the retailer’s goal and marketing message is to “change the conversation around shapewear,” Biscomb says.

Some women, Biscomb says, may feel that wearing shapewear is embarrassing or that they’re not happy with their bodies. However, Shapermint wants to promote shapewear as a body-positive product, and that it can help women feel confident about how they look, she says.

This was the central message behind Shapermint’s recent video ad campaign, “Feel Like the Masterpiece You Are.” The marketing agency Harmon Brothers, which is known for its quirky advertising videos for products such as The Squatty Potty and Camp Chef, created the video for Shapermint.

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Social media influencers help spread the Shapermint message online

Shapermint in November 2019 promoted the video on paid and organic social media, plus email. It also hired influencers that “reflect a diverse range of females and experiences,” to promote the video, create brand awareness and direct traffic to its campaign marketing page, Biscomb says.

The campaign was a huge success and profitable, Biscomb says, and the video has nearly 30 million views on Facebook and another 15 million across all its other platforms, such as YouTube, says Massimiliano Tirocchi, chief marketing officer and co-founder at Shapermint.

The campaign ran in November and December, and in December alone Shapermint profitably acquired more than 200,000 new customers, Tirocchi says.

Shapermint turns a profitable customer acquisition

Profitable customer acquisition means that when factoring in the cost of what it took to acquire that customer, such as the cost of the ad and the profit margin on the purchase, that Shapermint made a profit. Some retailers do not turn a profit when acquiring a first-time customer, as the cost of the ad and a promotion on that purchase could supersede the profit margin. Biscomb describes its customer acquisition strategy as structured and formulaic.

“As part of the entire campaign that ran during November and December we tracked, with partners at Facebook, a lift of more than 15% in revenue for who were impacted by this integral campaign and an increase in top of mind of 40%,” Tirocchi says.

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The numbers aside, Shapermint was proud that the video helped spark body-positive conversation about shapewear in the comments section of the video, Biscomb says.

“When we first launched, we would be the ones defending the choice to wear shapewear in our comments section,” she says. “Today, women everywhere are jumping into the discussion, showing that there is not just one way to see this and that various positions are valid.”

Shapermint’s marketing strategy: A-B Testing

Besides the campaign being a well-done video with influential people promoting it, the campaign was a success because it was built on the retailer’s marketing strategy of profitable customer acquisition, Biscomb says.

“A/B testing is core to our values and who we are,” she says.

Every week, Shapermint is A-B testing new creative advertising and messages to see if it resonates with consumers. For example, it will show consumers using shapewear products and test different copy on the ads. If one of the ads is generating more traffic and conversion, it will iterate on that ad to make it even more successful, such as trying alternate messages, she says. At any one time, it could be testing hundreds of ads, she says.

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Every month, Shapermint spends about $5 million on marketing, with roughly 80% of that going to Facebook, Biscomb says. Shapermint considers its body-positive marketing a success, as 48% of its customers have never tried shapewear before purchasing on Shapermint, she says.

Part of its success is adapting quickly, whether that is because consumer preferences change or Facebook changes its algorithms, Biscomb says. And this happens a lot. When it first launched, Shapermint’s ads had lower video quality and were more aggressively marketing the product, she says. The ads have slowly changed; they more often feature its brand message and are not as focused on the benefits of the products, she says.

“Once we get a better relationship with customers, we can speak to them in a more personal way,” she says.

Its marketing team is about 60 employees, roughly a third of its 180-person company, she says.

The retailer also sends editorial emails, not just marketing emails, to its consumers. For example, it will send an email with the message, “You look gorgeous today,” or a link to a new blog post. Biscomb estimates that at least 40% of its emails are editorial content. All emails, regardless of marketing or editorial, do result in incremental sales, she says.

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Next, Shapermint wants to test its advertising chops with TV ads and podcasts to diversify its promotional strategy and expand brand awareness, she says.

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