Integrate Online and Offline Shopping using SMS

Atheeb Hasan
Jan 13, 2020 · 6 min read
Image for post
Image for post

It’s no secret that eCommerce has impacted consumer shopping habits. Brands must reach customers online now in order to stay competitive. That’s not to say brick-and-mortar shopping is dead. Brick-and-mortar stores actually continue to account for 90% of annual sales. Thus, retailers should focus on ways to integrate online and offline shopping to maximize their revenue.

The following points will help you better understand how text messaging can assist your brand to achieve this goal. To bring the digital and physical shopping experience together, use the following tips.

Integrate Online and Offline Shopping with Texts that Apply to Both

It’s easy to imagine ways eCommerce retailers may use text messaging to offer shoppers a more convenient shopping experience. For instance, a retailer could send shipment updates to customers who bought items online to advise them of the status of their orders. This is a smart and simple way to offer the kind of service that impresses consumers.

That said, you shouldn’t neglect the way text messaging can also be used to improve brick-and-mortar shopping. The following are examples of ways you might use SMS for this purpose:

  • Announce Sales: Perhaps a nearby location is holding a sale. Maybe a customer’s purchase history indicates this is a sale in which they would be interested. A retailer might therefore send an automated text message providing them with key details. This can help boost foot traffic.

It’s worth noting that using SMS as part of a marketing strategy can also yield a high return-on-investment. Research has shown people open text messages 98% of the time. On the other hand, the open rate for emails is a mere 20%. You’re simply far more likely to get a customer’s attention when you send a text message.

Reward Loyalty

Image for post
Image for post

Retail is competitive. Brands that wish to stand out must treat their customers well.

This isn’t merely a theory. A recent major survey indicates 72% of consumers would be more likely to buy from retailers who offer a loyalty program than retailers who do not.

Text messaging can also help in this capacity. Consider these examples:

  • Offering Coupons: When a frequent shopper makes another purchase, a retailer could text them a coupon as a reward. It is important that the customer should be able to redeem the coupon both online and in physical stores. If you want to integrate online and offline shopping, you must ensure these kinds of texts apply to both.

It’s also worth noting that text messaging can boost loyalty. For example, Cataphract has used SMS to alert customers when important, time-sensitive emails are sent. This impresses their customers and boosts the likelihood that those customers will hire them again in the future.

Use Mass Text Messaging to Promote Holiday Sales

Some promotions and sales are only relevant to certain customers. For instance, maybe you’re a marketer of a general apparel brand. You sell winter gear, summer clothes, and everything in between. A sale on winter clothes would likely only appeal to customers who’ve shown an interest in such items before. That’s why you should proactively learn about the tastes and needs of your customers. According to surveys, 63% of consumers want brands to offer personalized service. It’s important to meet those expectations.

That’s not to say there will never be instances when a sale is relevant to all your customers. An example would be a holiday sale. During the holiday shopping season, retailers often reduce prices on a range of items. Odds are good that all your customers would like to know about such promotions. Here is why text messaging can be valuable in these situations:

  • Letting Customers Know About Sales: Making sure customers know about your holiday promotions is easy with mass text messaging. This is a cost-effective way to market promotions during a very busy time of year. Again, consumers usually open text messages. Using SMS during the holidays is key to boosting sales.

Provide Key Updates

Sending mass text messages is also a smart way to provide eCommerce and brick-and-mortar shoppers with updates that apply to both. Here are a few ways you might do so:

  • Announce the Arrival of New Items: Do you have a new item in your physical stores and eCommerce shop that you want customers to know about? Spread the word with a text message. Similarly, local governments have used text messaging to make fast announcements regarding news and updates to tourism sites.

Of course, these updates should (as you now know) be relevant to all shoppers. Updates about new items, old items that are back in stock, loyalty programs, and product development status must apply to both the online and offline customer.

You’ll Reach Customers Where They Are

One of the key points to take away from this is simple: text messaging lets you reach all shoppers at any time. That’s how it helps to integrate online and offline shopping.

For instance, maybe you’re sending a mass update about a new item. Those who are near one of your physical stores when they receive the message can head to a shop and purchase the item right away. Those who are not can still go to your eCommerce store and buy the item online.

This is what makes SMS so valuable to retailers. It closes the gap between the two major ways people shop.


Sri Lanka’s Leading All-In-One SMS Service for Business

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store