By: EZ Texting
Do you despair at the number of customers who use their smartphones to compare prices while in your store? Do you want to know how to prevent showrooming without losing customers? We've delved into this dark practice to help you understand why people do it, and what you can do to minimize the impact on your business...
Showrooming, the practice of using bricks and mortar retail outlets to scope out products before searching online for a better deal, is becoming a real threat to businesses who rely on in-store sales. A report from Vibes surveyed 1000 smartphone owners, and the results were shocking, with 44% of respondents admitting to showrooming frequently.
As with most internet trends, the effects are especially obvious among the younger demographic, with half of those under 35 claiming to showroom for 50% of their purchases. In the over 35 group, just 31% said they used the tactic. Over the past two years, there has been a 156% increase in consumers purchasing from a competitor on their smartphones while in-store. It's a remarkable power-switch from the old days, when price-fixing was the white-collar crime of unscrupulous businesses, committed behind closed doors with nary a regard for the customers on the ground. The tables are now firmly turned, and retailers are taking the hits.
But what, if anything, can you do to combat the effects of showrooming on your business? According to Jack Philbin, the CEO of Vibes, the key is developing "contextually relevant and personalized mobile experiences that motivate and influence consumers to take notice and make purchases."
Building brand loyalty with mobile marketing campaigns requires retailers to up their game. In-store incentives, preference-based special offers – anything you can do to leverage attention away from competitors will help reduce the chances of customers using your outlet to window shop but not buy. Here are some top tips for counteracting showrooming:
Recognize the Advantages of Mobile Marketing
Instead of railing against some perceived digital tyranny, use the technology to your advantage. Launch an app that customers can use in-store to see all the product information they would get (including reviews) from Amazon. Prompt customers to download the app by giving them a small freebie for doing so, and ask them to opt in to mobile text marketing lists so you can send them offers that may appeal. Remember, 60% of consumers want mobile content that matches their interests, so harvest as much information from them as you can.
Provide Free Wi-Fi
This is a winning strategy, as it gets potential customers onside as soon as they walk into your store. Recent stats from JiWire indicate that free in-store wi-fi influences the shopping habits of 44% of people.
Improve Customer Service
So you've won people over with free wi-fi and a useful app. They're already less-inclined to look elsewhere. Now you need to provide a personalized experience – it might just be the key differentiator between your outlet and the cheap-but-impersonal website. Providing better service is no quick fix, but if you want to know how to prevent showrooming in the long term, talking to your customers - and finding out what they need - is a good start.
Offer Unique Products
The best way to make your price unbeatable is by ensuring there is nothing to which your product can be compared. Increasingly, suppliers are being asked to create product lines that can only be sold in stores.
As the holiday season approaches, retailers have a fantastic opportunity to create memorable, personalized experiences for shoppers. Figuring out how to prevent showrooming will teach you a number of important lessons about your own business - and maybe reveal some flaws in your model that you'd never even considered. A combination of targeted mobile SMS marketing campaigns, freebies, customer service and wifi-enabled locations can help retailers wrest control of their market away from smartphones, and back into the real world.
By: EZ Texting
Mobile technology is rapidly changing how companies interact with their customers. Tech research firm eMarketer has estimated that the mobile marketing industry will see at least a 400% increase over the next four years, with around 37 billion dollars in mobile ad spending by 2016. This is why retail brands are transitioning their customer relationship management efforts away from traditional techniques, such as punch cards or rewards cards, and into mobile marketing strategies, such as frequent shopper mobile apps, quick scan features, and text message exclusive offers.
With more than 98% of text messages being read, SMS messaging has indeed become a significant component of the expanding mobile marketing platform. Boasting a conversion rate of approximately 8.2%, according to a 2010 report by the Direct Marketing Association, mobile SMS converts at around six times the average conversion rate of both email marketing and traditional direct mail marketing. Companies find that text messages offer a quick, non-intrusive but ultra personal way of interacting with customers. Since text marketing must be performed with an opted-in list of consumers, SMS has been especially useful for building customer loyalty. The more often customers receive texts, the more repeat business the companies receive. In fact, a recent study by Leads 360 shows that customer conversions actually quadrupled when sending a customer three texts as opposed to a single text. Below are a few SMS marketing strategies brands have used in building customer loyalty.
