Retailers are Connecting Mobile Shopping with the In-Store Experience
When you create a unified shopping experience, shoppers will take note and show their loyalty with their hard earned dollars.
Online shopping is more convenient for many shoppers. Many retailers have begun treating their brick and mortar stores as a showroom more than a retail outlet – making the assumption that shoppers are coming in to see and touch products, but then purchase online.
An office supply retailer has 2 goals: increasing revenues overall (both online and in-store) and improving upon the up-sell process so that shoppers will purchase more.
We address the first goal of increasing revenue by providing a mobile shopping assistant in the form a a mobile website. Shoppers reportedly have a difficult time deciding between different kinds of computers, printers, and other technology items. It can be difficult to compare these items while in store, so we created a product comparison tool where the shopper can choose which items he or she wants to compare and it provides details about each category. If there is any confusion, the shopper can text in to the SMS program to get answers from a live customer support person.
The second goal is to improve the product up-sell process. Other retailers find that shoppers who choose to buy online and pick-up in store spend nearly twice as much as those who have online orders delivered directly to their homes. This is likely due to a few different factors – ease of purchase, ability to price compare with other retailers, and comfort of the third wall between them and the store. To increase up-sell purchases, we added digital / mobile coupons into the purchase path. As a shopper is looking at an item, the complementary products appear just before the “Add to Cart” button with a “Package it” button. Packaging up multiple products for a discounted price – such as a printer with ink and a ream of paper.
The mobile website with the product comparisons helped shoppers to make educated decisions while in-store and drove them to purchase sooner than before. This mobile shopping tool was supported by the customer service via SMS, which also helped the retailer with creating a positive shopping experience. And the packaging of products matched up with mobile coupons / digital coupons made checkout faster for the shopper, which increased the up-sell revenue and improved the overall process.
Shopping Experiences, whether in-store, at home, or on-the-go, can be the make or break point for a retailer. Shoppers are savvy – searching for the best deals and opportunities – but they also value customer service and the overall experience. Creating a unified shopping experience, no matter what the device or location can be the key to getting that next sale.
In a recent survey conducted by Luxury Daily, among respondents who use retail mobile apps 51% use them in-store. It is no surprise that no one leaves home without their beloved cell phone, and companies are taking full advantage by being more aggressive in their mobile marketing strategies. So how exactly do in-store shopping experience and mobile marketing working together?
In-Store Information for Staying Pretty On-the-Go
Beauty store mecca, Sephora, launched revamped to-go apps for all major smart devices this year. Customers have the ability to scan products in-store and instantly read ratings and reviews, receive notifications about special offers, use unique photo tools to help try on new make-up looks, and take a contouring class on the go. Providing this kind of information in-store to shoppers in real-time can be the difference between leaving the store and making a purchase. Information is power, after all, and the customer feels empowered when provided with options.
Color Your World: Personalizing the Shopping Experience
Sherwin-Williams is also personalizing the shopping experience with their new ColorSnap Visualizer mobile app. Much like virtual dressing rooms, ColorSnap allows customers to scan color swatches in-store to see them applied in simulated rooms. Director of electric business marketing at Sherwin-Williams, Megan Vickers justifies ColorSnap by saying, “An in-store color swatch is the truest representation of the color, but on its own, it can be difficult for many to imagine that small swatch of color filling the walls of their home.” This tool allows shoppers to make this key home decor shopping experience easier and decrease the time until a final transaction.
In addition to motivating consumers to get to the physical store, the new challenge comes in integrating mobile tools with the shopping experience itself. According to Apptentive, the top reason customers will use a store’s mobile app while shopping in-store is to redeem discount offers. While incentive based interest is profitable, many companies strive to engage with customers on a more personalized level.
What is your in-store retail plan to drive more revenue and decrease the time to purchase?
How Mobile Marketers Are Targeting Hungry Families
With the end of summer and the beginning of school season in full gear, many families are facing the challenge of creating simple dinners that can please everyone at the table. So where does a busy parent turn to for dinner inspiration? Break out a tired favorite out of the cookbook? Comb through the vast amounts of kale and quinoa dinner-in-a-jar recipes pinned on their Pinterest boards? For some, inspiration comes right from their mobile devices, which provides an opportunity for mobile marketers.
