Technology And Text Messaging Support In-Store Shopping Experiences
Shoppers are very tech savvy. Even when they shop in store they are using their mobiles to do price comparisons, look up reviews or post on social media. And while your customers are busy using tech, your store needs to be using it too.
A survey by UPS, comScore, and the e-tailing group took a look at what technology consumers want in their shopping experiences. Respondents said the most wanted technology is electronic receipts for in-store shopping and they preferred either email or text receipts. Offering text receipts is a simple way to tie the technology people rely on so heavily, back into a physical store shopping experience. Sending SMS receipts is also convenient for both the store and the consumer. And using text messaging to send receipts can potentially make your store “more convenient” than those other stores still using old fashion paper receipts.
But really, why is this simple idea so important?
Because today’s digital consumers are planning on spending less and less time shopping in physical stores. That’s what a study by ORC International found in a worldwide survey. While the “traditional store experience” still ranks as the most important channel for shopping (72%), the second most important channel is the Internet (67%). But the gap is closing as consumers indicated they intended to do more shopping online via websites and mobile apps than in store.
If you own a bricks and mortar store, there are ways to bring the technology into the shopping experience to keep some of those customers that might otherwise go online. For example, there are many different ways to use text messaging to support the shopping experience beyond receipts for purchases. Here are a few other examples:
- Send confirmations of in store orders. This is another case where a paper receipt will do, but a receipt via text messaging would be even better. I’m reminded of a visit to an outlet store of the famous US retailer LL Bean. If they don’t have what you want in store, there is a dedicated phone available to place the order directly with the company. You pick up the phone, a customer service rep takes your order, and then sends you an electronic copy of the order. You don’t need the phone of course, but every order your employees take could include an automatic receipt sent via SMS.
- Send in stock alerts. Out of that popular item? Let customers sign up to receive a text message next time it’s back in stock. This could be as simple as an employee adding the customer’s mobile number to a list to be texted later, or completely automated. In an automated system, each item could have a tag with the information the customer could text to your “alert” keyword and then later receive an SMS message once the stock levels are filled.
- Send your customers sale alerts via text messaging. Make every visit your customer makes into your physical store worth their while. Have them sign up for in store only sale alerts to bring them back to the store again and again. Next time you need to increase sales, send one mass message to your list and you’ll be teeming with customers in no time.
Technology is invading our everyday life experiences, even simple activities such as shopping for shoes or trousers. Are you one of the ones who prefers technology to help you shop, or do you pine for the old days when shopping was just shopping? Share your thoughts by leaving us a comment.
It’s been said that to be successful at something, you need to find someone that’s already done what you want to do, then emulate them. You don’t need to create or rewrite the rulebook every time. This is true of marketing too. While it’s a creative field, there are tried and true examples of what works. This is why case studies are so important to helping you understand how something like SMS marketing can work for you.
Can SMS marketing increase sales numbers? In the next entry of our Results Series you’ll see the kinds of results that real companies achieved. We’ve rounded up sales numbers and timelines to show you how well, and how fast, SMS marketing can improve your sales.
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
In one of my blogs last week, I talked about a marketing study by Vibes and what it said about SMS marketing. This week I wanted to take another look at it from the perspective of the mobile wallet industry, also covered in the report. It turns out there is a strong case for integrating your SMS marketing with mobile wallets. Let’s take a look.
The other day I received a text message promising me ten days of deals. All I had to do was reply “DEALS” to the shortcode each day and they would send me a coupon for their service. This was great I thought, because my kids had been asking about the company for a while. A deal was just what I needed to get me to let my kids have their way...
I think for much of the last decade, people used the Internet and then mobile devices, without giving too much thought about what they were doing. Or more accurately, what other people were doing with their information. But then came Edward Snowden in 2013 who revealed governments were collecting and using our personal data in ways we hadn’t imagined.
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 marketing is very different to most other more traditional marketing tools, specifically because of its short-form, text only nature. This certainly shouldn't put you off though. We have put together our guide to both the best things about SMS marketing and some of the potential problems, and how to work around them.