Short Message Service (SMS) is a good way to build strong relationships with your customers. However, retail SMS is even better, connecting you with your customers through every stage of their purchasing journey. Unlike emails, retail SMS messages are short—normally with a limit of 160 characters—and appear on subscribers’ smartphones a few seconds after you send them.
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about retail SMS, including what it is, why you need to use retail SMS marketing, and much more.
What is retail SMS?
Retail SMS marketing is exactly what it sounds like: A way for businesses to connect with customers by sending time-sensitive offers and other business alerts by text. Providing this level of world-class customer service is what separates retailers. In fact, 9 out of 10 consumers want to use text message marketing to communicate with their favorite brands. They expect a consistent and delightful experience at every point in their purchasing journey with your business.
Retailers use SMS to:
- Acquire new customers: Potential shoppers can find keywords on your website or in-store marketing to text to you and receive a coupon or discount off their first purchase (or future purchases).
- Increase repeat business: Once you have a customer’s phone number and consent, you can send them information on product launches and sales.
- Send transactional messages: Retail SMS marketing solutions can provide order updates, organize curbside pickup, and send restock alerts.
- Provide customer service: Retailers can use SMS to respond to customer service questions and potentially drive more revenue.
Why use retail SMS marketing?
According to outerboxdesign.com, 79% of smartphone users used their mobile device to make a purchase in the last 6 months, and almost 40% of all ecommerce purchases during the 2018 holiday season occurred on a smartphone. Implementing retail SMS marketing is a great way to meet customers on a channel they already use. Check out the following benefits:
- SMS marketing metrics are higher than email marketing: The average open rate for branded email marketing is 18%. For this reason alone, your business should begin using retail SMS marketing because it can lead to better engagement and increased sales.
- SMS marketing meets your customers where they already are: Smartphone users click, swipe, and tap on their phone 2,617 times a day, and on average, spend 2 hours and 51 minutes a day on their smartphone. Meet your customers where they already are, on their smartphones, and boost engagement by adding retail SMS marketing into your communication plan.
- SMS marketing can increase sales: For new and potential customers who may just be learning about your business for the first time, retail SMS marketing is a way to engage and nurture them to become a customer (and even a return customer!). In fact, 50% of consumers say they would opt into an SMS loyalty program if they were offered flash sales, deals, or coupons in return. With SMS, you can keep in touch, boost repeat purchases, and increase their loyalty to your brand.
- SMS marketing creation is quick and easy: Retail SMS marketing campaigns are usually short, snappy, to the point, and easy to schedule and send out. In fact, 70% of customers agree that it’s a great way for businesses to get their attention. Depending on your audience and consumer base, you can use emojis, hashtags, or whatever works to drive revenue and engage with your customers more effectively.
- SMS marketing for retail isn’t saturated (yet): About 61% of marketers still don’t use retail SMS marketing—then again, it’s relatively new. It’s not as saturated as email marketing or social media, but it’s a growing trend and can help you gain a competitive advantage in customer engagement.
How to use retail SMS
To use retail SMS, you need to be SMS-compliant. The regulations are straightforward and help to protect the privacy of your customers. In the US, you must be compliant with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a federal law, and the guidelines of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), a wireless communication industry trade organization.
SMS-compliance requirements include:
- Your customer must opt into SMS marketing (which must be separate from opting into email marketing).
- You must explain what types of messages your customers will receive and state how they can opt out (and respect opt-out requests).
- You cannot send retail SMS marketing messages between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. in the recipients’ time zone (as these are quiet hours).
Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to consumer complaints and messages getting flagged as spam.
Integrate retail SMS for your business with Twilio
Whether you’re just getting started with retail SMS marketing or are right in the middle of it, Twilio’s got you covered. Using data insights, we communicate with customers on their preferred channels at the right time to make better customer experience decisions.
Twilio uses omnichannel engagement for retail SMS marketing solutions, which bridges the gap between channels, giving customers the seamless, engaging experience they want and deserve. Check out how Twilio’s Programmable Messaging and SendGrid Email API power Klaviyo’s multichannel marketing platform, enabling the email marketers and brand to personalize recommendations and support customers.
Talk to an expert today to learn more about mastering the 4 pillars of omnichannel in retail and dive into Twilio’s library of resources on creating, optimizing, and evolving your retail SMS marketing solutions.