“Pushing” For Grocery Store Interaction
Recently, Clorox has launched a mobile based campaign for its Hidden Valley Ranch, the popular salad dressing brand, and Soy Vay, a line of Kosher Asian inspired sauces and marinades, to engage consumers to head out to their local grocery stores. With the help of iBeacon, Clorox has developed an app that sends cooking “hacks” whenever their target audience is close to or inside of a grocery store. Push notifications can range anywhere from recipes to product locations within the isles.
A Meal via SMS Alert
For the occasions when the idea of cooking is just too much, many quick service restaurants provide relief with the use text message opt-ins. A&W Restaurants’ text club provided users with coupons sent via text starting with a free Papa Burger ® just for opting in. Chipotle’s mobile list offers users BOGOs on their burritos and bowls. Domino’s new Anyware ™ campaign allows customers to order pizza on any device, be it on a smart watch, a tweet, or even a text.
Mixing food and phone together seems to be the profitable direction for both food companies and mobile marketing. Retail SMS, in-app messaging, and multiple device integration are the new norms of how we market food. Food is a highly saturated market with a 70-80 percent fail rate for new products launched in the grocery store market and a 61 percent fail rate for restaurants. However, as food brands continue to assert themselves more in the mobile market, the daunting question “What are we having for dinner?” can be much easier to tackle.
Every year it seems that the holiday season is arriving sooner and sooner. No sooner do the jack-o-lanterns pop up, the cornucopias and candy canes start looming in the background of the seasonal isles of stores across the nation. Because the holiday shopping season is starting earlier, many brands using mobile marketing begin preparations as soon as October. According to the Oracle Marketing Cloud and Edison Research, a study found that the majority of people surveyed had completed the bulk of their holiday shopping by October, spending nearly $900 more than they would have in December.
Push ‘It’ to the Limit
A big mobile marketing trend from the 2014 holiday season was the use of push notifications through companies’ mobile apps. These little notifications about various deals and specials were a driving force behind the increasing engagement rate between consumers and company apps. Retailers such as American Eagle Outfitter, Victoria’s Secret, and Best Buy all increased their push notifications, doubling their efforts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to ensure a profitable holiday season.
SMS Marketing for Success
SMS marketing amps up by delivering mobile coupons to consumers directly, eliminating the need to remember the abundance of paper coupons they receive in the mail or in emails. A successful holiday campaign from last year was Redbox’s “10 Days of Deals”. Customers were prompted to text DEALS to the designated shortcode for the chance to save between 10 cents and $1.50 on their next rental. Within 10 days, 400,000 unique customers opted-in, producing over 1.5 million SMS messages.
Get Social Too
Of course, social media is always a top contender for holiday promotions, especially via mobile marketing. The introduction to sponsored posts on Instagram allows for a plethora of different marketing options. Stella Artois was the first beer brand to buy in to Instagram ads. During the 2014 holiday season, Stella Artois made sponsored Instagram posts with artful shots of holiday food and their artisan beer to appeal to the “food porn” obsessed millennial demographic. Consider the ways that you can integrate your holiday messaging across your social channels and more direct communications such as SMS and Email.
Conclusively, Santa makes his list early and consumers are following suit. Mobile marketers need to jump on the holiday bandwagon while the jack-o-lanterns are still fresh if they wish to reach their targeted demographic in a timely fashion. With creativity, timeliness, and originality, a well sculpted marketing plan can help marketers jingle all the way to success with higher ROIs and deeper consumer engagement.
Why should you bother with SMS integration into your other systems?
One of the major benefits of text messaging is immediacy. You want to enable your customers to leverage that benefit without modifying the way they interact with your business.
Platform integration plays a key role in enabling your existing applications or systems to be mobile. When you integrate with a reliable and feature-rich SMS gateway like 3Seventy, then delivering communication benefits to your customers is easy. Our free Application Programming Interface (API) tools allow for seamless integration with your proprietary software or website. Enabling your existing system to interact with an SMS gateway for sending and receiving messages can help streamline your marketing processes.