Customer Loyalty Strategies
SMS Messaging is one of the most personal ways of connecting to a consumer. When building a customer loyalty program, it’s important to gather as much information as possible on each customer—their shopping habits, interests, location, etc., so that a company can target particular text offers to the right individuals. Segment text marketing lists appropriately so that an offer for shoes, for example, goes to the individuals who are most likely to buy that product. Behavioral targeting and subsequent personalization is a key facet of any marketing strategy, but especially for such an intimate method of engagement as text marketing.
2. Thank You Messages
When cashiers or eCommerce sites incentivize customers to join their mobile loyalty programs, companies can express gratitude to their repeat customers with special offers for making a purchase or with further information about upcoming products, services, and events. With creative integration possibilities, using applications like EzTexting’s SMS API, companies can automate thank you messages to be sent to customers after purchasing products. Making consumers feel appreciated and valued is crucial when developing long term customer relationships.
3. Special Offers
One of the key ways to build a company’s opt-in Mobile Loyalty or Rewards program is to offer membership into an exclusive club in exchange for a phone number. Consumers must trust the brands to which they give their phone numbers—that these companies will use their numbers respectfully and that there will be a significant value provided for this intimate opportunity to engage. Sending monthly or weekly special offers, exclusive to members in the loyalty program, is a fantastic way of both encouraging loyalty program signups and incentivizing repeat business.
4. Coupon Codes
Regular coupon codes sent via text message, using a keyword and short code combination, is an important factor in any brand’s customer loyalty program. Customers who receive reminders to purchase, using coupon codes as incentives, have proven to purchase more often than when left to their own devices. And with emerging geo-targeting capabilities, now retail-based brands can build systems that automatically send text messages to an opted-in consumer when he or she has entered into a distinct radius of a retail location.
5. In-Store Incentives
When customers come to a retail location to browse or make a purchase, it’s important to upsell products and services that add value to the products they were already interested in. Advertise a short-code throughout the store offering exclusive offers and coupons, or promote targeted keywords on particular items that can target interested consumers. For instance, if a woman is looking at a new dress, the brand might put a short code on the dress’ tag that encourages her to text a keyword and receive a special offer on shoes and belts that go with that dress. A plethora of creative upsell opportunities exist with in-store SMS services.
How do you use text marketing strategies to build customer loyalty? We’d love to hear about your experiences. Drop a comment below!
By: EZ Texting
Personalized SMS campaigns can help your marketing efforts stand out from the crowd. Texting is the quickest, most direct and – importantly – the most welcome type of contact your customers can receive. It is highly effective for connecting with loyal, engaged consumers, which is why it's such a good platform for personalizing your message, either to an individual or a small group of individuals with common interests.
Bear in mind, smartphones are now virtual extensions of people. This is especially true among the all-important youth demographic; the mobile phone is almost guaranteed to be within the boundaries of an individual's personal space, 24/7.
Adding targeted, personalized mobile SMS marketing to your arsenal will ultimately make your entire mobile text marketing campaign more effective. So how do you create personalized mobile SMS marketing strategies that work? Adopt these four maxims and you won't go wrong:
1. Judge it right
As such a personal form of communication, brands have to be careful about using mobile SMS marketing in a way that is annoying or overbearing. You want to send only information that's appropriate, relevant and timely (unlike the infamous 3am text sent by Barack Obama's 2008 election team to announce his vice-presidential pick). Respect time zones and plan your mobile text marketing campaign to be a ripple across the oceans rather than a blast that hits the world all at once.
2. Accuracy breeds responsiveness
There's no point coming up with a personalized special offer if you get the customers name wrong. Make sure you provide enough fields on the signup form for people to leave their full names and their nickname or abbreviation. Getting small details right – like an unusual spelling of a common name – is the kind of thing that will set you apart from brands that make the same old mistakes. Never assume, always double check, and offer consumers an easy way to update your records if their details change.
3. Spend time building preference profiles
From the outset, you should dive off the proverbial deep end when it comes to finding out personal preferences. Collecting interests can be done in several ways, including: Keyword-based opt-in Surveys Leveraging existing data Surveys should include questions that may not seem immediately relevant. Favourite sports teams or bands, for example, may one day become useful if you have a promotional tie-in with a local baseball team or concert promoter. Having these details on file could pay dividends, so play the long game when it comes to mining your customers for information. Also, be sure to divide your lists into various criteria, like area, zip code and age.
