Want to find more about how SMS is transforming the retail industry?
Trying to get your business noticed (especially a new business) in the current market can sometimes feel like an almost impossible task, not too different from playing the lottery. After you’ve bought your ticket (i.e., designed and produced your product—invested in some marketing—figured out your financials, etc.) things are out of your control. Fate steps in and decides your future; people, potential customers, are either going to respond favourably to whatever it is you’ve put out into the world. Or they’re not.
Getting noticed has always been a huge barrier to businesses offering a product. Having something to offer people is the easy bit; actually getting your product out there is what’s tricky. And in the world of retail, brick and mortar business no longer stand alone. A new player who goes by the name of Online Shopping entered the game a few years back. You might have heard of him. He’s not beholden to the space-time dynamic in which the game of retail was played only ten years ago. He moves like the wind, at once invisible but strong, nowhere but everywhere, noisy yet completely silent. And he’s reshaped the way in which people spend their money to the point of no return. The rules of retail have not merely changed: The rules have been totally subverted.
The Growth of SMS
First and foremost, almost all modern mobile phones are enabled to receive SMS. Which means that it’s easy to connect with a whole lot of people through the SMS platform. Following and complementing that point, most people are in arm’s reach of their mobile phones at all times (according to a study done by Nielsen, “most people” is about 91% of phone owners). The stats relating to SMS open rates are staggering; almost 98% of texts are read, and of that 98%, 93% are read within only minutes of receipt.
It’s for these reasons that retail owners from all different sorts of industries are turning to SMS to help those they value most.
How It Can Be Done
SMS is the perfect way to engage with your retail customers. Whether your aim is to boost sales, raise awareness, or merely open up doors and thereby open up avenues for dialogue with your target market, SMS has direct access to the people you want to communicate with.
Confirmations & Notifications
On the consumers’ end, there are fewer things more annoying than having to wait at home all day when expecting a delivery. On the businesses’ end, it’s almost just as frustrating wasting time, money, and resources on failed deliveries.
Delivery updates are a great way to let your customer know that you respect their time, even after they’ve handed over their hard-earned cash.
Similarly, order confirmations or notifications delivered via SMS tell your customers that you value them.
It’s a nice little way to maintain relationships with your customers, in a completely un-intrusive and helpful way.
Marketing & Promotional Campaigns
Unfortunately, often when a business has done the right thing and built up a wide base of customer data, that data does little more than collect cyber dust.
If you’ve gone to the effort of collecting your customers’ mobile numbers, it’d be a crime to let them go to waste. Hyperbolic clichés aside, SMS really is the perfect vehicle to transform this stagnant data into tangible results.
Why not send the people whose information you’ve gone to the trouble of collecting a discount coupon? Offer them something of real value for giving away their personal information.
If not a discount coupon, maybe link them to a video of a new product you’ve just developed? Something to keep and hold their attention.
For retail operations without huge budgets, it’s not always possible to have dedicated customer support teams. When things get a little bit chaotic, it’s easy to fall behind on customer service. So it’s important to have a backup plan. Especially in the retail industry, which is commensurate with being a good host.
Establishing meaningful SMS-based interactions with customers in need of support is a great way to build rapport with those you treasure most. Reminders, alerts, confirmations—these are all good examples of SMS-based customer service at work. But it can also be used for customer satisfaction surveys, sending receipts, or even useful answers to FAQ guides.
Businesses in retail need to do whatever they can do to get noticed, to gain that edge over competitors. And using SMS to establish a personal connection with your customers is one great way to do it.
Transforming The Retail Industry
Whether your retail business exists only in bricks and mortar, online, or as a combination of both, the need to gain some sort of advantage over competitors has never been so important. Your business’s voice has to be audible to your target market—potential customers.
It’s already fighting an uphill battle, swimming against fierce tides in oceans crowded with hundreds—sometimes thousands—of other voices, all doing what they can do to rise to surface and have their message heard. Just like you.
No, rising above the rest in this saturated world of retail isn’t easy. But it’s got to be done. And one of the best ways to do it is with SMS.