Common Systems for SMS Integration
Email: Combining SMS and Email may be the smartest thing you’ve ever done for your customers or clients. Rather than forcing them into only one communication channel with your business, customers can choose how they want to contacted and the types of notifications they want. While a customer may want to read your monthly newsletter via email, he may also want a specific text alert about a product or service update. This will alleviate your database issues by combining the two, as well as increase customer satisfaction.
CRM: This is where SMS personalization has the greatest potential. If you have a truly robust Customer Relationship Management system that is filled with contact attributes such as birthdays, contract renewals, preferred products, zip code, or other key identifiers, then you should be leveraging that information in your text message marketing program. Use auto response text message to in response to contact’s actions, or send out behavior-based targeted messages to reach the right audience at just the right time. And, of course, remember to personalize things when it makes sense (with the contact’s first name or other unique identifier).
This integration improves the efficiency of your communication by giving you more information and more options for each SMS you send or receive.
Point of Sale: For the mobile marketers working in retail, restaurants, and other brick and mortar businesses, SMS API integration into POS systems makes a world of difference. Using an SMS API to integrate into your POS is a great way to ensure that you don’t miss any opportunities to make a sale or retain a customer. While text coupons / mobile coupons can be a total blessing for driving foot traffic, they become an annoyance when the customer cannot move smoothly through checkout. We can all fantasize about having a mobile app for our store, but that isn’t always the smartest investment. SMS is a much more affordable way to keep customers loyal, fulfill their mobile requirements, and get people into your store.
Our integration tools (PHP .Net, Java, Ruby) make it easy for programmers to develop, integrate and deploy SMS solutions with your proprietary software or website, enabling 2-way SMS communications. Learn more about 3Seventy’s SMS API and get support integrating your systems with our SMS Gateway by contacting us.
Kids and parents are more mobile and shopping savvy than ever. Back to School sales are more competitive, so you need to stay up to date on the best ways to reach your audience.
This year has the potential to be a strong back-to-school shopping season. The most tech savvy brands are integrating their back to school sales through multiple marketing channels and SMS is a high priority. “The International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual Back-to-School Consumer Spending Survey reveals that 67 percent of shoppers plan to spend more than last year, while 79 percent plan to use a mobile device while shopping in-store for back-to-school”(source: Mobile Commerce Daily).
1. LOCAL TARGETING: While many shoppers are price or deal driven, use your mobile tools to deliver locally targeted information that includes relevant offers to back-to-school shoppers. The mobile coupons you send via text make it easier for shoppers to quickly redeem coupons.
2. PERSONALIZE: Your shoppers want to feel like they are only getting the information that is most relevant to them. Rather than sending large blasts out to your entire audience, use purchase history or activities to send more targeted messages about specific products.
3. INTEGRATE: If you can create a smooth single stream in the user experience – from text message with a mobile coupon, to the rack in store, to the checkout – then your retail store is likely to beat out the competition. Do this by integrating your systems. Connect your CRM system with your SMS platform and your Point of Sale.
4. MOBILE WEB: If your website is not already mobile friendly by now, then you may be in for trouble during back to school shopping time. Whether a shopper is visiting your website from an email, text, or another website, the user experience needs to be a positive one. Test things out. Make sure buttons are easy to click on all device types (not just iPhone), and that making a purchase appears secure.
5. TAX FREE WEEKEND: Leverage the tax free weekend the same way you would a holiday. Plan specific promotions for those days to drive traffic into your store. In Texas, the tax free weekend is August 7-9. If you have an existing list of contacts in your mobile database, then push your message out between today (8/4) and Friday (8/7). Make your contacts feel like they are getting exclusive content.
With the recent boom in mobile apps, it’s easy to forget that the original one-to-one mobile platform, text messaging, continues to be an effective means of customer outreach.
According to an April 2015 Pew Research Center report, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 97% of these users used text messaging at least once during the one-week survey period. And according to a 2010 SinglePoint whitepaper titled “Conversational Advertising,” 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of them being delivered.
Text Messaging Drives Conversion
While in-app push notifications and beacons have enjoyed better buzz recently as the latest technologies to target customers, text messaging remains the unsung channel of choice for engaging existing consumers and attracting new ones.
Kiehl’s found that 73% of customers who elected to receive its mobile marketing messages bought something at one of its stores, according to its marketing partner, and 81% of those surveyed following a pilot program reported that they recalled receiving the mobile offers.
