Build Brand Loyalty with Retail SMS
- 15 Feb 2023
For retailers, nothing is better than brand loyalty. If you can create a positive image of your brand in people’s minds, not only are they likely to become repeat customers, they’ll also help you market your brand to their friends and acquaintances.
Text messaging, a.k.a. SMS (short message service), may be the best tool retailers have to build brand loyalty. With texting you can not only be in touch with people who might want to buy from you, you can also interact with them.
Why is SMS better than other communications channels? Virtually everyone has a cellphone, so virtually everyone can access SMS. Text messages have a 98% open rate, and 90% of texts are opened within three minutes. Those stats are much higher than comparable rates for email. And at less than a penny per message, SMS is less expensive than alternatives such as direct mail or newspaper advertising. Finally, since your messages arrive directly on people’s devices, you can personalize your messages for each customer.
Virtually anything you could send via email or direct mail works better with SMS. You can use SMS to:
- Attract new customers: Casual shoppers that find your website can sign up to receive coupons or notices of special sales.
- Encourage repeat business: By staying in touch with customers, you keep your brand at the top of their mind.
- Simplify customer purchases: If you have a repeat customer, you can text them a verification code for them to enter. Since you already have their payment and shipping information in your systems, all they have to do is enter the code and confirm their purchase.
- Send operational messages: You can use SMS not just for marketing but also for operational tasks such as order confirmations, status updates, in-stock/pickup notifications, and delivery notifications.
- Enhance security: By sending one-time passwords via SMS, you can make sure that customers’ account records are accessible only to the person whose phone number is associated with an account.
Using SMS for retail marketing
SMS is especially useful for retail marketing. In the last six months, Statistica reports 79% of smartphone users made a purchase on their mobile device, and that mobile commerce makes up 73% of the global share of ecommerce. Implementing retail SMS marketing is a great way to meet customers on a channel they already use.
The ultimate metric for retail marketing is increased sales. Learning about a product is a key step in selling it. You can use SMS to send a link to a web page where people can learn about a product.
A side benefit of that process is analytics. By customizing the link, you can see how many people used it and what kind of demographics they represented, which you can then use to refine your message for the next outreach message.
People that opt in to receiving marketing messages have a bias toward purchases. You can boost sales by sending them digital coupons that they can use online or in person (to increase store visits), or tell them about special sales for opted-in members. Even if they don’t buy today, staying in touch keeps your brand at the forefront of their attention, which can build brand loyalty — as long as you don’t cross the line into spam by a too-frequent cadence of outreach.
In addition, customers appreciate information they can use. You can use SMS to let customers know that their order was shipped, or new stock arrived, or tell them about special holiday store hours.
SMS can benefit retail businesses, but you have to remember to stay compliant with national and carrier regulations, which differ from country to country. Most countries require businesses to obtain permission from consumers before sending them text messages. They may also limit the hours at which you can send messages, and require certain kinds of identification, such as a caller ID or sender ID.
Retailers can encourage consumer opt-ins by offering them special discounts. For example, you might ask consumers to sign up for SMS updates, and when they do, you text them a promo code that gives them 15% off an upcoming purchase. That’s a win for both the business and the customer.
Fortunately, you can get a head start on most of your compliance issues by using an SMS API from a cloud communications platform like Plivo. We operate in more than 190 countries and build in compliance with local compliance requirements. (It’s still up to you to make sure your customers opt in to receiving messages though.)
Think about the many ways your retail business can use SMS, then get a free Plivo trial account and start using text messaging to foster brand loyalty.