How retailers can facilitate social distancing using text messaging

The mGage team looks at how SMS can play its part in keeping shoppers safe during the pandemic.

More than 65 per cent of online shoppers are browsing and buying from their mobile devices. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this trend significantly.  According to ReadyCloud Suite, eCommerce has grown more than 32 per cent in 2020 while Baymard reports that buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) orders have surged 259 per cent. Whether customers prefer to shop online or in-store, brands must find innovative ways to give them a safe and enjoyable shopping experience. Here are just a few ways text messaging can help retailers facilitate a touchless approach.

Set Up Shopping Appointments
For stores with limited space, overcrowding may become a concern during the busy holiday season. You can facilitate social distancing via text by enabling customers to set up a shopping appointment, receive a reminder, and confirm their time slot.

Send Contactless Coupons
Most consumers have gone cashless and are unlikely to carry around physical coupons. Paper coupons are not only cumbersome and easy to lose – they can also be a vehicle for germs. MMS makes it easy to send coupons customers can scan from their phone at the register without having to touch any surfaces.

When Crocs tested an in-store mobile coupon campaign, they received 94,000 sign-ups in one month! And according to the US Department of Commerce, 77 per cent of customers spend about $10-$50 more when they’re redeeming a mobile coupon, so this strategy can generate a big ROI.

Facilitate Curbside Pick-up
The number of orders placed online and picked up at stores by customers surged 208 per cent between April 1 and April 20, 2020 compared with a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics.

Using SMS, you can alert customers when their order is ready for curbside pick-up, and enable them to text the store when they have arrived in the designated parking spot!

Many customers found curbside pick-up to be a more convenient solution they’ll continue using. Early adopters of this strategy are certainly reaping the benefits, but it’s not too late to implement it for your brand!

Lower Cart Abandonment
Your online shopping experience should be just as satisfying and simple as in-store. According to Adobe, the average online cart abandonment rate across industries is almost 70 per cent, but sending text reminders with a link to complete the purchase is an effective way to lower your store’s cart abandonment by as much as 21 per cent according to CartText. You can also sweeten the deal with a mobile coupon!

Easy Delivery and Return Tracking
When post offices get extremely busy around the holiday season, orders can get delayed or even lost. Give customers peace of mind when shopping online with order, delivery, and return tracking via SMS. Customers will have peace of mind knowing their order status at all time and will likely reduce costly inquiries to customer service. 

Supporting shoppers amid the new normal with easy contactless solutions will be extremely important this holiday season. If you’re ready to learn more, download our 2020 Holiday Mobile Marketing Guide!

If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.