11 June 2015

Better mobile customer engagement in retail

Flyers in the letterbox, radio advertiesments, window displays – it used to be pretty difficult to draw the right customers into your business and convert their interest into sales. But with online and mobile technologies, your stores and products are only a tap or click away. So how do we find, and keep, those customers with mobile and SMS?

What customers want

With most modern retail, the customer experience has become paramount. No longer can retailers churn out products in exchange for cash. To generate repeat customers, and invaluable word of mouth, retailers need to be attentive to their customers’ needs.

Successful retailers need to make their customers feel:

  • Cared for, through personalised service and loyalty programs
  • Connected to a brand they can trust
  • Empowered with choice about how to connect – SMS, online, email or phone
  • Informed about products, prices, delivery times, special deals and more

How to get and keep customers

This new kind of customer craves connection, convenience and knowledge. New mobile and online communication avenues have made this easier, but retailers still need to know how best to turn viewers into buyers, and buyers into advocates.

Approaches that can help include:

  • Responsive, easy-to-use mobile apps and mobile-ready websites
  • Online loyalty programs
  • SMS sales alerts
  • Real-time order tracking through SMS and email

Bringing your marketing together

Once you are communicating with your customers, it’s time to make your online marketing work together to make the sale.

Announcing a sale on your website won’t help if your customers aren’t there, and putting a special deal in your eDM won’t help if they don’t open it. This is where technology can work together to draw the customer to your eCommerce platform or brick-and-mortar store.

Using SMS for retail

SMS is a highly engaging medium to connect your customers to your brand. SMS is considered more personal, is opened 97 percent of the time (compared to low eDM opening rates), and is a quick, clean call to action.

Since SMS are typically opened within three minutes of receipt, they can be very effective for using time-dependent marketing pitches. Imagine a restaurant texting a deal just as the customer is wondering what to have for dinner. Or a hardware store reminding a customer about that weekend home improvement project on a Saturday morning. These are personal, useful communications that build confidence between retailers and customers.

A new breed of customer needs a new kind of solution

Utilising mobile, online and in-store marketing with technology that moves users seamlessly between them is essential for the new retail environment. A perfectly-timed SMS that piques interest, an elegantly simple eCommerce experience, or a deal so good that it’s shared on social media – this is how successful retailers turn customers into brand ambassadors.

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