Could SMS messaging help to save Britain’s high streets?

Could SMS messaging help to save Britain’s high streets?

3 minute read

Dec 11, 2020

The retail sector has hit the headlines in recent weeks, once again for all the wrong reasons. As some of Britain’s best-known shops face the very realistic prospect of disappearing from the High Street, could SMS marketing prove to be an unlikely saviour?

The number of retail businesses which have found themselves in difficulty over the past twelve months reads like a who’s who of the High Street: Debenhams, Bon Marche, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, and the Arcadia group - home to Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Top Shop and Miss Selfridge - are amongst the latest high profile brands facing a perilous future.

It seems that without an eleventh-hour miracle, some of these much-loved brands which have served shoppers for generations could follow the same fate as Woolworths, British Home Stores and of course countless others, including the thousands of smaller, independent retailers which have typically relied on footfall rather than the internet to drive sales.

So what’s going wrong?

Changing consumer spending habits, Covid-19, soaring overheads, coupled with rising costs and reducing footfall may have all contributed to challenges facing the High Street, but to suggest all retailers are suffering for just a few reasons, rather oversimplifies the challenges facing the sector as a whole.

Yet it is amazing just how few have innovated, particularly when it comes to communicating with customers.

Visit any store and it’s likely that you’ll soon find your email address being bombarded with countless messages, the vast majority of which will fall on deaf ears.

In reality, many of the traditional marketing methods used to communicate with customers simply no longer meet the needs of web-savvy millennials, or indeed older shoppers who, as a result of Covid-19 have swapped their visits to the High Street for the comfort of browsing for the latest bargain from their own living room.

Marketing shouldn’t be a replacement for excellent customer service – but they do go hand in hand.

The average return on investment of a direct marketing campaign can be less than 5% and email campaigns often don’t fare much better. According to data published by Campaign Monitor, 17.5% of all promotional emails are opened, of those just 2.4% will actually take action.

Compare that with a typical SMS campaign, where open rates can be as high as 98%, with 95% of all texts being read within just three minutes of being received.

Using SMS messaging as part of your business's marketing strategy creates new opportunities to engage with your customers in a more direct and meaningful way: It goes beyond the norm of simply sharing deals and coupons, playing an important part in delivering excellent customer service. For example, after placing an order online, using SMS to track parcel delivery times can help to keep customers informed, avoiding missed deliveries, and building trust in your brand.

Effective campaigns are not simply part of a marketing strategy, but about building better relationships with customers. For example, SMS messaging can be used to:

  • Share information about deals and coupons (which can be redeemed online or in-store).
  • Integrate data with existing CRM systems, to ensure relevant information is received by customers.
  • Offer a more personal customer experience – for example, providing information about deliveries, gauging feedback and responding to queries they may have.
  • Provide important information, for example, changes to opening hours.
  • Make your customers feel valued and part of a community.

When text messaging is integrated into a CRM system, it can help offer all the benefits typically associated with a segmented email campaign, with added advantage of a direct call to action.

At VOODOO, our powerful SMS platform was built with the end-user in mind, meaning that whether you are a seasoned marketeer, or looking to add genuine value to your customer’s journey, our powerful, easy to use platform can help your business harness the full potential of SMS messaging.

To find out more contact our team today.

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