Copyright: mimagephotography / 123RF Stock Photo
Your favorite stores want to get better acquainted with you and your mobile device.
Most major retailers now invite customers to sign up for texts, which usually can provide great info about upcoming sales, discount coupons, product recommendations and other opportunities designed to bring shoppers into the store and then put more of their money into cash registers.
Interestingly, the trend of retailers experimenting with Text for Information has been going on for at least six years. In 2010, high-end retailer Neiman-Marc provided iPads and iPhones for its entire sales staff, and encouraged them to communicate with their customers in all sorts of ways. Sometimes they took photos of items they thought a customer might like and emailed them, sometimes they sent texts, and sometimes they communicated through FaceTime.
Today, Nordstrom offers its own texting service, including the ability for customers to text an associate when they want to purchase a recommended item. High-end cosmetic company Sephora also exchanges texts with customers.
A good Informational text strategy for a retailer can combine a push for better service plus the ability to acquire useful data. Here’s why.
- Improved benefits. Texting can offer a great win-win. Customers get excited about shopping invitations and deals that seem personalized – they can even have their name on the texts!
By analyzing the data from its shoppers, shop owners can receive great details about their customers, including shopping preferences and habits. This can drive buying decisions and sales campaigns, and can also help the stores better target new customers and retain existing ones. Hopefully, well informed shoppers can lead to better growth and revenue – all because of this focus on Text 4 info.
- Improved advocacy. Signing up for texts increases the bond and loyalty between customer and the store, the local staff and the overall brand. Getting people to sign up/subscribe can be tricky but you can include many references to it throughout your site, plus social media, print ads, and event physical notices at stores. Other benefits can include letting customers know about upcoming schedule changes like a closure or a “midnight madness” sale. Texts can include details about sales that are coming up soon, new products, and popular items that are now back in stock. Finally, a popular part of received texts includes coupons, which offer different discounts.
Once you get enough customer data to satisfactorily work with, you can even create subgroups in your database beyond just the basic “shopper” profile. Sorting this list can include categories such as different types of interests and ages. You can even consider sending extra texts just for certain interest groups – not everyone in the overall “customer” group will be especially fond of shoes. But if a customer indicates that they love shoes immensely and are likely to respond to a text inviting them to the upcoming shoe sale, they can be placed in the “customer” group in your database plus the “shoe enthusiast” subgroup list. This information can also help the strategy for future coupons, sales and other promotions.
- Create a survey that can be taken by text. Besides getting info about customers and their shopping habits including what they actually buy, a survey can flesh things out a little more and provide additional data about what shoppers like and dislike. You can let people know about the survey by sending a text, and then provide a link for them to visit. The survey should mobile-friendly, since that’s how most people will be ultimately taking it. It shouldn’t be especially long or complex, since people have shorter and shorter attention spans these days. You also might want to consider adding some kind of incentive for people to complete the survey – a small prize for everyone like a coupon? A chance at a larger prize chosen randomly?
Retailers continue to look for ways to improve their information text objectives and draw more data from their shoppers. They also canlook closely what their peers are doing as far as attracting shoppers, getting them to buy, and how to have them keep coming back.
One example includes Sephora, which not only “arms” its team members with tablets, but has tablets that customers can use without assistance. BizTech says these kiosks often include brief surveys about the person’s make-up preferences. From this, he or she will receive recommendations about what shades and brands could work the best, and encouragement to contact an associate for additional help. Yes, it’s ultimately going to become marketing data for the retailer about who likes what at the different stores, but at first it’s just a way to provide great service and get the customer what they want and need.
For more suggestions about Text for Information options and incorporating SMS into a good retail strategy, download our complimentary Mobile Marketing Success Kit.