We Australians are a different kettle of fish to the rest of the world, we know it, the rest of the world knows it. We’re especially different around this time of year and the Christmas period. Why is that? Well, whilst the rest of the western world is coming into a deep and dark winter, where there is great appeal in avoiding the weather and heading to the shopping centres, or Malls as our US cousins call them, we are coming into a nice hot summer. We have much better things to be doing with our time than wasting it indoors, in shopping centres. There is a beach to play cricket on, a park to sit in, a bike ride to go on, a sailboat to make use of. In Melbourne, we’ve just spent at least 4 months in, what we call, the cold. We want to spend some time in the sun. Christmas for most countries is in the winter—that’s why you see snow on Christmas cards—and in the USA, by October, 40% of people have already done their Christmas shopping. 40%!! By comparison, in Australia only around 10% of us have thought about what we might buy. Yes, we are known as a laid back country, but I think the summer/winter difference has a lot to do with it. In the US they have a day called Black Friday, which is the Friday following Thanksgiving, where their retailers offer huge discounts and sales. It’s a crazy day of the year. Just go to YouTube and type in “Black Friday in the US” and you’ll be shocked at some of the things people are prepared to do! We, on the other hand, are not ready to visit a store until December 13th, or the closest Saturday to it. In the lead up to Christmas, this day is our busiest to go to the stores and purchase. As a retailer, you can really capitalise on this by using SMS in retail. With 98% of SMS messages read and quickly responded to, it provides an effective communication channel. You can send a message out on this busy day, being December 12th this year, and know that you’ll hit the phone of many customers whilst they are out shopping, dramatically increasing your footfall. In the UK, they recognise the last Friday of November as Black Friday, which is an online sales phenomenon—last year, retailer Argos saw 660,000 visits to its website within one hour of launching its Black Friday deals. This day, in fairness, isn’t too dissimilar to our own busiest online sales day—December 1st. SMS can again become a wildly powerful tool. Using it to encourage people with smartphones to visit your online store using URLs; the average click-through rate for URLs within SMS messages is 19%, compared to just 4.2% of emails. It’s also a good idea to use SMS for delivery notifications—you wouldn’t want your customers to miss their delivery in the busy Christmas delivery period. On a not surprising note, we Australians are stereotypically late shoppers, with Christmas eve being another particularly popular day to visit the stores on. On this day, there are around 250 transactions per minute taking place. It’s also worth mentioning that we understand that as a retailer you may be flat out busy at this time of year, and susceptible to forgetful tendencies. That being said, if you do plan to use SMS for some marketing campaigns, to drive foot traffic on December 12th or online traffic on December 1st, you can schedule these messages at any time to be sent out on these dates with Esendex. If you’d like to know more about how you can use the information above to capitalise on your Christmas sales, please give us a call on 1300 764 946 and get your Christmas SMS campaigns up and running. It’s certainly not too late.