Cosmetics retailer Julep, generated a 34.2% click-through rate and 17.4% conversion on an SMS campaign. And an Ace Hardware franchise offering mobile coupons reported that 49% of consumers redeemed the initial coupon at purchase and spent an average of $72 each.
Not every message needs to be a sales pitch or offer, though. Text messages are effective at conveying big news, event reminders, and seasonal messaging. Like e-mail, text messaging is also useful for customer service, order confirmations, and shipping reminders.
“We have found that the key to our customers SMS success is to deliver timely, valuable and possibly exclusive content to consumers,” Dan Slavin, CEO of CodeBroker, told hyperlocal marketing site Street Fight. “Our customer’s SMS marketing lists continue to experience steady growth.”
Mobile Opt-in is Essential
As with mobile apps, retailers need to get consumers’ opt-in to receive text messages. The recipient must take action, and sometimes must perform a “double opt-in” if the retailer plans to send multiple messages.
“The fastest way to see your database dwindle and to put yourself at risk for legal action is to pull a bait-and-switch with your audience and have them opt in to receive one type of message and then start sending messages unrelated to what they opted in for,” according to one SMS guide.
But SMS is hard to beat for cost and coverage. “It’s really attractive in the marketing mix because it’s very efficient from the cost side,” Dan Swartz, Upshot’s senior vice president of digital marketing, media and analytics said in a CONNECT Mobile Summit panel. “But also, it’s efficient because it’s very effective. We see really high read rates.”
SMS is Still Crucial to the Marketing Mix: Originally published in Marketing Dive by By Ian P. Murphy. See the full article
The hurdles you must jump to achieve success are broad and overwhelming at times. From the local restaurant competition to reputation, customer service to food quality, and even the weather. Getting customers through the door of your restaurant is one of the challenges you face – not to mention return customers and developing loyalty. So how can you compete when your budget is planned around just running the business, and not marketing it? One of the most affordable choices you have is SMS (text message marketing).
3 Keys to Success for Restaurants to Use SMS
On a regular basis, a restaurant owner is likely to be thinking about at least one of these business issues: increasing revenue, reducing costs and improving the company operations and culture. SMS (text messages) can be used to support these restaurant business issues.
1.Loyalty and Promotions
The first step is gaining SMS subscribers through texting in or a web form*. In-store promotions are often the most effective means of driving customers to opt-in and join your SMS Loyalty program.
Print posters, window stickers, table tents – or whatever else you usually have out in the restaurant to communicate with customers – and include a short code (shortened phone number) and keyword with a tempting incentive. A&W Restaurants chose to offer a Free Burger, with some clever stipulations attached to prevent abuse or fraud.
Once a customer has join your SMS loyalty or rewards program, you can do several things to drive further revenue. Ask some questions about food preferences. Send limited time special offers, holiday discounts, and promote your existing offers like happy hour. Announce events, such as live music or special football game watching parties.
>Keep in mind the frequency of messages – sending too many can cause customers to opt-out and possibly be turned off by the over-communication.
>Ask questions that you can use to send targeted text messages later. For example, ask about the kinds of updates the customer wants to receive – special offers, events, new menu items, or all of it.
The old method of collecting feedback on a printed card or receipt has been replaced with a website link, but that is not always so simple. What happens when the customer loses the receipt or just forgets to complete the survey?
SMS addresses the immediacy issue. Being able to text in and reply to a few questions within a few minutes (often while still in the restaurant) will increase your response rates. You can ask the questions completely through texting or send the customer to a mobile website with the feedback survey. And if you are asking the right questions, then you may be able to reduce costs on broken procedures or unpopular menu items.
3. Internal Operations
When it isn’t food or atmosphere being improved, the restaurant staff and their procedures are the next most important to be worked on. Improving restaurant operations and communications allows business owners to reduce costs and improve the culture of the business. This ranges from hiring employees to managing deliveries, internal communications to optimizing menu mix, and improving the overall dining experience.
“Employees use messaging to broadcast alerts, such as when a toxic spill occurs on the worksite or information technology systems are down. Employees text to schedule last-minute meetings or announce date and time changes of events. Employees working off site can give a supervisor or co-worker instant updates on a remote project. And an employee can send a critical message to a supervisor who’s tied up in a meeting without disruption.” (Houston Chronicle)
When restaurants use SMS in the right context, they create a more attractive situation for customers to participate. Customers can derive more value from the instant and accessible channel of SMS, which will often drive them to return to a restaurant.
