2015-02
7 Reasons Your Retail Business Needs SMS
by Wasif Kasim
 | 
19 February 2015

A massive 91 per cent of adults have their mobile phone within arm’s reach, 24/7, according to a Nielsen study. However, despite the high smartphone penetration, most Australian retailers aren’t tapping into the full potential of SMS to increase sales, improve the customer experience and reduce operating costs. Here, we reveal seven compelling reasons to tap into the power of SMS.

For retailers, as for any other business, there are two huge advantages to SMS. The first is that it is practically ubiquitous: every mobile handset is SMS enabled and you’d be hard pushed to find a mobile user who doesn’t understand and know how to use it. Secondly, SMS is incredibly flexible. Underneath the relatively simple messaging format is a huge range of SMS uses retailers can tap into for a whole variety of reasons – not only to improve the overall customer experience but to also improve communications throughout the business.

Here are seven ways retailers should be using SMS:

1. SMS Marketing

Mobile marketing has long been one of the most popular ways retailers are using SMS, and it continues to present compelling opportunities to reach out to and engage customers. From mobile vouchers to sale alerts and daily deals, when it comes to marketing, the power of SMS is in its immediacy and intimacy. Once customers have opted in, you can start creating engaging text message offers and sales alerts that reward customers for their loyalty, drive conversions and nurture long-term relationships. Discover more ways to kick-start your SMS marketing campaign.

SMS templates:

• [COMPANY NAME] Massive Sale, with [X%] off [PRODUCT NAME]. Text STOP to opt-out.

• 
[COMPANY NAME] Get further [$X] off this 24 hour online daily deal! Coupon code: DAILY. Click here to view: [URL]. Text STOP to opt-out.

• [COMPANY NAME] Don’t miss out! Massive sale on [DATE] at [STORE LOCATION] with [X%] off everything! Text STOP to opt-out.

2. Product recalls

SMS not only has a 98 per cent open rate, but 90 per cent of messages are read within just three minutes, according to Frost & Sullivan. If that doesn’t make SMS a smart way to get urgent messages seen by customers, frankly we don’t know what does. In the retail space, there’s nothing more urgent than a product recall. Imagine one of your suppliers has informed you of batch of contaminated food. In addition to the requirements set by the ACCC, you can go a step further by sending out an urgent broadcast via SMS to your entire customer or staff contact list, thereby minimising the risk of illness and protecting your brand reputation.

SMS template:

[COMPANY NAME] Product recall for [PRODUCT NAME]. Customer holding this product at home, please call [NUMBER] for a refund.

3. Employee rostering and alerts

SMS messaging is not only for customer communications; the high open and read rates make it the most efficient way to reach your employees too. Your employees are rarely, if ever, in the same place at the same time. And in retail, you can’t rely on staff being in front of a computer with access to their emails. SMS lets you reach them all quickly and at the same time.

SMS template:

[COMPANY NAME] We have a shift available on [DATE], [TIME]. Call [NUMBER] if you are able to attend.

4. Online order confirmation & delivery updates

One of the biggest frustrations for shoppers – both online and offline – is waiting at home for a delivery with no idea when it will arrive. Retailers can answer this need and simultaneously improve relationships with customers by sending SMS confirmation and delivery updates.

The text message may alert them an hour before a delivery is due to arrive, announce the day and time slot of the delivery, or tell them when the item has been dispatched from the warehouse. You can also give them an option to respond by SMS if they want to change any details. It might be simple, but this text message increases the chances of a successful delivery and boosts customer satisfaction – all in a cost-effective way.

SMS templates:

• [COMPANY NAME] Your online order will be delivered on [DATE], [TIME]. Call [NUMBER] for customer care. Text STOP to opt-out.

• [COMPANY NAME]. Your online order will be delivered on [DATE], [TIME]. To change any details please text CHANGE to request a call back. Text STOP to opt-out.

5. Internal IT monitoring

In an age when retailers rely so heavily on IT for business process and customer transactions, it couldn’t be more important to get IT issues fixed promptly. SMS is an efficient way to notify the right people when important IT issues occur so they can take swift action.

SMS template:

[P1/P2/P3] resolution: [ISSUE], [DURATION OF ISSUE], [SERVICES IMPACTED], CUSTOMER IMPACT

6. Building your customer database

If you’re looking for a way to supercharge your customer database growth, SMS works a treat. Consumers are more willing to provide their personal details and subscribe to loyalty programs when they receive a reward, coupon or discount via SMS. Create a strong call to action that will compel customer to text, and include it on posters and point of sale materials, in social media and letterbox advertising, and other relevant communications. Once they have sent the text, consumers receive the below message as a reward.

SMS template:

[COMPANY NAME] For the chance to win [PRODUCT], join [COMPANY]’S SMS club! Text [KEYWORD] to [MOBILE NUMBER] to join.

Find out how Spotify Australia used a similar tactic to get more subscribers to their online music service SMS marketing articles. Ready to discuss your SMS strategy with the experts? Contact Salmat’s MessageNet today.

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About the author
Wasif Kasim
Campaign Manager - Digital

Wasif Kasim is the Campaign Manager - Digital for Salmat with over 8 years of experience across Fortune 500, consulting & start-up organisations. Wasif is passionate about inbound marketing, content marketing, and all things digital. He specialises in growing marketing driven leads, conversion optimisation, sales and ultimately business results.

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