5 ways retailers should be using SMS

By Stu Thom | 19 February 2015
5 ways retailers should be using SMS

Think SMS is just for marketing? Think again. For retailers, as for any other business, SMS offers huge advantages to improve your business operations.

First, let's consider the hard facts: 72% of consumers spend more than two hours a day on their mobile devices. In fact, 44% of mobile phone owners sleep with their phones next to their bed so they won't miss a call, message or update. No surprises, then, that 83% of these people aged between 18 and 29 says their smartphone plays an integral role in their lives. (Source: Marketo, Marketers Guide To Mobile)

Added to this is the fact that SMS is an incredibly flexible channel. There’s a huge range of ways that retailers can use across the business – not just to improve customer communication but to build staff engagement and improve business efficiencies.


1. SMS Marketing

Mobile marketing presents compelling opportunities to engage customers and build loyalty for life. Think mobile vouchers, sales alerts, daily deals, competitions, and more. Once customers have given you permission – a must-have for SMS marketing – the door is open to building deeper relationships.

2. Product recalls

When it comes to getting urgent messages seen by customers, nothing matches SMS. It boasts a 98% open rate and 90% of SMS messages are read within just three minutes (source: Frost & Sullivan). So if one of your suppliers has told you about a batch of contaminated food, SMS presents an effective way to get the message out to staff and customers, fast. This can be used in addition to the requirements set by the ACCC to minimising the risk to customers and your brand.

3. Staff communications

The high open and read rates of SMS mean it is a great way to reach your staff too. In the retail world, your employees are spread across stores, warehouses, distribution centres, on the road, and beyond. Unlike email, SMS lets you reach them all instantly and at the same time. Use it to tell them about extra shifts, changes to the roster, important announcements, team meetings and more.

4. Order confirmations and delivery updates

Do your shoppers wait at home for a delivery without any idea when it will arrive? Improve the customer experience by sending order confirmation and delivery updates via SMS. The message could alert them an hour before a delivery is due, inform them of the day and time slot, or let them know when the item has been dispatched from the warehouse. With two-way messaging, you can give them a chance to respond if they want to change something. There’s no more cost-effective way to improve the customer experience.

5. Stock availability

SMS can help you cut the time spent by store staff on the phone to let customers know a product is in stock and available for pick-up. SMS is much faster, more reliable and practical for both staff and customers. Customers can text YES to let the store know they have received the message, so staff don’t have to keep calling and leaving messages.

A growing number of retailers are tapping into mobile marketing and SMS marketing for their multi-channel strategy, but why stop there? The simplicity, immediacy and flexibility of SMS messaging can improve communications both internally and externally.

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