4. Chuck them a freebie
Free content is one of the surest ways to get a response. If you have a video that relates to customers in a specific area (and is relevant to your brand) then send it along with a special offer. One of the benefits of mobile SMS marketing is you can include links to rich content which smartphone owners can view while stuck on a train or otherwise in need of a useful distraction. You might just make someone's day.
How do you personalize your SMS campaigns? Drop a comment below!
By: EZ Texting
Mobile marketing strategies for restaurants are a key consideration for the modern food industry. Most importantly of all, SMS text messaging offers affordability, reach and effectiveness, and should form the spine of any mobile marketing strategy for restaurants.
While traditional means of advertising has its place ie. fliers, newspaper advertisements, commercials, etc., mobile marketing via text messaging has the ability like none other to put your brand into the customers' hands in an instant, at any moment and for just a few dollars per campaign. And, because the time and cost of creating a mobile SMS marketing campaign is so miniscule, the ROI has the potential of being exponential.
What makes text message marketing the successful alternative is the fact that mobile devices have become more and more prevalent around the world. It's also proven that text messages have a nearly 100% open rate making the message virtually guaranteed to be received and read. For the user, creating text campaigns is simple enough for anyone to use, quick and easy to track results.
As a business owner, simply serving your customers as they come and watching them walk out the door when they're done is like money passing through your fingers because the opportunity to turn those same customers into loyal clientele is missed. There is tremendous value in collecting contact information of your customers and growing your client lists as this allows you to create a built-in audience for your mobile marketing strategies, which becomes a go-to income source in addition to new daily traffic.
But, in order to start building these lists, you need your customers to Opt-In. Simply advertise a special promotion on a menu, receipt or other obvious place along with a shortcode and keyword(s) such as, "Text FREE PIZZA to 41414." Once customers text the keyword(s), they've opted in to receive future offers.
Now that you're growing a nice long list of customer names and phone numbers, your imagination is the only limitation to creating fun and valuable campaigns for you and your customers.
The Philadelphia-based Couch Tomato Cafe used mobile text marketing to offer a limited-time promotion of a free dish with purchase of a dinner. By the end of the promotion period, the restaurant estimated nearly 100 extra orders on a single day compared to the same day in a previous week. The value of the extra orders exceeded any cost associated with running the campaign, making the ROI a success.
The simplicity of a quick and easy-to-read text message offering something for free or at a discount, for example, will grab the customers' attention enough to whet their appetite and bring them through your doors.
There are other ways of using mobile marketing strategies for restaurants. Dominos Pizza uses mobile marketing trends to draw more attention to its social media platform. In order to get more college students to like its Facebook page, it advertised a keyword and shortcode during a basketball game offering a free pizza to anyone who texted the keyword and then "Liked" their page. By the end of the semester, Dominos collected nearly 2,000 fans on Facebook, which is used as another marketing tool, and ran more successful promotions that resulted in selling more pizza.
SMS text messaging can also be worth its weight in gold on those rainy days. When business is slow and needs a boost, texting allows restaurants to quickly blast out offers within minutes. Devise a simple promotion offering a discount for lunch or introduce a new menu item and watch the orders roll in. Also, personalize your texts to create customer loyalty and sense of community by sending out special offers for birthdays and other special occasions.
Text messaging is the streamlined solution to your restaurant marketing needs. It's simple, fast and delivers results instantaneously, which is why so many businesses are turning to SMS marketing.
By: EZ Texting
The season of ghouls and goblins, vampires and werewolves is officially upon us. Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year to engage in mobile text marketing and it needn’t be a spooky experience. In fact, consumers spent $8 billion last year on Halloween alone, definitely a treat for retailers.
Not only is Halloween the kickoff to the holiday season, it involves parties, candy, costumes, food and exciting events at the local pumpkin patch or haunted house...all opportunities to send out text message promotions for discounts, deals or interactive and fun advertising. What this means is that the creativity behind your next text marketing campaign is only limited by the imagination.
Another encouraging sign according to research shows that consumers made their purchases and conducted most of their product searches the weekend before the big day. What this means is that the final moments ramping up to October 31st can be the prime time to start blasting deals and promotions. For example, the party supply store down the street still has Halloween inventory that it needs to unload. Using a customer list compiled since last Christmas, send out a text message offering a discount on Halloween decor or a free candy bowl with a minimum purchase.
