Case Study: Tipsy Elves

Tipsy Elves Leverages Live Chat for Ugly Christmas Sweater Market

Tipsy Elves logoWe talked to Evan Mendelsohn, co-founder of Tipsy Elves, about how live chat has measurably increased conversion opportunities and organizational efficiencies during their busy sales seasons.

For the founders of Tipsy Elves, the ugly Christmas sweater movement has generated more than just laughs. They have built a global business around tacky designs that serve as a nostalgic tribute to the fashion disasters of the 80’s. Their collection of award-winning ugly Christmas sweaters, retro ski suits, American flag apparel (and lots more) is meeting the growing demand for conversational throwback merchandise.

Tipsy Elves Ugly Christmas Sweaters and LeggingsTipsy Elves Retro Ski SuitsTipsy Elves Patriotic Apparel

With holiday sales comprising a large portion of their annual revenue, Tipsy Elves’ website traffic spikes during the November-December shopping season. They spend months preparing for the holiday rush so they can capitalize on conversion opportunities during this high traffic period. Live chat is one of the key tools that the Tipsy Elves team employs to maximize their sales potential.

Easing the path to purchase with live chat.

Since implementing SnapEngage live chat on their website in 2012, Tipsy Elves has experienced a measurable increase in conversions. Mendelsohn says, “Our live chat feature allows us to answer customers’ questions in real-time, and these questions can serve as obstacles in the purchase process. Customers often have sizing or availability questions, and by answering these questions in real-time, we are able to establish a level of trust so they can place their orders with confidence.”

This type of proactive customer service has the added benefit of building loyalty and promoting a strong referral business, both of which result in continued growth for their business.

Maximizing efficiencies during busy sales periods.

Mendelsohn also recognizes the efficiencies that live chat has brought to their sales and support operations. “Phone and email support can solve the same problems, but we’ve found our average time per call far exceeds the average time per chat, and the delays associated with email make it challenging to satisfy customers’ needs.” Another major advantage to live chat is the ability to assist multiple customers at once. “Live chat allows our agents to handle several tickets simultaneously which takes a big load off of our support team.”

The Tipsy Elves team relies on several of SnapEngage’s live chat features to handle their incoming live chat volume and make the most of every customer communication. Some of their favorite tools include:

  • ShortcutsTipsy Elves Live Chat: Agents use canned messages to greet incoming chatters and respond to frequently asked questions. The reduction in time spent typing equates to being able to assist more customers while cutting down on chat duration.
  • Visitor Information: Agents rely on SnapEngage’s robust visitor information to get a quick introduction to incoming chatters. Information includes: customer records, geolocation, weather in their home town, page on site, referring URL, search engine keywords, and much more!
  • Custom Chat Box: In a niche market, Tipsy Elves relies on strong branding elements to convey the spirit of their products. They employ SnapEngage’s custom chat box and chat button options to reinforce their branding. (Check out SnapEngage’s custom chat design gallery.)


Preparation is the key to success.

Although Tipsy Elves continues to expand their product line beyond the ugly Christmas sweater market, they still largely rely on holiday sales for a large portion of their business. The key to meeting the holiday demand is preparation. “We do our best to be analytical and pragmatic in our approach [to holiday planning] and make sure we have the support in place to support our biggest spikes.”

Check out: 7 Ways to Prepare your Live Chat Team for the Holidays (or any busy season).

What’s next for Tipsy Elves?

Mendelsohn and his team are looking ahead to the future of Tipsy Elves, expanding beyond the ugly Christmas sweater market. “With nothing but Christmas products from 2011-2014, we’ve learned first hand just how tough it is to be a largely seasonal business.  With the launch of our new collections such as the patriotic collection and our ski collection, we are now seeing a much more balanced sales curve. Next year we plan to launch a few additional collections to help balance things out.” The Tipsy Elves team will look to SnapEngage to continue to scale their customer engagement and support efforts with the growing demands as they expand into these new markets.

How to Boost Sales with Live Chat


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