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8 Best Practices for Retail Holiday SMS Marketing

8 Best Practices for Retail Holiday Text Marketing Blog Featured Image
May 22, 2024
Lauren Goldenberg
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Reading time about 5 min

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and items flying off (real and virtual) shelves. Holiday jingle bells in retail — brick-and-mortar or click-and-mortar — tend to have a nice ‘ka-ching, ka-ching’ ring.

Make sure your messaging cuts through all the holiday clutter with text messaging, proven to be the best channel to reach customers, with 98% of messages opened — most of which are read within minutes of receipt.

Here’s your quick five-step guide to creating a winning retail promotions strategy for the holidays:


of consumers want to receive text messaging from businesses


Start Earlier Than You Think You Need To

In fact, start now.

Right now, if possible. Issues in the supply chain are all over the news, ensuring that many consumers are already beginning to plan and purchase holiday gifts.

You don’t want to miss their business. In September alone, consumers were outpacing themselves — spending much faster than expected — which could increase as we head into the Christmas and Hanukkah gift-giving seasons. Don’t let the supply chain issues cramp your bottom line.

Remind shoppers of the need to buy early by sending text reminder messages (including New Year’s).

Continue to engage them by sending text prompts with MMS imagery of covert-worthy merchandise that will keep you top-of-mind—text customers to link to your website and gift-giving list options to streamline their shopping lists.

So make merry, but make haste as well.


Drive Customers to Your Door with Mobile Discounts & Coupons

Everyone likes a discount. Particularly this time of year, when they are not just exciting to receive — but very much expected.

Mobile coupons are used more often than printed or emailed coupons, meaning SMS and MMS texts can help you cash in.

A recent survey reported that 25% of people redeem texted coupons within three days, while 60% redeem them within a week. When the coupon is sent with an MMS image, GIF, audio, or video file — you can expect up to 250% more engagement.


A Text Is the Perfect Nudge to Solve Abandoned Cart Syndrome

Sometimes, shoppers abandon their carts. It happens. But as long as you can bring the customer back into the fold, you don’t let it have to ruin your holiday business.

Customers get busy and may need to remember to check out. Or perhaps they were debating about an item? Or waiting for the price to go lower?

No matter the reason for an abandoned cart — when you automate messaging with SMS, you can encourage customers to return to your sales funnel. The faster the reminder is delivered, the more likely the customer is to act.

Texting customers with reminders about special promotions will bring them back to your site. Major sales help curb cart abandonment (i.e., Black Friday and Cyber Monday typically see a 5-10% decrease). Some other ideas to boost your SMS abandoned cart strategies include:

  • Increase urgency with phrases like “Low Inventory” or “Running Out”
  • Boost engagement with two-way texting
  • Streamlining payments through secure SMS links

Check out our 10 Steps to Cure Abandoned Cart Syndrome article for more tips.


Use Text Marketing to Transform Your Customer Service

83% of consumers want to receive text messaging from businesses.

Why? Because texting comes straight to the device, we’re all carrying — our cell phones. Customers can easily click on any links you send when it’s most convenient to them; they don’t need to be on their laptops, they can shop anywhere, and they can even be extra tempted by fabulous impulse buys.

Some of your customers are trying to text you, and you don’t want to miss their messages.

  • Respond quickly to incoming text queries.
  • Offer exciting mobile loyalty programs and rewards they can't get anywhere else.
  • Easily send receipts, delivery confirmations, and tracking updates.
  • You’ll transform your customer service and nurture these all-important relationships.


Use the Momentum of the Holidays to Power Loyalty Programs

Take advantage of the boost in traffic (both IRL and online) and promote your loyalty program to keep customers engaged all year. Pair textable numbers with QR codes on signage and receipts, easy-to-remember Keywords, and opt-ins on your website and social media channels.


Capture More SMS List Subscribers

Before and during the holiday season, your website and brick-and-mortar store will probably get more traction, so don’t lose out on potential new customers! Boost customer list growth by capturing more opt-ins during the holidays. Here’s how to do it:

  • Web sign-up forms. Motivate people to subscribe to your SMS contact list by providing a sign-up form when they visit your website. Provide a discount code for new subscribers to incentivize them to sign up.
  • QR codes. Gain new contacts through QR codes that lead them to sign up for your SMS list. You can embed QR codes on social posts, billboards, in-store collateral, and more to make it easy for holiday shoppers to get on your contact list.
  • SMS keywords. These little SMS marketing powerhouses are great for lead generation. All people have to do is text the SMS keyword to your dedicated number to initiate the text list sign-up process.

With these tactics, you can grow your SMS contact list and widen your audience reach — just in time to boost holiday sales.


Craft Seasonal Copy to Delight Customers

It’s time to pull out your best holiday puns and seasonal phrases! While you don’t want to get too cliche with your text message content, the holidays are the perfect time to connect with and delight customers with endearing seasonal text messages. Plus, you can simultaneously promote your products — it’s a win-win.

Here are a few examples to inspire you:


Sample sms message
Sample sms message


Give Customers Peace of Mind with Order/Shipping Confirmations

‘Tis the season for gift-giving! And ‘tis the season for shoppers trying to track order confirmations, purchases, and shipping info from multiple companies across several touchpoints. Make your customers’ lives easier with order and shipment confirmation texts.

Triggering text messages to be sent once someone makes a purchase and when their order is on its way is a retail best practice, not just during the holidays but throughout the year. Everyone knows the sinking feeling when they realize days have passed since their purchase and they still haven’t received tracking info or an order confirmation.

Smash Your Holiday Goals with SMS Marketing

Give your customers peace of mind this holiday season by sending automated texts that include an order number, shipment notification, and even a link to tracking information to put the icing on the Christmas cookie. Doing so will instill more trust in your brand and keep customers returning long after the New Year.

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