Use mobile text message marketing to advertise services that might fly under the radar, such as a dental appointment! Dentists can send a text blast out to patients for a discounted check-up for the first week of November only...post Halloween candy binge, of course.
The ‘trick’ is to make the campaigns fun, interactive and useful to the consumer. That’s why text messaging is the popular solution to a business’ marketing needs. Not only is it affordable and easy to use, the message is delivered quickly. And, with a nearly 100% open rate, messages are practically guaranteed to be received and read. Bring more traffic through your door by being engaging and putting your brand into the customer’s pockets when they need you the most.
By: EZ Texting
So far, the main driver of business has been the health sector, which has developed all manner of gizmos aimed at monitoring physical fitness and wellbeing. Calorie counter, pedometer, sleep monitor and all round digital watchdog Fitbit Force has performed very well, and other activity trackers like Jawbone UP and the Nike FuelBand have followed. Healthcare professionals are working on making embedded wireless communication available to inpatients and outpatients alike.
By tracking how much you move around your house or local area via a discrete wristband, FitBit and its ilk can record information about anything from miles walked to number of steps taken, allowing you to plan your fitness regime more effectively.
The technology behind the wearable device boom is the star of the show here. Bluetooth 4.0 has been combined with newer, more effective body-worn sensors, capable of automatically recording data from an individual's activities. But the fundamentals of the hardware are remarkably simple - and that's why wearable technology has so much potential. As designs get sleeker and subtler, they become more attractive to people usually reticent to wear watches or jewellery. Worn so close to the skin, fitness trackers now capable of picking up on perspiration levels and incorporating that data into the wearers physical report.
Companies are developing new ideas at a terrific rate, some that will probably remain on the drawing board, others that will transcend their ambitious conception and make it to market. The AirWaves mask was one recent winner of a competition run by Frog Design. Emerging from Shanghai, AirWaves takes the notion of the pollution mask and gives it a hi-tech makeover. It monitors pollution levels in the air and shares it with other local wearers, effectively creating a collective map of which areas in a city you should avoid.
The Kinetik concept – also from Frog – has emerged as one of the leading new ideas. As the name suggests, it attaches to moving objects like bike spokes, and harnesses kinetic energy. The low volume of energy generated could be enough to power mobile phones.
Speaking of which, wearable mobile tech devices built into phones are going to play a major role in the future progress of wearable tech products. Companies can adopt targeted text message campaigns that contact customers to tell them about their latest product. Individuals who are in the vicinity of a shop with an in-store special offer can be informed. The technology promises to have a major impact on the way mobile SMS campaigns are run. The mobile marketing industry has to be ready.
Advancing your mobile marketing strategy is, at this point, all about reaching individuals with the type of message they want to hear. The twin forces of bluetooth capability and wearable mobile tech gadgetry are proving to be an unstoppable force in terms of personalized SMS marketing.
By: EZ Texting
In a recent study, Google found that 65% of study participants began any online search for information or for shopping by using their mobile devices. Mobile organic search is thus one of the most important mobile marketing channels to focus on, and marketers should be aware of the proper techniques for mobile optimization. Beyond mobile search optimization, however, marketers must also understand how to build a conversion-friendly mobile web site. Mobile versions of web sites should appeal to mobile users, with ease of use, clarity in design, and simple channels to take actions when desired. The best way to tailor a web presence for mobile devices is to develop a responsive web site, which detects the type of device a visitor is using and presents content and layouts that are designed for that interface. The smartphone users in Google’s study were primarily motivated by communication and entertainment activities. That means presenting valuable, entertaining, interesting, and interactive content, especially content that inspires sharing, is of utmost importance when establishing brand awareness strategies. Developing content for mobile web sites should be mobile specific—no long articles or studies, but rather entertainment or concise factual information.
According to Nielsen, mobile users are now spending 10% more time on mobile apps than they are on the mobile web. There is a huge potential for consumer engagement through innovative, fun, and social mobile apps. Developing apps that make consumer experiences more unique, fun, or simple are key elements to keep in mind. Under the guise of apps, marketers also launch short mobile games utilizing rich media in order to promote products. In early 2013, Adidas Philippines, for example, launched a rich media game to promote its new Boost shoe, which resulted in a 1.27% click-through-rate, with 1.2 million impressions and over 15 thousand clicks.
