How to Use SMS for Customer Engagement Success During the Holiday Season
The introduction of 10.10 Day, the U.S. answer to China’s Singles’ Day, is one way that brands are showing they're ready to put everything into making the 2020 holiday season a success. With a fifth of retailers saying they're dependent on the holiday season to survive this year, it’s understandable that retailers want to make sure they get a head start and the best return possible from this year’s biggest shopping season. Now is the best time to pull out all the stops and try new approaches to reach and engage consumers.
Among the customer engagement approaches retailers should use, SMS will play an important role now that we find ourselves in a new, contactless reality and mainly shopping from our mobile devices. Let’s explore some best practices for using SMS to help make the holiday season a success:
Keep Consumers Opted in to Receive Updates and Offers
With an average worldwide open rate of 98 percent, SMS is the best customer touchpoint for getting seen and being welcomed by those that are opted in to your program. Of course, a customer could choose to opt out at any point, so how do you keep them engaged all the way from 10.10 Day through Thanksgiving and beyond? It’s important to keep customers incentivized. Mitto surveyed global consumers in the middle of the COVID crisis and found that all regions ranked special offers and coupons highest among the types of messages they want to receive from brands during the crisis, ahead of availability of services, satisfaction surveys and more. This indicates an appetite among many consumers to spend, especially if you give them an incentive to do so.
Layer on to that hints at exclusive subscriber deals, early bird access to new products, sales lines and more to help keep customers engaged. Doing so will help to ensure they stay opted in and invested in your brand.
Create an Experience Outside of the Physical Store
With fewer people visiting brick-and-mortar stores, mobile channels of engagement provide an opportunity for retailers to refocus how they deliver brand experience to their customers. New rich, branded messaging experiences allow retailers to provide the same look and feel as their store and the same experience as an app or email campaign, but in the convenience of a text message.
The emerging channel of Rich Communications Services (RCS) builds on the high performance of SMS with an evolution that delivers multimedia content. For example, if a retailer is putting a line of electronics goods on sale for Black Friday, now it can include assets in the message such as a video of the products being used in a home setting, offering the next best experience to seeing them demoed live in-store.
Avoid Cases of Holiday Shopping Fraud
Retailers that want customers to spend with them not only during this holiday season but also into the future need to understand how to protect consumers against fraud. Especially at this time of year, scammers and hackers look for ways to hack into people’s accounts and steal cash or their personal identities. Fake order confirmations are just one technique that scammers will try.
An easy fix for retailers is to send verified SMS that enables messaging that includes the sender's business name, logo, and a verification badge in the message thread, thus confirming business identity to the recipient.
As we soon enter the season that will close out a tumultuous year, retailers have many opportunities to make these holiday shopping days work to their advantage. SMS is a great way to engage customers during this time.
Danilo Dotlic is the customer success manager for Mitto, a leading provider of global omnichannel communications solutions.
Related story: 4 Trends in SMS Retail Marketing (and How to Use Them)