BUST: A Hard Landing as Soft Surroundings Files for Bankruptcy

Case Study: Fashion Retailer Boosts Engagement With Data-Driven Initiatives

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BUST: A Hard Landing as Soft Surroundings Files for Bankruptcy

Merchant: 2nd Time Around
Location: East Coast & Chicago
Size: 40+ boutiques
Platforms: Thanx, Web Decisions, Red Point
Bottom Line: Social commerce is now responsible for 12% to 15% of all sales for the consignment fashion retailer, and data-driven initiatives are increasingly valuable.

Customer acquisition has never been a problem for the team at 2nd Time Around. The fashion consignment retailer offers a unique value proposition, selling pre-owned designer clothing and giving consignors a way to monetize what’s already in their closets. But generating the type of data that’s necessary to get a complete picture of how customers are interacting at 2nd Time Around has been a challenge, and CEO Kristin Kohler Burrows was already looking for answers when she got a call from the team at Thanx.

“We had been using a card-based loyalty program for a while, but it was taxing on our stores and difficult to manage consistently across locations,” she says. “We were immediately impressed with Thanx’s services and particularly delighted to see how easy the implementation process would be for our in-store associates, as well as for our customers who are extremely reliant on using their phones for everything from banking to ordering products to social media. They also provided us with data on how the Thanx branded app could not only increase purchase size, but also transform purchase behavior.”

Burrows opted to take a slow and strategic approach, testing the new Thanx program at 14 locations, and only now rolling it out in full force with the launch of the 2nd Time Around branded app. The store’s new loyalty program ties directly to customer credit cards, giving Burrows and her team a more complete picture of customer purchase histories, visit frequencies, and the overall experience that customers are having at 2nd Time Around.

“Since using the Thanx app, we’ve seen huge increases in ATS [average transaction size]. The average check size is $232 for our rewards members, about 147% higher than the typical transaction size,” Burrows says. “We’ve also seen a 19% increase in check size when our customers are trying to increase spend to redeem more rewards.”

2nd Time Around is also using Thanx’s marketing and engagement tools, including in-store counter cards, an email sign-up template, a member dashboard, and a “net promoter score.”

“We especially love the net promoter scores, which ties directly to customer lifetime value. 2nd Time Around customers can give us a net promoter score and leave feedback directly within the app—I get an email immediately with their feedback and have the ability to respond directly,” Burrows says. “I love having the opportunity to answer that feedback directly and personally—sometimes with another question or even credit toward their next purchase. It’s that one-to-one direct communication that not only engages customers but also retains them long term.”

With the launch of a branded app, Burrows hopes to see more email signups and overall interaction with the brand.

“Right now, we use Thanx with our email marketing and Instagram,” she says. “We’re excited to have the 2nd Time Around app icon right on our customers’ phones.”

Social commerce is an area that’s increasingly important for fashion retailers, and 2nd Time Around is no exception. Burrows says the company does 12% to 15% of sales through social commerce, and she’s looking to expand that figure with a new e-commerce initiative set to launch in May.

“Given our model with 40+ stores and various product procurement initiatives, it’s really important to us that the back-end logistics don’t impact the front-end experience and that our customers—whether online or in-store—receive a seamless experience,” Burrows says.

In addition to a new e-commerce platform, 2nd Time Around is also testing a new CRM database through Web Decisions, and a marketing automation platform through Red Point, to provide more personal, relevant, and customized communications with customers and consignors.

“Before engaging with a new technology like this, we always create a realistic pro forma with costs and expected return to determine what the ROI will be,” she says. “If possible, we always try to test out these new initiatives to see if our assumptions are correct and if the pro forma pans out.”

Looking forward, Burrows hopes to see continued engagement with the store’s branded app. She’s also in the process of expanding 2nd Time Around’s social media presence with a more distinct strategy across multiple platforms.

“We want to make sure every customer who walks into our store gets an experience that’s personal and rewarding,” she says. “By connecting with our clientele on their mobile devices, we can ensure that every customer leaves our stores feeling smart and beautiful.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.