The term retail is most commonly associated with clothing, but in reality it refers to the sale of any kind of goods. So wether you’re in the boutique business, or you’re selling greeting card potatoes, you’re a part of the retail game. And lucky for you, no matter what your product is, text marketing is offering you solutions to some of your most common business pain points.
What is SMS for Retail, and How Can it Grow Your Business?
Operating any kind of retail business comes with its own set of challenges. How do you attract more customers, connect with them, and keep them coming back, all while turning a profit?
The solution is simple: text message marketing. By sending mobile coupons, text alerts, and SMS sweepstakes, you can increase customer loyalty, drive customer traffic on demand, and bring in more revenue.
It all begins with connecting your customers in the space where the point of sale begins. In this day and age, that space is on your cell phone. 77% of shoppers use a mobile device to search for products. By text enabling your business, and in turn your products, you take control by driving mobile searches up.
SMS for retail can help grow your business in a number of convenient ways, including:
- Improving the customer experience with texting
- Incorporating SMS into your social media strategy
- Creating a mobile referral program
- Encourage product reviews with SMS
Now, let’s explore your options as a retailer when it comes to SMS.
Mass Text Marketing vs. Business Texting for Retail
There are essentially two types of text marketing out there:
1. Mass Texting: Traditional text marketing that allows your business to send a single text message to as many as thousands of your customers all at once.
2. Business Texting: Business texting is focused on enabling one-on-one conversations with your customers. While the communication is still two-way, the emphasis is on individualized content as opposed to mass communication.
With mass texting you are still able to have one-on-one conversations as a response tool, however you are unable to initiate isolated conversations, that’s where business texting comes in handy.
So how do you know which one is right for you? There are two main factors to consider.
- Volume: How many people are you looking to connect with at once? Are you more interested in sharing marketing messages with a broad audience, or using texting as a lead generation tool?
- Customer Experience: While both methods of text marketing are customer focused, they each have their strengths in the field. Are you interested in providing reactive chat-bot-like support to customers, or proactive and individualized support?
There’s no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. Both forms of marketing are valuable tools for any retailer. At SimpleTexting we recognize that each businesses’ needs are different, and it’s our job to push the boundaries of what’s possible with texting to fill as many of those needs as we can. So if both of these solutions sound like they fit your needs, know that you don’t really have to choose. You can actually do both – under one account. Text enable your business and use a short code to communicate mass text messages
Uses of SMS Marketing for Retail
Retail businesses are in a great position to benefit from text message marketing. Teeming with visual aids, exclusive offers, and customer testimony, the retail industry is a playground for text marketing campaigns.
Here are just some of the ways you could begin utilizing SMS with your business.
1.Build a Customer Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty programs are simple to set up with SMS, and research shows that repeat customers spend 67% more than first-timers. Offer subscribers to your text club exclusive benefits such as flash sales, first access to new products, and members only events. With custom fields, you can ensure that all your messages will be personalized helping each subscriber feel valued. This is essential given that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history
2. Text Out Coupons
Everyone loves saving money. Sometimes the prospect of saving some money is just the push a customer needs to make a purchase. Especially when the item is more of a “want” than a “need”. Regardless, offering coupons via texting is a great way to connect customers with your marketing messages and ensure they’re being read. Texting does have a 98% open rate after all! And with MMS, you can even include rich media to showcase your products and entice customers further. 73% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.
3. Give Product Updates
Let customers know when their product is ready with customer text notifications. This can be used for in store pickup or for online orders. Additionally, if customers need to set up an appointment to schedule a fitting, a demo, etc., you can send out links to do that saving both parties time!
4. Promote Events
A great way to get people to look at your products is to get them into your space (we know, that’s about as groundbreaking as florals for spring). However, this marketing tactic has several hidden benefits. As a retailer, you have one of the most coveted necessities for event planning: space! Partner with local restaurants or entertainment to draw people in and soak in the bonus publicity from your partnership. The best part? Sending invitations and reminders is easier than ever with texting. With link tracking you can even monitor who is checking out the event and give them an extra nudge.
5. Compliment Your Social Media Strategy
If your business has a strong social media presence you may already have people shopping from your pages. However, if you don’t have a foundation in e-commerce, you can use texting as a medium to translate digital traction into sales. For example, as a caption under a photo, you can provide your text enabled number or short code with instructions to text in to reserve an order. Collect information from that customer, send them an invoice, and schedule a pickup!
