Good customer experience is paramount in retail. It’s one of the key areas that will be the difference between successful retailers and those that struggle over the next few years.
With online shopping now accounting for almost 20% of retail sales, good communication is critical to this experience.
Despite the rise and availability of new apps and technology, SMS continues to be the primary engagement tool for businesses to interact with consumers.
It may be an old technology, but it isn’t going away. It’s not a new fad or application that gains popularity and then suddenly fades away. It’s just a simple, reliable, unobtrusive and effective way to communicate. In fact, it actually appears to be making a comeback.
It’s a view that William Dudley, group director, mobile evangelist, and strategist at SAP Digital Interconnect, agrees with:
“Indeed, mobile messaging – especially through SMS – continues to be one of the primary mobile consumer-engagement channels available to brands and enterprises.”
No other channel or service has been able to replicate the penetration that text messaging has, and still continues to achieve. It’s universal and everyone has access to it. It is therefore a good communication channel for retailers to exploit.
One of the most common uses of text messaging in retail is providing updates to customers regarding orders and deliveries. These include:
- Order confirmation alerts
- Shopping cart / shipment confirmation
- Delivery / return details
- Items ready for collection
SMS automation can easily help to improve customer service without requiring additional resources to complete the task.
SMS also works hand in glove with marketing strategies, providing another channel to inform and entice customers. Common SMS marketing tactics include:
- Promotional SMS messages such as offers, discounts or competitions
- Back in stock product alerts
- Short code numbers on offline marketing – posters, flyers, adverts etc.
- Customer surveys
- Nurturing customer loyalty programmes
Once again, the creation and distribution of these messages can be automated and personalised for each recipient using data collected from previous transactions or enquiries by integrating SMS within your CRM or business system.
One word of warning though; before deploying SMS for retail activities, make sure that your customers have opted in before sending any SMS marketing. SMS needs to be compliant with GDPR just like any other form of communication. You will therefore also need to include an opt-out option within the message.
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