Challenge: Bring word-of-mouth referrals into the digital landscape.

SPANX has relied on word-of-mouth marketing as a driver of sales from its earliest days, starting with the moment Oprah Winfrey endorsed SPANX as one of her “favorite things” in 2000.

SPANX went on to become a massive retail success. But as the retail landscape evolved to focus more on e-commerce and digital marketing, the company needed a way to translate its strong word-of-mouth marketing to the digital world.

“SPANX is built on word-of-mouth marketing, whether it’s people telling their friends about our products or getting Oprah’s seal of approval. But how could we grow via word-of-mouth in the digital realm?” —Nadina Bourgeois, Senior Digital Paid Manager, SPANX

SPANX - Friendbuy Case Study


Retail Clothing


United States

SPANX founder Sara Blakely was getting ready for a party when she realized she didn’t have the right undergarment. She cut the feet off her control top pantyhose and the SPANX revolution began! Since then, SPANX has secured its place in pop culture with daily mentions everywhere from CNN to Saturday Night Live.


higher AOV from referred customers than standard order


conversion rate from referred customers


higher conversion rate with category specific campaigns

Solution: Implement Friendbuy’s referral marketing platform.

Friendbuy helped SPANX bring its word-of-mouth marketing into the digital world and transform customers into loyal brand advocates. 

Advocates shared their passion for SPANX by referring friends through email, personal links, and social media, thereby increasing SPANX’s digital footprint and expanding the reach of the brand.

One of SPANX’s first initiatives was to launch simultaneous referral campaigns for high-growth product categories. In these campaigns, referred customers are presented with images and messaging specific to those product categories. This strategy increased conversion rates by an impressive 26 percent!

Friendbuy also helped amplify tent-pole events such as Black Friday. Discounts offered during these events are typically deeper than those offered via the referral program. Rather than take down evergreen referral offers during those events, the Friendbuy team helps SPANX leverage referrals to increase event awareness and engagement, further supporting the success of these events. 

Friendbuy also conducts frequent A/B testing to further optimize results. One recent test on an email sharing widget drove a 21 percent increase in share rate via email and a 6 percent increase in conversion rate.

“Most software providers sell the tool and then leave you to figure out the rest. Friendbuy is the complete opposite. They’ve been the most hands-on of any software as a service company I’ve ever worked with.”

Results: Achieved a 15% conversion rate from referred customers.

SPANX has achieved a healthy 15 percent conversion rate from referred customers with its Friendbuy-powered referral program.

In addition, the average order value (AOV) made through referrals is 8 percent higher than standard orders.

Several campaigns have been particularly successful, such as Friendbuy’s product category campaigns which increased conversion rates by 26 percent for certain categories.

Today, SPANX no longer wonders how it can bring the power of word-of-mouth marketing into the digital domain. It’s doing so, and doing a lot more, with Friendbuy.

“The Friendbuy account team has been great to work with. We go to them with new ideas, and they’ll run with it, or they’ll spot new opportunities and bring them to us. Together, we’re always pushing to see what we can do to maximize results.”

“Our customers love sharing SPANX through the Friendbuy platform, which generates a stream of new customers for us.”

Nadina Bourgeois

Senior Digital Paid Manager, SPANX

Read the Full Story

Download the full case study for more details on how SPANX achieved referral marketing success.

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