Bombas started off by perfecting the humble sock into a must-have item. The question of the day is, are they also perfecting their personalization strategy?
If you're new to our LimeSpot Personalization Audits, we're digging into some of the world's best-known Shopify brands to see what they're doing right, and where they could be leaving bigger order values or conversion opportunities on the table.
Ready to step out with Bombas? Keep reading!
Bombas personalization strategy audit
The origin story for premium sock brand Bombas will warm your heart. The founders started the brand after learning that the Salvation Army called out socks as one of their most-desired items by homeless shelters. Naturally however, socks are rarely donated. With an Indiegogo campaign to start things off, Bombas' mission of 'one bought, one donated' carries through to this day, with over 45 million pairs donated.
With numbers like that, you can imagine Bombas has some decent sales to their name. The brand skyrocketed to success after appearing on Shark Tank in 2014 and receiving an investment. Today they've exploded into a $200M+ phenomenon that includes women's, men's, and kids' collections, as well as underwear, shirts, and slippers.
At first glance, it might seem like socks have less considerations for personalization than other categories like say, swimwear or footwear. But in actuality, Bombas has clearly called out a few key preferences shoppers might have - sock height, thickness, and design (solid color vs. pattern, etc.) - and built out various shopping experiences to support these nuances.
As a relatively low-cost item, another key area for Bombas to focus on would be boosting average order value (AOV). Socks have less of a 'trend cycle' for customers to follow and may be viewed as more of a commodity; potentially something to replaced on an as-needed basis only. This means it's critical for Bombas to make every sale count for as much as possible to keep their acquisition costs down relative to their typical order size. While the brand may win over customers with long-term retention, they should still be looking to grow order sizes with every interaction.
So is Bombas stepping up when it comes to personalization?
What Bombas got right
- Personalization quiz: As mentioned, at first glance, socks don't obviously have a strong link to 'personal tastes'. But Bombas has enlisted a key piece of personalization that's here to change your mind about that. The home page features a short quiz that appears in a modal window. The results are tailored based on how well they match with the requirements, and shoppers are presented with an offer for their first purchase. There's even an opportunity to insert your email (not a mandatory one) to capture more emails for Bombas' list. The only disappointing part is the site doesn't update to reflect choices captured in the quiz; and if you exit out of the quiz, your answers aren't cached either, meaning shoppers have to re-take the quiz from square one if they accidentally exit.
Areas for Bombas to enhance
- Promotion personalization: As a new customer that's not logged in, the hello bar at the top of the site highlights an offer for your first order. Alternatively, there's also a bubble elsewhere on the page that presents an offer for first-time shoppers. Hopefully / ideally, Bombas is using this real estate in a different way for returning customers, as well as returning shoppers who have yet to make a purchase. The promotion bar mentions gift cards, which is likely the default for returning shoppers, but they could introduce other promos to entice returning visitors.
Missed personalization opportunities for
- Collection pages: There is no personalization visible on any collection pages, which seems like a missed opportunity on certain generic pages that bring together multiple product categories, like 'New Arrivals'. These pages feel challenging to navigate and could be aided by spotlighting the bestsellers or trending products in a collection.
- Upselling a set: Bombas has many products that are themed to a specific micro-collection, for example, a Disney collection that can be purchased a la carte, or as a set of six pairs of socks. Bombas should absolutely be upselling customers into buying the full set, whether by promoting it on a product detail page, adding in a pop-up when a single SKU is added to cart, or upselling in the cart. While it's great the brand has pre-packaged product sets, it's bizarre that they're not actually upselling customers on them at every opportunity.
- Product detail pages (PDPs): Bombas is one of the only ecommerce sites we've audited that has zero product recommendations on their PDPs, which seems like a massive missed opportunity when you consider they often have items that are part of a collection, or have matching counterparts like socks for adults vs. kids, or socks of a certain design in different heights. Not only that, but Bombas is expanding their view well beyond socks. Not cross-selling other products from their other lines (underwear, shirts, etc.) seems like a surefire way for those ancillary lines to lose out on sales opportunities.
- Recent views: The most basic type of 'product recommendation' isn't actually a recommendation at all. Highlighting products customers have recently viewed is just best practices, to make it easy for them to navigate the site on their own terms. As a business with relatively similar SKUs, this feels like a major missed opportunity to make the browsing experience easier for shoppers.
- Full site personalization: Similar to a comment we made in our Steve Madden audit, Bombas has different collections catering to different genders and ages. Once a customer shows a preference for a particular product category, the Bombas site should adapt. Everything from updating the home page to the collection sort orders could shift based on how a customer browses or buys from the Bombas site.
Bombas might be falling victim to the very prejudice we outlined at the beginning of this audit: Not believing there's enough reason to infuse a lot of personalization into their site. But in actuality, they're missing tons of opportunities to drive more sales.
At a bare minimum, Bombas should bring in cross-sell recommendations to their product detail pages; driving sales to other products that are similar to a style a customer has shown interest in, or even driving sales to other product lines on the site a customer might not even be familiar with yet (like underwear or slippers).
Bombas could also take a cue from another brand in our personalization audits that's coming up - ThirdLove - that employs a similar personalization tactic with a quiz, but to greater effect. Stay tuned!