How texting customers like a human unlocked growth for Embr Labs

Back in November of last year, my co-founder Vlad and I were talking about a Boston-based brand that seemed to be blowing up all over the internet. 

If you’ve been caught in their Facebook ad funnel (and, there’s a good chance you have),
you probably know what I’m talking about. 

The brand is called Embr Labs, and they’ve created a new category called Thermal Wellness. They sell a product called the Embr Wave. It’s a wearable that cools or warms you (hence, thermal) with the press of a button to improve comfort, reduce stress, and help you fall asleep faster (wellness).

As a former founder of another Boston-based direct-to-consumer brand, I was intrigued. How did this small brand come out of nowhere and start showing up in WiredWareable, and my Facebook feed (literally every day)?

Based on my experience with my DTC bike company, I had a feeling that Embr would be a perfect fit for what we were doing at Tone.

Over the next 2 months, we’d help Embr Labs save 5 digits of revenue during its critical holiday period through a humanized abandoned cart SMS strategy. 

Let’s go back to the beginning and talk about how we made this happen.

The Wave is an expensive, high-consideration purchase. To sell something like that successfully, you need to clearly communicate all of the value propositions. You need to earn the trust of the consumer enough for them to drop $300. And you need a super tight funnel. 

So I reached out to Jake Abrams, the VP of Marketing at Embr, to talk SMS marketing.

To my surprise, Jake replied pretty quickly:


Over coffee, Jake and I talked about the challenges he faces as the leader of a fast-growing DTC brand.

“Every single day, I’m thinking about what I can do to drive more revenue at a lower CAC. There is a constant battle to figure out what to focus on in order to accomplish this.

Do I focus on layering in additional acquisition channels? Developing more creative? Optimizing the website? I only have so much time. Every experiment needs to have a chance improving one step of the funnel to drive more revenue while reducing CAC.”

DTC is a challenging space to operate in, so I let Jake keep venting…

“The stuff that really keeps me up at night are the leaky bottom-of-funnel issues, like abandoned carts. We’re running your standard abandoned cart email playbook. But the open rates are kinda low. We tried some SMS. Unclear how well it’s working. We’re losing so many people at this step, and most of them aren’t even seeing our offer…”

This was a pain point that I’ve heard from many of the other brands that we work with who were running the old abandoned cart playbook. You know, the one that goes like this:

  1. Customer abandon their cart
  2. You email them and they don’t open it
  3. You lose $$

At Tone, we’ve simplified this process. This is the new way of marketing:

  1. Customer abandons their cart
  2. We text them, answer questions and offer a small discount
  3. They come back and buy

Embr had experimented with another SMS messaging provider. But the results were subpar due to the impersonalized nature of the messaging. I mean, who wants to receive a text message that looks like this?


During my conversation with Jake, I promised him that we would start driving revenue within 24 hours of setting up Tone on the Embr Shopify store.

And to his surprise, we actually did.

So, how did we make this happen?

At Tone, we’ve designed our SMS messaging platform based on a couple of assumptions:

1. We live in an “always on” texting culture.

Have you ever realized that our world runs on a never-ending flow of asynchronous text message conversations with dozens of people?

2. People expect to talk with businesses the same way they talk with their friends.

People expect instant, human interactions through a couple thumb taps. Brand emails and impersonalized text messages do not jive with this expectation.

3. To be successful, businesses need to deliver real two-way conversations with customers

If you’re a customer who’s used to real text messages, there is a massive difference between receiving this:

Or this:

And instead, getting something like this when you abandon your cart:

Or something like this when there’s an exciting new offer:

Personalized text messages get more replies, more clicks, and significantly higher abandoned cart recovery rates. This translates into more revenue and lower CAC, since you’re converting a higher percentage of the most qualified people in your entire funnel.

With Embr Labs, the results we achieved translated into a massive improvement in business results.

Embr’s abandoned checkout texts drove a 51% reply rate. That means that more than 1 out of every 2 people who received an Embr abandoned checkout text message actually replied. When was the last time you actually replied to a brand email? It just doesn’t happen.

Embr recovered 36% of abandoned carts that fell into the SMS flow. That is almost double the conversion rate for abandoned cart email flows.

This translated into 5 digits of saved revenue during Embr’s critical Q4 sales period, generating a 100x ROI for the Tone platform. This lowered customer acquisition costs and helped deliver an amazing Q4 for the brand.

And if you’re thinking, “yeah this sounds great, but I don’t have the time to get all this set up” – think again.

As founders and marketers ourselves, we know that people like Jake don’t have the time to take hours setting up and monitoring new tools.

That’s why Tone only takes a few minutes to set up.

“I jumped on one call with the account team and had the app set up within minutes. Having tried dozens of different Shopify apps over the years, I was surprised that something this powerful took so little time to onboard.”
– Jake Abrams, VP Marketing, Embr Labs

Beyond the onboarding process, we make sure to use your existing resources to make sure we’re not sucking up your time. Our superhuman (but still real human) SMS sales team leverages your team’s knowledge base to instantly become experts about your product.

When we don’t know something, we refer to your support channels.

And with most conversations, all we need is a small discount to push the customer over the edge into a buyer:

This is the magic of texting your customers like a human.

“If you’re not running the SMS abandoned checkout recovery with Tone, you’re driving up your CAC for no reason.
– Jake Abrams, VP Marketing at Embr Labs

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

Find out how much $$ your
e-commerce store is leaving behind

Shoppers are leaving your site because of unanswered questions. Discover how much incremental revenue you could be recovering.