How to Use SMS Marketing to Counter Retail Fatigue
At the end of last year, online holiday sales grew to just over 20% of total sales. That’s great news for online retailers in general. But between Brexit uncertainty, inflation and deep discounts, the overall retail picture isn’t so rosy, even for online stores.
According to an article on eMarketer.com, Brits are just not so excited about the typical sales seasons anymore. The article discusses a survey done by MasterCard, where 90% of UK consumers agreed they have “fallen out of love with January sales”.
And the trouble may go farther than just January. After several years of pre-Christmas discounting, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, 65% of Brits have decided that bargains aren’t bargains unless they are 30% off or more. Another 25% needs to get discounts of 50% or more “to consider something a steal”.
Combine those attitudes, inflation, and uncertainty, and the retail outlook isn’t something to cheer about. But there are things retailers can do to help their situation. One of those things is using their SMS marketing list to keep their most ardent buyers interested.
Ways to Boost Sales with SMS
If you’ve run a good opt in campaign, then the people on your list aren’t the average customer. They really like your brand, products or services. Because of that, the offers you make to them may not need to be as good as the disenchanted respondents in the survey above require. That is, they may jump at a good deal (maybe 10% off), when everyone else is looking for a great one (perhaps 30% off).
But that doesn’t mean the offers shouldn’t be special. Here are some ideas on how to keep your SMS list interested with exclusive offers, without hurting your overall margins.
Offer exclusive deals to the list – One thing people on an SMS marketing list expect is special treatment. If they see the same offer on Facebook and in their email, they’ll wonder why they bothered to give you their mobile number. But because they did, you can provide them with something good without needing to be outlandish. Maybe it’s an extra 5% off an existing sale, or a special one-time use coupon code for an exclusive buy-one-get-one offer.
Add a loyalty program – Since people on this list are likely to be your best customers, treat them as more than just a list of customers. Treat them as your most loyal friends. Offer special rewards for those that make purchases from your SMS offers. If you already run a rewards program, give the list some extra loyalty points or reward coupons. Whatever you do could be as simple, or as elaborate, as you want it to be. Any extra you can provide them though, will help cement their loyalty, and keep them on your list.
Get them in store – For stores with a physical location, try offering a freebie or special bonus if they visit in store instead of online. It could increase the total order size when they see what else you have in stock. And it will make them feel super special to get the bonus when other customers don’t. It might also help other shoppers opt in to your list if they see what great deals and special treatment people on the list get when they come to the store.
Run a contest just for your list – Contests are one of the most popular uses of SMS marketing. They are often run in conjunction with an opt in campaign. But they can be put to use for your exclusive list too. Have a competition or prize draw for something you know your lists likes and will get excited about. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. People love free stuff so even a £10 voucher could be super exciting to someone who shops with you regularly (like your list does!)
There isn’t much to be done about the overarching issues with the economy and the sales fatigue after so many holiday sales. But you can make the most of what you’ve got, and that’s a list of loyal buyers. You just need to give them a reason to shop!
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At the end of February, Amazon’s S3 servers went down. And so did much of the Internet. What can we learn from the experience about communicating with customers during an online disaster? According to experts, having a plan that includes SMS messaging is key.
It’s said over and over that SMS is one of the most personal forms of communications today. That’s mainly because people guard their mobile numbers and only give them out to those they think worthy of them. So anyone who has opted into your SMS messaging has indeed invited you into their personal world.
In my last blog I looked at five reasons you want to use SMS messaging in your business. In this blog we're looking at the same topic, just from the consumer's point of view. For example, how do you really know your customers want you to send them messages via SMS? Isn't email or a phone call good enough? Is it worth your time to learn how to use SMS messaging in your business?
Facebook is a popular place. According to Statista, they had 1.44 billion active users in the first quarter of 2015. It’s no wonder then that businesses are flocking to advertise there. But big isn’t always better. SMS marketing is similar in many respects to Facebook advertising, and for some uses it is actually better. Let me explain and see if you agree.
In many ways, SMS messaging is so commonplace people don’t think about it. They just do it. For example, using SMS for mobile marketing in retail is a fairly standard use case whether you’re a company or the consumer. But there are always exceptions – those who innovate when it seems there’s nothing new to be had. Here are two examples of companies from the US using SMS in ways no one else is – yet.
SMS messaging can be a one-way, or a two-way affair. Sending coupons, sale notifications, or event announcements are all one-way messaging. The recipient doesn’t need to reply in order to use the information sent. In two-way messaging though, recipients can reply to your messages. And that makes it much more interesting, engaging, and potentially a lot more work to manage.