6 applications for SMS within the retail sector

Topic: Marketing, Retail

Many retailers have realised the potential of SMS for having more engaging customer interactions – but few have realised just how many ways it can help. So what are the different applications, and, if texting is not yet part of your communications strategy, why should you consider it?

Why does SMS work so well in the retail sector?

The KPIs say it all, really:

KPIs Email (averages) SMS (averages)
Message open rate 20.9% 95%
User response time 2.5 days 90 seconds
Link CTR 4.2% 19%
Conversions* 3.26% 32%
Messages received each month 1,216 178
Proportion that is spam 90% 1%

*Conversions are measured as someone taking the desired action: a sale, coupon use, form completion etc.
Data sources: OracleRemarkety | Adobe | Esendex
While well-targeted and timed email is still an effective communications channel, these statistics illustrate that SMS can’t be touched for driving engagement; and this case study illustrates that further, describing a 17.44% purchase conversion from coupon codes delivered over SMS.

So what are the ways retailers can use SMS?

SMS Surveys can help retailers in a wide variety of ways, but here are just some of the ways that our customers are using them:

Number 1Text customers with special offers
If you have a sale or special promotion due to start, text customers to let them the details, and the savings they can expect to make.

Number 2Purchase and delivery notifications
Send a text message after someone has made a purchase on your website thanking them and giving them details of their purchase. This can then be followed up with delivery notifications, making the customer experience even better.

Number 3Encourage return visits
After an initial purchase has been made, you can send them discount codes, which can be redeemed when they make a second purchase online or instore.

Number 4New stock alerts
Is your new season in? Or do you have a great new range that you want to shout about? Then text your customers and let them know.

Number 5SMS loyalty programs
Allow customers to sign up to an SMS loyalty programme. Send them exclusive offers and texts when new products will be released that they can only get with your SMS loyalty programme.

Number 6Customer service
If retailers aren’t already providing an SMS customer service facility – they should be. 44% of people with mobile devices would prefer a customer service journey through SMS, rather speaking with agents, to an agent (source). 

What about GDPR?

GDPR is not designed to prevent you from reaching your sales and marketing goals, however much it might feel like that at times! Just remember:

  • If your database is made up of active customers (which you’ll need to define yourself), then you do not need consent to send them marketing messages; you do however need to have completed a Legitimate Interests Assessment (ICO’s template is here), and to offer an opt-out
  • If you have lapsed / ex-customers in your database, or prospects who’ve never purchased from you, you need to be able to prove that they consented to receive your messages. If you can’t, you shouldn’t message them – but don’t cry over split milk, get busy building your mailing list again!
  • Customer service and delivery notification messages aren’t classed as marketing, and you don’t need consent in order to send messages of this type.*

Want to know more?

If you’re interested to know more about how Esendex’s SMS solutions can help your retail business, please get in contact with our team today on 0345 356 5758 or email us at sales@esendex.com.
*Please note that while we have checked our sources and are confident in our interpretation of the legislation, this does not constitute legal advice.

Author Avatar
Warren Delay

Hi, I'm Warren, and I'm the Product Marketing Manager here at Esendex, specialising in product positioning / requirement. I also have an extensive knowledge of product management, and love working at the cutting edge of new tech!