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Customer Story

How Intercom helped Vend convert more users

With Nick Houldsworth, Head of Marketing

At a glance

  • 12,000+

    retailers using Vend

  • 30


  • 30%

    increase in trial-to-paid conversions


Vend is an award-winning, cloud-based point-of-sale and retail management solution for store owners to have centralized control of their retail stores, both online and off.


Auckland, Toronto, San Francisco Industry


Key features used

Customer data


Founded in Auckland in 2010, Vend is a cloud-based point-of-sale software used by over 12,000 retailers around the world. It integrates with Paypal, Shopify, Xero, and other major e-commerce platforms so store owners can sell both online and off. Vend also manages inventory and can easily track stock levels across multiple locations, as well as order new stock.


Vend offers a 1-month free trial, and then several levels of paid accounts. However, most of the time the person who signs up for a trial is not the one using the application. The challenge for the company in its early stages was that it didn’t know who, when, or how to engage the right people to convert free accounts to paid. As a self-service product, Vend keeps its signup process intentionally lean and asks for only one person’s contact details to begin a trial. Often, however, this person wasn’t the user. This signup flow lent itself well to high visitor-to-sign up conversions, but posed a massive challenge to the sales and marketing team focused on converting trial users to paid ones.

“We needed a frictionless way to get in touch with our customers towards the end of their free trials. We didn’t want live chat and email was too easy to ignore,” says Nick Houldsworth, Head of Marketing. “We saw other companies create their own in-app pop-up message which seemed like a good idea. After all the number one interaction our customers have with us is our product.”

Another missing piece was customer intelligence. Salesforce was in place to track accounts and leads, but Nick wanted a better snapshot of his customers.


Nick said Intercom ticked off all of his boxes for a “lightweight CRM with a strong communications engine.” The team embedded Intercom and was “blown away” by the live user intelligence coming in.

“I remember the moment we turned on Intercom - as the map of our customers began to populate in real time, we literally high fived each other!”

The map view allowed the team to discover correlations and opportunities immediately.

“Previously we only had country-level metadata for each customer. But to reach offline businesses in huge markets like in the United States, you definitely need to be more strategic in how you localize your efforts. As soon as we installed Intercom we could immediately see dense clusters in places like Portland, Toronto, and San Francisco.”

Next, Vend used Intercom’s segmentation engine to create subsets of customers based on a number of factors, such as user events, engagement, plan, company size, etc. The sales team integrated Intercom with Salesforce and were able to match users to individual sales account managers, who are responsible for guiding trial users through the funnel. Sales representatives can also manipulate their own segments to identify upsell opportunities and send an auto message to a subset of customers.

For instance, Vend sales representatives send the following in-app message to users on the lowest-tiered plan, encouraging them to upgrade their accounts for extra support. The message’s open rate was 100% and prompted nearly 10% to upgrade immediately:

A promotion targeting active users on the lowest-tier plan

The following in-app auto message gets triggered to drive users further through the funnel. Vend knew that one important step was installing Vend on a compatible device. When a trial user has logged in a few times, yet has not used the cash register, the following in-app message appears:

This in-app message triggers for relatively new trial users

Vend's Marketing team also uses Intercom to promote one-off events such as a meetup or a webinar. Again, the goal is to convert prospects who are aware of Vend, or in our trial, but not yet customers.

Sales account managers create auto messages that target their leads by region:

An email sent to new users in the UK inviting them to join a webinar


Vend’s sales and marketing teams have saved countless hours of engineering work by using Intercom’s segmentation engine.

“Intercom’s segmentation allows them to quickly discover who they need to talk to, and when, all without having to ask an engineer for help,” Nick says. Furthermore, in-app messaging has been 10x more effective than email at engaging trial users. “The pop-up announcement keeps our customers within Vend and helps them use our product better by communicating to them at exactly the right time.”

The result of being able to deliver targeted communications is sheer efficiency. Nick says that Intercom has given the sales team the ability to manage a large number of leads very quickly, leading to a 30% increase in trial-to-paid conversions.

“We’ve grown exponentially since we installed Intercom, and we’ve integrated different business tools. But from a sales conversion point of view, Intercom is the best tool we’ve ever put in.”

Intercom has also helped Vend maintain its quirky, personable brand personality even as it scales.

"Part of the attractiveness for customers is for them to feel like they know you as a company and that you’re not just another anonymous web app. We didn’t want to lose that close relationship with customers as we scaled, and using Intercom allowed us to maintain that even as we do one to many communications."

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