How to use SMS to bridge online and offline retail shopping

Juan Pablo Espinosa Padilla

The rise of online shopping giants like Amazon has changed just about everything about how people make purchases. But you might be surprised to learn that more people still buy in-store than online. So, how can you keep up, and get customers buying from both your webshops and your brick-and-mortar stores?

By bridging online and offline experiences.

The retail path-to-purchase is going mobile

Even if customers buy more often in physical stores, they still use their smartphones to do most of the legwork. Keep in mind:

  • 37% of consumers today look to social media for inspiration before making a purchase.
  • 34% get inspiration from websites before buying in-store or online.

These days, your customers expect digital experiences that will draw them into your stores. So, why not use SMS to give them loads of reasons to buy from you?

Focus on CPaaS

SMS and WhatsApp really are everywhere. Chances are your buyers already use these channels to chat with their friends.

Plus, more than 50% of customers feel that companies don’t make it easy to contact them.

CPaaS (communication platform as a service) solutions, such as SMS, can make a huge difference — and transform casual shoppers into loyal customers.

Think of it this way:

  • 91% of consumers are actually more likely to shop with brands who recognize and remember them and provide relevant offers and recommendations.
  • Nearly 3 out of 4 buyers surveyed by Accenture said that a business has never communicated with them online in a way that felt too personalized. So, if your customers have opted in to messaging and left their numbers, they really want you to strike up a conversation with them.

Bridge the online/offline divide with SMS

Considering all the channels they use, your consumers are definitely on a journey when they decide to buy a product.

Here’s how you can use SMS to win them over.

  • SMS marketing. Want to create a sense of urgency that just isn’t achievable with email? Use text messages that appeal to your VIP customers and increase foot-traffic to your stores. Send out promotions based on preferences they’ve shared with you. Text them coupons or special sales that can be redeemed on or offline.
  • Use order and delivery notificationsso the entire process can be followed by SMS. This removes one of the biggest annoyances for customers: not knowing where they stand with their order. It also frees up your customer support staff to deal with more urgent issues.
  • Text them special alerts. Want to demonstrate to your customers that you’re looking out for them? Use SMS instead of email to notify people of changes to their accounts, or to flag suspicious behavior. Send them payment reminders, and even try to guide them through password resets.
  • Don’t forget SMS surveys. By asking customers about their experience with your company and giving them an easy and fast way to respond, you’re giving your buyers a voice while also gathering critical information that can help you make their experience better going forward.

CPaaS can make the difference

We’ve built a CPaaS platform that lets retailers like you reach out to your customers naturally with SMS — or WhatsApp, or Messenger, or WeChat. With this powerful and agile technology, you can get more customers buying from you, whether they’re online or in line at your stores.