Location-Based Mobile Advertising
An emerging and increasingly essential mobile marketing channel is location-based mobile advertising, which tracks where consumers are located and offers coupons for nearby stores to encourage immediate actions. For instance, in April 2013, frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry launched a geo-specific mobile ad campaign that offered mobile coupons to motivate nearby consumers to visit stores. Pinkberry ran the ads on the Pandora iPhone app, which showed consumers their current approximate distance from the nearest Pinkberry along with a mobile coupon for $1 off and a click-to-call button.
With a 98% open rate and a conversion rate of approximately 8.2%, according to a 2010 report by the Direct Marketing Association, mobile SMS marketing has become one of the leading mobile marketing tactics for new and growing brands. In one use case, Chick-Fil-A employed text message marketing to build their list of opt-in guests for a text message club, which is poised to offer specials and discounts for club members. Customers that joined the club immediately received a coupon for a free chicken sandwich, with a redemption period of 2 weeks from opt in. After only the first 5 days, a single Chick-Fil-A store received 564 opted-in customers to whom they can now continue to remarket.
With the growth of mobile and the success of so many use cases in mobile advertising, it’s no doubt that mobile marketing tactics must be utilized in both small and large scale marketing strategies. The question is: which mobile marketing tactics are suited for your brand and your target audience? Addressing this question and implementing strategies to test which tactics work best will become increasingly imperative in the developing mobile economy.
By: EZ Texting
The pinch is being felt far beyond the public sector. As both sides flirt simultaneously with compromise and a steadfast commitment to towing the party line, ordinary Americans are suffering. Private enterprise is bracing itself for another long week of uncertainty – and the tech industry is no exception. As a young, dynamic marketplace, the tech sector plays a disproportionate role in job creation. If the deadlock continues, the industry will struggle to absorb the shutdown’s ripple effect, which could have devastating consequences for the wider economy.
Whether you’re a bedroom entrepreneur or a blue chip behemoth, here are six activities you might want to postpone until next quarter…
Conducting Government Business
Every company that does business with the federal government will be affected by late payments, and all contractors are effectively out of a job until the situation is resolved. This will affect the big boys like Microsoft and Google, who have major ongoing federal contracts, but the impact will be more keenly felt by independent contractors providing government IT services to small businesses.
Getting Access to Public Information
The shutdown means government websites will no longer be updated, requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act will be postponed, and some public information will be taken offline altogether. The FTC is closed-for-business, so consumers cannot file complaints or register for Do Not Call. Tech firms can expect to deal with a backlog of customer queries when normal operations resume.
Applying for Radio Frequencies
The FCC website is unavailable until further notice, with potentially disastrous consequences for mobile communications companies. No FCC means no spectrum management, which means any new applications for space on the radio spectrum will have to wait until the situation in Washington is resolved. Cell phones, ISPs, tablets - all are reliant on the Office of Spectrum Management to keep the airwaves running smoothly. It’s a critical resource that has been lumped in with ‘non-essential’ federal operations during the shutdown. Don't worry - while it's bad news for anyone about to launch a broadband-reliant product, you can still make calls, send text messages and go online with your existing provider.
Starting a New Business
With the United States Small Business Administration shutting up shop, loans will be disrupted, creating yet another clogged pipeline that could take months to clear. If you’re working on a startup business plan, our advice is to wait until 2014 before applying for a federal loan.
Tech employees who travel abroad for work are experiencing massive delays in receiving visas and passports. Some documents – such as the H-1B – will not be processed at all during the shutdown.
Try floating your stock right now and it will capsize. All IPOs currently being processed have been halted, and new filings are banned altogether. This spells doom for the blue chip boom, as Twitter and other major tech players are hobbled indefinitely by warring politicos. It’s not all bad news. The U.S. Patent and Trademark office remains open, and the trusty U.S. Postal Service ticks over, but the real impact of the shutdown won’t be clear until the knock-on effects kick in after October 17. Somewhat counter-intuitively perhaps, the best action plan for the tech sector is to mimic the government: keep operations to a minimum, lie low, and wait for the storm to pass before attempting to clear up.