6. Create a Customer Service Program
More than half (54%) of retailers said the customer experience is their most important area of focus. By text enabling your business you can advertise a text-for-help program where customers can ask you all their questions to be answered in real time, all through their mobile device. Learn more about how digital customer service can work for your retail business.
Retail Text Marketing In Action
We ❤️our clients, and we’re always impressed when we see the creative ways they utilize the platform. Interested in seeing how some other retailers are utilizing text marketing? Check out some of their success stories:
- This Upscale Dollar Store Keeps Customers Coming Back with Exclusive Texts
- How B-Unlimited Uses Texts to Increase Merchandise Sales
- Delta Sonic Speeds Up Slower Seasons With Their Text Club
How to Collect Subscribers for a Retail SMS Marketing Campaign
We’ve seen how text marketing can move your merchandise. With exclusive coupons and timely text alerts, you’ll soon see customers filling your store like never before.
But before you can start texting, you’ve got to get customers to opt in to receive your texts. They can do this in a number of ways.
1. Texting a short code with a keyword specific to your business. This would like something like: Text SHOP to 555888 to receive exclusive offers.
2. Is your businesses’ 10 digit number already memorable? Why change it? Our support team will walk you through the process to get your number text enabled.
3. Text enable a new toll free or local number. This can be great for geo-specific business. The SimpleTexting team is also ready to assist you with this process.
The next step? It’s time to start building out your subscriber list. To do this you need to collect their phone numbers and secure consent. This article will share some fail-safe strategies to attract subscribers and supercharge your store.
Two simple steps: Entice and display
The secret to getting subscribers is simple. We’ve broken it down to two easy steps:
1. Entice— Give customers incentives to subscribe!
2. Display—Get the word out!
Your most loyal customers won’t need much convincing to opt in to your texts.
Problem is, you don’t only want to cater to already-loyal customers, you also want to create loyal customers. Text marketing does exactly that, but first you’ll need to offer new patrons powerful incentives to opt in.
Here are three incentives that’ll build your subscriber list fast:
Customers like discounts for the future, but they love discounts right now. Offer an immediate incentive for opting in on the spot.
Get 10% off today’s purchase! Just text “SHOPMART” to 555888 for an instant discount and monthly text coupons!
Have a store representative or cashier ask the customer in person if they’d like to receive text notifications about big sales.
“Your total will be $24.95. Would you like to sign up to receive valuable text coupons and notifications about our biggest sales?”
Sweepstakes and giveaway promotions
One of the most powerful and popular ways to gain subscribers is to hold an attention-grabbing sweepstakes. Give away your own products or a more extravagant prize.
WIN A $200 SHOPPING SPREE! Just text “COMPLUS” to 555888 to enter to win and to join our VIP coupon list.
For in-depth advice on running a sweepstakes with SimpleTexting, see our advanced article.
Don’t forget what you’re using your texts for in the first place:
- Text coupons
- Service alerts
- Timely notifications
Often these services are incentive enough to get people to opt in. Advertise them as just that, friendly services. Let customers know what they’re signing up for—they’ll appreciate your honestly and reward you with their business and trust.
Even the most enticing incentives in the world won’t work if no one knows about them. That’s why you’ve got to display your text promotions prominently.
Whether you’re advertising a sweepstakes or monthly coupons, stick with the adage: KISS—Keep It Simple, Silly.
Be clear and concise with your message.
A small message can make a big statement: It’s easy to read and easy to integrate everywhere.
Here are just a few places to promote your text campaign:
- Store window: Create an eye-catching sign to let passersby know about your campaign
- Cash register: Place a small sign on your register about discounts to bring in subscribers looking to save
- Receipts: Put a concise note on your receipts to advertise your text services
- Website: Promote your text offers on the landing page of your website
- In-store signs and table tents: Let loyal customers know how to stay connected
To get the most for your money, be sure to integrate your simple keyword and instructions into any existing advertising that you’re already paying for:
- Newspaper and/or magazine ads
- Radio and/or television spot
- Internet display ads
Follow these simple steps, and in no time you’ll be getting subscribers, connecting with customers, and selling out your stock.
Get Started with a Free Trial of SMS for Retail
If you’re ready to give text marketing a try, we encourage you to sign up for a free trial account with us.
You’ll get 50 messages plus your own custom keyword.
And yes, it’s really free. No credit card, no contract, just free.
When you’re ready to upgrade to a paid account, just change your billing plan from the dashboard. Simple!
Send your first message in minutes. Try SimpleTexting free for 14 days. No credit card required.