3 Retail Predictions to Increase Footfalls This Holiday Season with SMS Messaging
Ever since the American-born Black Friday craze hit the UK (and the world) in 2014, retailers struggled to plan for the holiday season. In 2014 it was completely crazy in-store and online. In 2015, high street saw a decline in footfall over the weekend by as much as 4.5%. But online sales boomed.
According to TechRadar, retailers have learned some lessons. Many plan to offer sales during the whole month of November to avoid crowds and website crashes on Black Friday. But how will they bring more people into their stores when price shopping and searching online for the best deals is so easy?
Enter SMS Messaging
We’re just about six weeks before the November sales season begins. Your sales and marketing planning are probably well underway. But if you don’t have SMS marketing in your to-do list you might want to pause and consider it.
Looking at the retail predictions for 2016, there are a few big ones that can help shift the trend towards more footfall this year than last. Here are the biggest predictions and how you can use SMS marketing to stay relevant to your customers:
Click-and-Collect via Mobile
Many retailers already provide a service to have online orders picked up in-store. The prediction for this year is that more people will be doing the ordering from a mobile phone. To deliver the best service, send the customer an SMS update when their order is ready for pickup.
Also, any offers you send via SMS should go directly to a mobile-friendly site that offers click-and collect. It’s more convenient for customers, which means they’ll be more likely to buy from you, and come to your store to collect.
Loyalty Rewards Aren't Enough
Continuing on the theme from the click-and-collect, consumers are putting less emphasis on loyalty rewards. They “prioritise value, track record and convenience” according to vendhq.com. SMS messaging can communicate all three of those to a customer. You make your SMS marketing messages convenient by using links to mobile websites, or easy to show coupons for in-store purchases. If you are consistent in your messages, you’ll have a great track record – right on their mobile. When they look at the latest message, they’ll see all the old ones (does anyone delete old messages?).
It’s important to offer value too – not just for their money but their time as well. So if you want them to visit you in-store, make it worth their while. That doesn’t necessarily mean deep discounts, but perhaps there’s a special event they can only experience in the store. Maybe you offer a bonus item – whatever your customers will value – that they are willing to trade their time to come inside and get. SMS messages are great for these offers because they are so quick. You can announce ahead of time, then send reminders just at the right time when you want them to come to the store.
Make it Personal
One of the most consistent predictions is that shoppers want “Personal Commerce”. SMS messaging can be extremely personal. With a little effort you can send specific offers to different customers. It doesn’t even have to be individual. Simply dividing your list up by demographic or purchasing behaviour can make the offers more relevant which will feel personal. Did a customer spend hundreds on toys last year? Chances are she or he has children in their life. Let them know when the latest toys arrive via SMS so they get a chance to get them before anyone else.
That approach can work for any type of retailer. Use as much information as you have on the customer to create an SMS offer or campaign. The more specific you can be the better, but use what you have and you’ll probably see an upswing in sales.
TechRadar predicts holiday sales in the UK will be £2.2B over the four-day weekend including Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shoppers expect stores to be bustling, and may opt to order online. Don’t let them. Use SMS messaging as described above to get them into your store that weekend, and all season long.
One of the great advantages of SMS: it's completely trackable so you know exactly how your campaigns are engaging your opted in customers and clients. And if you’re a small business, operating in a specific geographical location, then that local knowledge can be invaluable in targeting your campaigns to a local audience.
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Do you know what your customer’s want? Would you ever offer something other than coupons, discounts, or other deals in your SMS marketing? At least one company is giving it a try, and differentiating themselves from the competition. Read the blog for details.
Have you seen articles telling you SMS marketing can’t be used to acquire new customers? Or that it isn’t a good way to so? Don’t believe them. You just have to know how to use SMS to get new people to sign up for your list. Read on to find out how.
One of the greatest advantages of SMS marketing is how fast it is. You might be thinking I'm talking about the almost instantaneous delivery rates, or how quick it is to write a message and send it to your entire list - but this time we're talking about how fast you can get results.
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.
In our demanding, 24/7 world it is difficult to stay on top of your SMS marketing campaign but with scheduling you can ensure you are getting your message to your audience whatever the time.
Mobile marketing offers an unprecedented access to your customers virtually any time, anywhere. This is particularly true for SMS marketing because it is “always on”. Customers don’t have to be surfing the web, or using an app to receive messages. Instead, they see the marketing messages right alongside ones from their friends and family.
The drive to earn and retain consumer loyalty is big business in the UK. Increasingly, companies are grasping the important role SMS text messaging can play in this. Customers’ mobile phone numbers are gold dust. The most forward-looking companies are developing systems to encourage customers to opt-in. Then, they are structuring SMS campaigns to build loyalty and reap maximum commercial advantage from it.