Five ways SMS can help in the retail industry

Topic: Esendex

1. Increase traffic through marketing

Probably the most obvious, and potentially the use that will get you the quickest and biggest return, is SMS marketing. Using SMS as a means of marketing new sales, promotions or to increase traffic within your physical or online store has been proven time and time again to be extremely successful.Here is why: 98% of people that receive an SMS  will read it, and most of whom will read it within 3 minutes of receiving it.  For this reason you can be extremely successful in time sensitive sends. For example, having  flash or  one day sales. Unlike email, if you send a message at 10am on a Saturday morning, the recipient of a text message will read it whilst they could potentially already be out shopping, whereas it’s very unlikely that the same person would read an email.

2. Confirm delivery times

Not only are there potential extra costs for you, the retailer, associated with redelivery of an item, but there is also an annoyance to the customer. When people buy online, generally speaking, they want their purchase as soon as possible. Missing a delivery and having to either go and fetch it themselves or wait for a redelivery doesn’t provide the best customer experience.  It is much better  to provide your customers with an indication of when the delivery is going to arrive and SMS is the perfect tool for this.

3. Abandoned checkout

This one is more for online retailers, but this one is a great way to save those abandoned carts. Current statistics claim that 53% of all online shopping experiences are abandoned. You could send out an email, however only around half or less of these will be opened. Research has shown that the best chance of regaining an abandoned sale is to make contact within the hour. With an SMS trigger, you can do this with ease, and know it will be read.Offering deals is also a great way to get people to come back, however, be careful what you offer, else you might see a pattern building whereby people purposely wait to be retargeted to get a special deal. That said, if you offer a way for them to spend more money, for example “spend another $10 and get free shipping,” it’s a win win.On another note: if you’re using the Magento platform, be sure to check out our free SMS extension.


4. Customer service / retention

SMS is a great way to interact with your customers. Not only does it give your customers a way to provide feedback in their own time and without the need to wait on hold, but it also allows you, the retailer, to respond in an unobtrusive manner.SMS can also reduce the cost of contact centres. According to a report carried out by Forrester and Oracle, the average cost of a phone based client interaction is between $6-$20 per call—depending on the type of call—taking into account the call cost and staff cost. An SMS exchange was found on average to cost between $2-$5, that’s up to a 75% cost saving. The great thing with an SMS exchange is that no one has to hold and the conversation can happen quickly or carried out over a longer period if the customer has other things to do.

5. Market research

Another seriously untapped use of SMS, is the SMS Survey! Standard email or web surveys are infamous for having extremely low completion rates. If you send it out to 100 customers, you might be lucky if 5 finish the survey. You can’t really deduce anything from that. This is where we’ve seen SMS Surveys really have a huge impact. Currently we’re seeing a response rate of up to 50%. So of those same 100 customers, 50 are now replying. Now you can do much more with that data. We’re currently offering surveys as a managed service, so give us a call on 1300 764 946 to find out more. SMS is such a powerful tool, yet largely untapped by most retailers. Being untapped means you’ll have an advantage over your competition, and although initially it might appear to cost a bit more than email and social media, when you add in all the staff hours to man social media and design email templates you’re getting close from a cost standpoint. When you then consider the huge ROI SMS has, purely from the fact that your message gets read at the right time, does the little bit of extra cost even matter? Give us a call on 1300 764 946 and have a chat with one of our SMS experts to see how your company can benefit! Or read more about SMS in retail.

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Liz Wilson