Nov
15
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Text Messaging Use By Retailers

Retailers are “capturing” their elusive, on-the-go customers with Mobile Marketing programs designed to deliver real-time advertising in consumers’ pockets 

Today, the marketing budget of retailers has to be much more diversified than it was a decade ago. Traditional media has fallen fast in its position of effectiveness and this has forced retailers to accept that the consumer is in greater control than ever before. 

Consumers today are on the move. And they rely on their cell phones to keep them informed and organized.  Presently in the United States, 84% of the population uses a mobile phone, and over one half of those mobile subscribers regularly use text messaging. In fact, text messaging is the number one feature that people use on their cell phones outranking picture taking and playing music. (Pew Internet & American Life Project Associated Press and AOL). In many opinions, it may be “the most powerful advertising medium of all time” (NY Times).

Contrary to popular belief, the profile of a frequent text messenger is not limited to teenagers. More and more, text messengers mirror the typical high-value retail customer.  They are mostly adults 35 and over, with an annual income at or above $75,000. (American Consumer Institute).

All of the above have made text messaging the obvious choice for the next medium which retailers must manipulate if they want to keep in touch with their target consumers. Text message advertising can reach these consumers right in their pocket.

Several retailers have already jumped on the idea of text message advertising and text message coupons. The results have been very positive.  

Target Corp. has been sending text message advertising to its customers since 2005.  Customers opt-in to the service from the company’s website and subsequently receive messages to alert them when a new fashion designer is going to have product in their stores. This has been shown to increase in-store traffic, and provide a valuable database for the company.

Uncle Ed’s Oil Shoppe, out of Battle Creek Michigan uses text message advertising to send out mobile coupons. Customers send the word, “Uncleeds” to the short code WYCD1 and receive a message back telling them “This is your $5 off coupon. Show this text message at checkout”. Customers love the fact that they don’t have to cut anything out or remember to bring it along, because they always have their cell phone with them!

 

In addition, restaurants have taken advantage of the immediacy of text messaging.  For example, upon opt-in, customers can receive alerts about lunch specials right before the lunch hour. Some will even text a mobile coupon which the customer shows to their server to receive the discount or promotion.

 

To ignore the value of text messaging as an essential part of retail advertising, is to be a follower, not a leader in the industry.

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