How is your restaurant using SMS text messaging to grow and retain customers? What mobile marketing strategies have worked best for you?Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Everyone has one – a friend you know everything about, from little dramas to health scares, but they know nothing about you. At times, you may be hesitant to ask how they are doing because you only have 20 minutes before your 2 o’clock meeting. They’ve shown you seventeen versions of the same baby pictures with the Easter bunny, but don’t even know that you have kids too. Sooner or later, you run out of patience, and with reassuring nods you sever the relationship.
One-way conversations are never enjoyable. This is a simple truth that should drive the way businesses market their brand and what they have to offer. A one-way conversation between two people is sometimes unavoidable, the listener must perform under the expectations of what is socially acceptable – smile and nod with some enthusiasm. However, one-way conversations between a person and a business’s marketing tactics are avoidable. In mediums like television, the web, mobile, or the radio the listener has a choice to stay engaged or remove the marketing message.
Interactive Text Messaging
Consumers are bombarded with advertising messages, so the window of time you have to state your case without being a nuisance and win the hearts of potential customers is limited. Think about the way your business handles advertising. You could be driving customers away with all the “talking at” them.
So how do businesses initiate positive two-way conversations with consumers? Enter mobile marketing. Utilizing text marketing allows businesses to:
Only the customers who choose to receive messages from the business will receive messages (100% opt-in). Respecting a consumer’s time and inbox is a small courtesy that goes a long way. Stand out by not forcing yourself into their world, but rather by fitting in. Providing consumers with meaning and valuable content is key to increasing coupon redemption and store traffic as well as building a strong brand image.
Don’t be a brand social bomb, repelling potential customers with one-way communication. Be mindful of how and where you are advertising. Email blasts tend to clog up consumer inbox’s and get lost in the Spam folder. Cold phone calls often go unanswered. Negative experiences with your brand constructs an idea in consumer’s minds of what your business is to the community. A mobile strategy is an easy and effective way to maintain positive two-way conversations with consumers and ultimately facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between them and your business.
As of March 1, 2013, plastic bags are no longer permitted to be used in grocery stores in Austin, Texas. This forces us to buy reusable bags and bring them to the supermarket, but it also makes us greener consumers. Whole Foods has been using wind-based renewable-energy credits since 2006 to offset their energy use. Businesses are thinking more about how they can make their operations greener to reduce costs and how the products they use/sell affect consumers too.
It is no longer enough for us to print fewer pages in the office and depend upon digital files. The way businesses communicate with customers’ needs to change too. Grocery stores are a perfect example of high amounts of waste – circulars, direct mail and printed coupons. That is a lot of wasted paper and money. I totally understand that the use of circulars is still fairly high, but printed coupons are definitely on the decline and so is direct mail. If a grocery store was to reduce their circular printing from a run of 100,000 each week to 60,000 each week, then they can put the extra money towards a lower cost revenue driver like text marketing and be 5 times greener.
Making Green with Mobile
Every grocery store MUST HAVE mobile websites by now. If you do not have one, then people are shopping elsewhere or they are less informed about your product offerings and therefore buying fewer items. Get your mobile websites up and running, and make sure you stick to the 3-click rule. If it takes more than 3 clicks to get to any content, then people will stop trying. Include recipe ideas and give customers the ability to send the shopping list via text message. This makes shopping easier, and you can deliver a coupon code via text marketing too. Promote your recipes and shopping lists on digital screens in-store or posters. Let customers text in to a keyword to get the link or scan a QR code – remember that not everyone has a smartphone.
Try this out for 1-2 months and you will see impressive results. Your grocery store will be greener, customers will be satisfied, your marketing costs will be reduced, and revenue will definitely increase from the mobile coupon redemption. Go Mobile to Go Green.
TrueDialog is the preferred SMS Texting solution for enterprise businesses and higher education. Send text messages one-to-one or one-to-millions in just a few easy steps. TrueDialog’s cloud-based SMS Texting software and SMS API are ideal for businesses serious about scalability, security and compliance.