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Retail and SMS marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly

Posted by Sheera Eby on July 22, 2013

Many retailers have begun to leverage mobile marketing. SMS/MMS marketing is one of the most common forms of mobile marketing that retailers are using.

Most importantly, consumers are open to and actually are demonstrating a propensity for SMS messaging. 33% of U.S. mobile customers reported preferring offers via text message.1 Furthermore, purchasing via mobile devices tends to lead to a higher average order.2

SMS/MMS messaging is a leading mechanism for retailers to leverage mobile marketing. We recently conducted a retail SMS subscriber campaign that had astounding results in a very short period of time. We’ll share some of those results to underscore the 7 reasons SMS/MMS marketing and retailers belong together.

1. SMS allows you to act fast, a critical element for many retailers.
Planning and executing new marketing programs can often take months. We recently architected, created and launched a new SMS program within 2 weeks. It required quick approvals, collaboration and leveraging existing communication channels. It proves, however, that an aggressive time frame is doable in SMS marketing.

Retailers are constantly faced with time-sensitive challenges. Retail marketers have to respond fast to capitalize on special sales, holidays and other quick turnaround events.

SMS marketing has the power to work quickly. The program I mentioned above actually generated over 19,500 subscribers in 18 days.

Check out our one-page case study on building an SMS subscriber base for more details on this campaign.

2. Consumers with an affinity toward your brand, which many retailers have, are likely to opt-in.
According to Papimedia, 85% of people respond positively to SMS messages. Furthermore, one-third of consumers say they interact with a brand via text message on a regular basis.

Retailers tend to have engaged customers with brand affinity. Furthermore, consumers perceive that they’ll benefit from SMS messaging programs by being notified of sales and other reciprocal offers. Retailers actually have an advantage in SMS marketing because these programs are contingent on creating an opt-in database, and retailers can motivate their customers to join.

3. Retailer can leverage the receptivity and effectiveness of text messaging.



On average, it takes 90 minutes to respond to an email, but 90 seconds to respond to a text message.3 SMS/MMS takes advantage of the immediacy of the mobile medium. SMS/MMS messaging can be effective at getting users’ attention and is becoming an effective component of the marketing mix.

It takes time and effort to build a list of mobile subscribers, but once you have them, they are a captive audience. In the example case study mentioned above, offers were sent within a week of subscribing to drive recent buyers back in-store. The initial offer had a redemption rate of more than 17%, successfully driving incremental revenue within a short time period. This redemption rate was impressive for a first-time offer and demonstrated the power of SMS marketing.

4. SMS/MMS messaging can be easily targeted by geography and/or retail locations.
Many retailers have geographic differences in pricing, products and offers. SMS/MMS messaging can be targeted. You can target messages and offers based on mobile numbers. Furthermore, MMS messaging can be utilized to deliver mobile coupons based on geographic parameters.

5. SMS/MMS can play on the retail fundamentals of recency, targeting recent buyers.
Retailers have leveraged the idea of recency for years. This principle suggests that there is a great likelihood of a repeat purchase soon after an initial purchase. SMS messaging provides a strong, cost-efficient channel to deliver a series of bounce-back offers to recent buyers. These offers can play off the recency principle and drive offline and online traffic among recent buyers.

6. SMS/MMS marketing doesn’t work alone, but it works effectively as part of a retailer’s integrated channel mix.
Most retailers already are realizing that channels work better and more effectively together than as a stand-alone effort. This is reinforced by facts such as 56% of mobile purchases motivated by marketing were inspired by email. When building your SMS/MMS retail strategy, consider integrating the program with existing channels such as:

o Email
o Newsletters
o Website
o Direct mail
o Online banner ads
o Social media
o In-store merchandising
o In-store sales receipts

Leveraging existing channels will deliver greater reach and visibility for the mobile messaging program, especially during its initial phase.

7. SMS/MMS programs provide real-time tracking, which resonates with retailers.
SMS/MMS marketing provides impressive tracking. Retailers have the ability to monitor daily performance using sophisticated mobile tracking and reporting tools. You can quickly understand who has opened or clicked on a text message, results of A/B tests as well as tracking of new subscriber opt-ins. Information is also available by geographic region in most SMS tracking platforms.

SMS/MMS programs can be a very effective channel for retail marketers. 

1. HubSpot, “Mobile Stat Report,” 2012
2. Practical eCommerce, “Ecommerce Trends Point to Bright Future,” May 2013
3. CTIA.org

Mobile Marketing

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