Your Guide to SMS (Text Message) Marketing for Retail
Whether it’s for food, fashion or fun, everyone makes regular purchases in the retail arena, making it the perfect industry for text message marketing. SMS marketing for retail is one of the most successful ways to acquire new customers, increase purchases from existing customers, collect feedback, and deliver superior customer service.
Conducting an SMS marketing campaign is a relatively easy and cost effective way to reach out to large groups of prospects and loyal customers alike. It can also be integrated into an omnichannel strategy and connect seamlessly into existing point-of-sale or customer relationship management systems.
Once you begin retail SMS marketing, the creative opportunities to connect with prospects and customers are only limited by your imagination. Read this guide to learn more about how SMS marketing for retail works and its many benefits. Several examples of campaigns you can adopt are provided as well to help you launch your campaign quickly, easily and effectively.
How Retail SMS Marketing Works
Text messaging for retailers, at its core, works very much like other SMS bulk marketing campaigns. It’s important to remember the basics such as compliance with regulatory organizations, establishing keywords as well as long or short codes, adhering to length requirements, and so on.
SMS marketing for retail typically takes one of four forms:
- Building Subscriber List. SMS marketing for retail business begins with building a subscriber list. These subscribers may be prospects interested in your products as well as existing customers who want to stay in touch. Typically, you will ask individuals to opt-in through a complementary campaign, whether it be an online ad, signage in your stores, billboard messages, or through a mail campaign.
- Promoting Products and Sales. Nothing drives purchases and foot traffic quite like special promotions, discounts, and time-limited deals. SMS marketing for retail may include launching a new product with a text notification, promoting a one-day sale for subscribers only, or offering a coupon on a complimentary product after a recent purchase.
- Communicating Needed Information. Once you have a retail text message marketing system in place, it’s easy to use the channel to send transactional messages as well. For example, text messages can be sent after an order has been received, if a product is out of stock, and to provide shipping updates. Keeping customers in the loop during a transaction can build stronger long-term relationships and loyalty to your brands.
- Delivering Stellar Customer Service. Since the vast majority of people own cell phones today and many prefer communicating by text messages, a successful SMS marketing for retail program can also mean better customer service. Consider using the channel to collect feedback after a transaction, purchase or service call. Poll subscribers to learn more about their preferences. Use text messages to deliver faster responses to questions and complaints.
Benefits of Retail Text Message Marketing
Anytime you’re going to invest the time, money, resources and effort in a marketing program, you’ll want to reap ROI benefits that can help your retail organization become more successful. SMS marketing for retail stores is an excellent example of a benefit-rich strategy. Here are a few of the rewards you can expect to reap.
- Reach more of your audience. Since just about everyone has a cell phone and the vast majority of people open and read text messages within the first five minutes of receiving them, SMS marketing for retail is an excellent way to reach more prospects and customers.
- Engage with subscribers regularly. All your contacts must have chosen to opt-in to receive marketing text messages from your retail business. That means that they want to engage with your company, welcoming regular communication and desiring engagement on a regular basis.
- Accompany customers throughout the sales journey inexpensively. Keeping track of every customer along every step of the sales journey sounds like a complex and expensive endeavor for retailers. However, a retail store with SMS marketing initiatives can do so automatically and inexpensively. For example, automatic text messages can be sent when orders are received, if products are backordered or return to stock, and during the shipping process.
- Initiate creative campaigns quickly. Gone are the days of spending months creating and implementing a marketing campaign. Retail text message marketing programs thrive on short, concise messages. Once you have an online text service engaged and you’ve created and organized your subscriber lists, it’s a snap to create weekly text campaigns that are personalized and effective.
- Customize campaigns and messaging. SMS marketing for retail will provide detailed data analytics to help you further personalize future text message marketing campaigns. You can subdivide subscriber lists based on various segments, such as what they purchased, geography, frequency of engagement, or which campaign they opted into. Target new products and discounts more effectively.
- Solidify your brand within subscribers’ minds. When customers need to make a purchase, they will often frequent the retailer that is top of mind. One of the beautiful things about SMS marketing for retail business is the ability for retailers to send short, helpful messages to subscribers on a regular basis, keeping their company top of mind.
- Improve customer service. Because it’s easy to integrate SMS marketing apps with customer service tools, retailers can improve customer service. Opening a two-way conversation through text messaging gives you a personal, fast and effective way to solicit feedback, respond to questions, and resolve problems.
How to Utilize SMS Marketing for Your Retail Store
If you’re ready to launch your SMS marketing for retail efforts, here are some pointers for getting started.
- Remember the basics. Start with understanding the foundation aspects of retail SMS marketing. Be sure you follow all rules and regulations about obtaining consent and the hours marketing texts are allowed to be sent. Choose an SMS text messaging provider, sign up for an account, and get to know its features. Then, establish your keywords and long or short codes to start building a subscriber list.
- Keep goals in mind. As for any marketing program, you’ll want to establish clear goals. Do you want to build a subscriber list? Successfully launch a new product line? Drive foot traffic into your brick-and-mortar stores? Boost repeat purchases from current customers? Once you have those goals established, you’ll be ready to launch your first campaign.
- Boil the message to the core. Text messaging for retailers is limited to 160 characters, which means clear, concise communication is key. Be sure you identify your business and get right to the point. Having a time-bound call to action is also effective in driving results.
- Add value. Just because you have permission to reach out to your subscribers regularly doesn’t mean they want to receive spam. Be sure every message offers value, either in terms of information provided or in the discounts offered.
- Pay attention to unsubscribe behavior. Although your subscriber list will ebb and flow over time, be sure to pay attention to why people unsubscribe. In some cases, too many text messages may generate opt-outs while in other cases, too few can do the same thing. Adjust your future SMS marketing for retail efforts accordingly.
Examples of Text Message Marketing for Retailers in Action
Although there’s no better way to get started than to launch your first campaign, here are some examples of SMS marketing for retail stores for inspiration.
- Loyalty Clubs. Everyone wants to belong. You’ll inevitably develop a group of loyal customers who will return to your company over and over again. Be sure to use your SMS marketing for retail programs to spoil them. Give them sneak peaks to new products, and offer them the best discounts. Keeping customers happy is easier than obtaining new ones. Example: Thanks for being a loyal member! Enjoy 25% off your next purchase!
- Stocking Updates. All retailers face supply chain issues on occasion. A retail store with SMS marketing systems can easily provide updates when a product is out of stock or when it’s back in stock. Example: Happy to announce that we’ve restocked our kiddie pools, just in time for July 4!
- Promote In-Store Events. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, use SMS marketing for retail campaigns to boost foot traffic by publicizing special events. Example: Bring the kids in to see Santa this weekend and enjoy 10% off your holiday shopping!
- Close Online Sales. Use your back-office system to identify things like abandoned online shopping carts and integrate that information into your SMS marketing app. It’s easy to remind customers to finish their orders or to offer an incentive to do so. Example: Forget something? Take an additional 5% off when you wrap this order!
- Solicit Feedback. Once an order is complete, use your SMS marketing for retail to solicit feedback from opted in customers. Ask if customers are satisfied with both the product and the shopping experience and offer a coupon for their response. Example: Thanks for your order! Click to provide feedback and get $5 off your next order of $30 or more!
If you’re ready to try SMS marketing for retail, check out DialMyCalls. As an SMS text messaging provider, we offer free accounts and trial subscriptions at no charge so you can easily get started with an SMS marketing campaign today.