As e-commerce has grown, so too has the use of smartphones to purchase goods. The latest PYMNT 2020 Remote Payments study found that 72% of consumers are using mobile to shop stores, making it a critical channel for retailers looking to recover sales — and to develop customer relationships.
“For businesses, it’s incredibly important to reach your audience where they are spending most of their time,” said Brian Long, founder and CEO at Attentive, a personalized mobile messaging platform. “Today, that means on mobile phones and in text messaging. The brands that will stay ahead are those that prioritize mobile-first strategies.”
Text messaging is still commonly associated with more-intimate conversations, such as those between individuals as opposed to corporate messaging. Whereas email marketing may get lost in spam filters, a text message is a more direct route to a shopper’s inbox. This positions it as a strong medium for a brand to share more personalized information, as consumers are more likely to expect that tone, say industry experts.
Particularly during lockdown restrictions, shoppers have been looking to engage more in communications. As a result, mobile platforms like Attentive report a higher open rate than traditional email marketing, and some companies claim a 100% open rate. Attentive clients saw an increase of 53% in the number of people signing up for mobile messaging between March 30 and April 12, compared with January and February of this year.
These text communications can be used to promote sales or targeted product campaigns, as well as alert shoppers on inventory updates. Text marketing platforms can also automate communication flows, such as prompting them about items left abandoned in their cart or alerting them when a sold-out item they viewed is back in stock.
During the coronavirus pandemic, brands have also been able to use texting as a way to provide shoppers with up-to-date safety information, as policies may change frequently.
“Personalized text messaging helps businesses break through the noise to directly engage their audiences with relevant content, whether that’s sharing info about new products available online or the latest updates about store reopenings,” said Long. “Some brands are using text messaging to communicate important operational updates with their subscribers, as well as to share statements from leadership.”
With consumers commonly completing purchases through their smartphones, providing shoppable links through texts can also contribute to conversion rates. Attentive has reported that its customers see an average increase of 18.5% in online sales.
Some retailers may not yet be comfortable with mobile activity — many only launched DTC channels in the last few months, while others have only recently invested in their online presence. However, Long recommends that retailers bite the bullet and take advantage of the resources provided by solutions such as Attentive.
“Text messaging is a new channel for the vast majority of our customers, so you’re not alone if this is your first time trying it out,” said Long. “We offer a ton of resources to help you get up to speed and see best practices, and also have a dedicated white-glove support team to guide your text campaign strategy, and even design your sign-up creative to be on-brand.”