How Everlane Used Incentives to Grow its Brand

Everlane's Debut Collection: Bows and Ties

Everlane's Debut Collection: Bows and Ties

After one of the most successful pre-launch social media campaigns I’ve ever seen, today, Everlane launched its first limited edition collection. The financial success of this launch is yet to be seen, but for a company that didn’t exist in the public eye until 3 weeks ago, it is set up to do very well.

The success of Everlane’s launch can be attributed to a few factors.
First, and probably most importantly, is the simple and compelling service they offer. Low-cost, high-quality goods. Discounted clothing is often appealing, but rarely does it strike the right combination of affordability and quality. Everlane manages this.

Second, and certainly not be overlooked, has been how effectively Everlane has communicated this concept. Not only do they offer a unique service, they convinced people that it was worthwhile through their concise copywriting, visually-striking site, and perceptible quality of the goods on their site.

Finally, they used social media in an extraordinarily effective way to increase the reach of their company. Tastemakers were first exposed to the “coming soon” link, where they were encouraged to sign-up and share it with friends. While many sites would leave it at that and hope their site would go viral on its own, Everlane set up a simple and immediately rewarding incentive structure. Traditionally, in online retail, incentive structures are set-up so that you don’t receive any reward until after a friend purchases something. For instance, at Gilt.com, I have a personalized link that I can share with friends. If one of them joins and then eventually purchases a Gilt item, I will receive a Gilt voucher. Not only is this a multi-step process, it is one that does not yield immediate rewards. What Everlane did was make incrementally larger rewards based simply on the number of friends who signed up for the site – whether they bought anything or not. After one friend signed-up, you get a sneak peak at the site; after 5, exclusive access to the site; after 30, a free luxury T-shirt; and after 60, free shipping for life. By setting up a tiered-incentive structure, they allowed people to share the site to their personal potential. Someone with a smaller personal network, or with less time to invest in receiving the incentives, could simply try and get one friend to join, whereas someone with a large network and a high-interest in the incentives, could spend more time evangelizing the site.

This tiered-incentive structure, combined with the inherent “likability” of the company, has put Everlane in a great position to grow their business and be successful in the future. While this success has yet to be seen, I, for one, am rooting for them.

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