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Brands: why texting your customers is good for business

November 10, 2021

E-Commerce brands need to start adapting to the new realities of marketing in the privacy-first era. Focusing on zero- and first-party data and finding new channels of communication with their audiences — and doing so quickly — is the only way to stay competitive in a cookieless world.

SMS is direct, personalized and consent-based, meaning it ticks all the boxes for a new addition to your overall marketing strategy. But it’s important to make sure you’re sending the texts that your customers actually want to receive.

We ran a survey with 2,000 consumers from the UK, Netherlands, France and Sweden and found out that 76% of them would be interested in texting with brands. Respondents also shared where they stood when it comes to data, privacy, online shopping, and what they really want from SMS marketing.

Consumers want engaging, mobile-first experiences

Let’s start with some good news: now that things are slowly getting back to normal, 69% of the respondents said they are planning on shopping more often. This number represents a growing opportunity for businesses, and further highlights the need for new ways to reach and connect with all of these potential customers.

In the coming year, over 60% of people will combine in-store and online shopping, which shows that the eCommerce industry will keep growing, even as physical stores start reopening. What is even more apparent is the trending shift towards m-commerce: over 63% of all respondents do their online shopping on their mobile phones, surpassing the use of desktop and laptop devices.

The results show that simply having a mobile-friendly online store is not enough. In order to remain competitive, businesses need to create truly engaging mobile-first experiences for their customers. Mobile is where people are. Mobile is how they shop. And brands have to find channels that cater to these experiences.

SMS marketing helps businesses reach people at every step of their customer journey and engage them in meaningful one-on-one conversations. Even the simplest and briefest SMS offers a level of personalization and a deep connection that no other channel can match. Not only that, but a whopping 76% of the participants in our survey said they are interested in being able to text businesses — which means European customers love being proactive and want to be able to initiate conversations with their favourite brands.

Shoppers will opt-in for discounts and special offers

A common question nowadays is, "How much is data worth?" The answer: A lot. With the ongoing major shift in privacy policies, zero- and first-party data is quickly becoming the holy grail of digital marketing. So what exactly is the price of personal information — like your customer’s phone number, email and birthdate? What would people trade this data for?

Our survey showed that four out of five Europeans would share personal information with a brand and almost half of shoppers (46%) are willing to provide their phone numbers if it means they will receive an incentive in return.

When asked what is the one thing that would make them create an account or share private data with a brand before buying something, 69% of shoppers said they would appreciate getting a discount to use with their next purchase. Among other preferred perks were adding items to a wish list (27%), receiving personal assistance in making a decision to buy a product (27%), using a tool to identify the most suitable product for specific needs, like a fit finder or a skin quiz (26%), and joining a waitlist for an item (21%).

If your brand is looking to entice your audience and quickly grow a solid list of SMS subscribers, consider offering incentives. Discounts are always a good idea and the perfect solution for gathering valuable data. Add engaging pop-ups to your website or use your social media channels to spread the word and turn browsers into engaged subscribers.

SMS and email together create the perfect omni-channel experience

Consumer communication preferences differ, so we asked survey respondents: if you opted-in to receive communication from a brand, which channel would you choose?

While email is still the default choice for most Europeans, it is clear that people are becoming more open to receiving text messages as well. 37% of the respondents would opt-in to receive both SMS and email, with the highest numbers coming from Sweden (51%) and France (45%). In fact, 55% of the participants in the survey said they have already signed up to receive text marketing messages from a brand at some point.

SMS enables brands to engage with their customers in personalized one-on-one conversations. With its sky-high open rate of 98% and the fact that almost every SMS gets opened within three minutes, you can guarantee your message will be seen. Use it to send shipping and delivery updates, tailored time-sensitive offers, personal discounts, product recommendations and more.

On the other hand, emails allow for longer, beautifully styled, on-brand content. Use them to tell a story, showcase your new product collections, or offer helpful reads. And leverage the combined strength of SMS and email to reach out to shoppers and create seamless, engaging experiences.

Less is more when it comes to SMS marketing

There are countless ways for businesses to engage with their audiences via SMS. But as it is a very personal channel, it is important to not overdo it and remember to only contact your subscribers when you have something meaningful to share.

Sending too many text messages too often is the main reason why people decide to opt-out of communication with a brand (pointed out by 41% of all respondents). This also applies to emails — people hate spam. In fact, over 56% of people said that if they could press one button and delete all irrelevant promotional emails in their inboxes, they would do it.

And there you have it; everything your customers expect from your text marketing strategy and campaigns, all backed by data from our survey across Europe. Consumers do want to receive texts from brands, but it has to be on their own terms — brands need to deliver personalized SMS campaigns that provide value to their subscribers. For that, customers will reward them with access to their data, loyalty, and most importantly, wallets.

Learn more about creating unbeatable SMS experiences at Yotpo.com


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