Need some help starting meaningful conversations with your retail customers? Learn how to acquire, nurture, and retain leads with these 17 prompts.
In this age of information, traditional sales techniques tend to fall flat. Customers want to feel predicted and catered to as an individual.
Early 2020 studies show that retail marketers who invest in personalization can realize upward of $20 in return for every dollar invested!
One of the most direct and personal ways you can reach someone is through a text message directly to them.
The key is to create authentic, actionable conversations that benefit both your store and the customer. To give you an idea of what an organic retail text conversation might look like, we came up with a few conversation starters you can copy and paste into your very own campaign.
Why Build Customer Relationships?
Relationships are work (no matter who they’re with). So why build relationships with customers? Why not keep it transactional?
The short answer— because that doesn’t cut it anymore.
Customers are connected to their favorite brands through several different channels— email, social media, texting. This exposes them to near-constant messaging and influence.
In order to cut through the noise, customers expect to be treated to a personalized customer experience by retailers who want their business. The good news is, customers are willing to make it worth your while.
86% of buyers are reportedly willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
The Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience.
The takeaway? It pays to treat your customers as individuals and take the time to get to know them.
What to Achieve With Starting Customer Conversations
There are a lot of reasons you might want to start a conversation with your customers. While in some cases it’s to directly drive a sale. In others, it’s about the relationship—which of course indirectly drives sales.
The conversation starters we’ve come up with below are all centric to the following three reasons you might initiate contact with a customer.
1. Customer Acquisition
You may want to start a conversation with a lead in the hopes that they become a customer.
According to the Integrated Marketing Association, the average cost for a retail lead is $34. And with ad spend on the rise, the average cost is only expected to grow. Thankfully, text messages are inexpensive and have a higher CTR than most other channel. Plus, the more you send, the less they cost.
2. Customer Engagement
You want to stay top of mind with your customers at all the important times. With 59% of shoppers using their mobile devices in-store to compare costs or research deals and coupons, texts are a great way to meet your customers where they already are!
3. Customer Retention
Oftentimes the majority of your business’s revenue will be generated from repeat customers. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent. Customer acquisition and engagement are important steps that really all lead to this one marketing effort. You want to keep customers coming back.
The good news here is that a little can go a long way. According to Harvard Business Review, a 5% increase in customer retention can increase your company’s revenue by up to 95%!
17 Retail Sales Conversation Starters
1. Abandoned cart
Rescue sales before they’re lost with an abandoned cart text. Not only does this reminder encourage a customer they can’t live without something, but it also demonstrates respectable attention to detail.
2. Do you need assistance?
When a customer shops in a brick and mortar retail shop the chances are good a sales associate will ask them if they need help. Why lose that courtesy outside the store?
3. Product questions
To check-in with customers post-purchase about a product our service delivers a white-glove level of service. It also provides an opportunity to get ahead of any customer complications or complaints!
4. Thinking of you
This is a simple way to deliver value to customers in an effort to stay top of mind. You could link to anything- a blog, product suggestion, social media post, etc. By sharing something you believe your customers would love, you find a way to connect that doesn’t feel pushy or self-serving.
5. Past purchase behavior
An upsell doesn’t have to sound like a used car salesman. Simply approach the message similar to example #4 as an opportunity to deliver value!
An easy way to connect with customers is to remember significant milestones. It could be their birthday, the anniversary of their first purchase, or any other valuable date you know of. Through automation, sending milestone texts can be as easy as set it and forget it!
7. Renewal reminder
For some retailers, customers are on an auto-ordering system. Reminders of these due dates can be a welcome and handy reminder for even the most organized folks. As a bonus, you can enable link tracking to follow along and see who has taken action on your reminder, and send automatic follow-up texts to the folks who haven’t.
8. Back in stock
Nostalgia is a great way to get customers excited to make a purchase. A text like this also shows recipients that you value their input enough to make a purchasing decision because of it. For you, it helps you gauge interest before spending money on inventory that might not perform.
9. Have you tried this?
You can nudge a customer gently with a little bit of “FOMO” or, fear of missing out. Choose a new product or service and capitalize on the opportunity to push them towards it with a little allure of exclusivity.
One of the most valuable resources for retailers is customer feedback. You can use SMS as a way to encourage more ratings and reviews from customers, all while letting them know you value their opinion and you’re thinking of them.
11. What can we do better?
If you’re worried you’ll have a low response rate if you text out a survey, instead you could focus on texting out one single question. This opens up a channel of valuable discourse that might surprise you.
12. Year in review
Similar to the texts that drum up feelings of nostalgia or FOMO, a year in review can be a neat way to spotlight a customer’s individual journey with your store. Similar to the Spotify year in review strategy, a text with a few top shopper stats can be a cool status reminder to your VIP customers.
13. Have you seen this?
Not unlike our “this made us think of you message”, this is a great opportunity to share site-specific information with clients. Push out new blog posts or reviews and watch your engagement rates spike.
14. Checking in
Reengage customers who you haven’t seen in a while with a non-confrontational text just like this!
15. Where have you been?
Has a lead gone totally cold? Take the time to find out why with this open-ended text message.
16. Thanks for visiting
If you have a web pop up on your site, you can encourage visitors to enter their mobile numbers to receive updates from you. When you capture that lead seize the opportunity and automatically reach out to them with this thank you message. As a bonus, include a limited time offer or coupon for their first purchase.
17. Post-purchase instructions
Do your products come with instructions or set-up specifics. Let customers know they can text you for assistance at any time! This added touch can take some of the frustration out of new product learning curves.
Eager for some more text marketing tips and tricks? Check out our retail industry guide to learn more about how to guide your customers through the sales funnel through their mobile devices.
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