ECommerce and SMS: A Case Study of Bohemian Guitars

Let’s talk about Bohemian Guitars: bImage of Bohemian Guitareautiful, resonant, unconventionally artistic guitars made of oil cans that are one of Indiegogo’s hottest campaigns right now. Born three years ago as Adam and Shaun‘s basement project, the company has become a full-scale manufacturing operation. Behind this growth is strong demand and behind the amazing sales conversion metrics is SMS.

Shaun Lee, co-founder of Bohemian Guitars
Shaun Lee, co-founder of Bohemian Guitars

Last week, I spoke to Shaun Lee, co-founder and Chief Manufacturing Officer of Bohemian Guitars. I asked him what inspired the idea of closing sales over text. “We took a look at our analytics (Google Analytics and Jirafe) and noticed that a lot of purchases were coming directly from mobile. We threw Sonar’s Ping Widget into our website so that every time someone visited our site on mobile, they were given an option to send us a text. We thought it’d be a great way to connect with customers, and indeed, it seems to help them a lot.”

“It’s super easy on people,” said Shaun. “They text us and typically we get back to them immediately. We help customers decide on which product, answer all their questions, and get feedback from them. Texting is progressive, it hasn’t been done before in our industry. With Sonar, it was easy for us to start doing it, too. That’s what’s most appealing.”

SMS interactions have directly increased sales for Shaun and his team. More specifically, texting with customers through Sonar has led to ~98% growth in number of sales, and that’s just since April of this year. tweet

When Shaun told me about this dramatic increase in sales, I probed a little. What exactly about SMS (vs other channels of communication) made it easier for someone to make a decision to buy a guitar? “I don’t know what it is, but it’s almost like you know the person.” said Shaun. “How many people do you text who you don’t know? As you respond to a customer on text, you’re much more informal. You instantly make a personal connection. When you make that personal connection, people are much more inclined to follow through with a purchase.”

Shaun Makes a Sale through SMS in Sonar's interface
Shaun Makes a Sale through SMS in Sonar’s interface

Customers ask the Bohemian team all kinds of questions over text. Most of the time they’re regarding which guitars are best for them–the team helps them understand what will work for their playing styles. Sometimes the team helps customers through the checkout process: making a coupon code work or setting delivery expectations.

With the most recent Indiegogo campaign, customers have had questions on materials used and shipping. Incoming inquiries almost always involve the one or two questions to which customers need immediate answers in order to push them over the line to make the purchase.

For Shaun and Adam, the priority is clear: helping customers have all the information they need for their potential purchase. “It’s kind of necessary for us and hasn’t been a burden at all. I think for companies selling hardware or a physical product of any kind, it’s hugely valuable to be able to connect with customers. It’s a really big deal.”

Bohemian Guitars has reached over 300% of its fundraising goal with almost 900 backers in just 13 days. If you haven’t backed it already, back them and get your Bohemian Guitar today!

Team Sonar with Mike's new Bohemian Motor Oil Guitar
Team Sonar with Mike’s new Bohemian Motor Oil Guitar

 Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 3.50.20 PM

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