The Easy Guide to Text Message Marketing for Retail Stores

In recent years, retail marketing has become increasingly cutthroat. Additionally, with the rise of e-commerce, brick and mortar stores are forced to adapt.


Sample Text Message

In an effort to outpace competitors and claim larger portions of the digital landscape, many retail businesses have invested heavily in digital advertising, social media, pay-per-click, and more.

Unfortunately, many of these digital channels are difficult to optimize and manage. And if you’re like most retail business owners, spending hours pouring over the latest digital marketing “tips and tricks” is simply out of the question. Moreover, there’s no guarantee that any of these digital channels will actually work for you and your business. There’s nothing worse than spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on a costly advertising program that underperforms, right?

You need to find a digital marketing channel that is simple and easy to get started, effortless to manage and maintain, effective at driving immediate sales and conversions, and super cost-effective.

The Easy Guide to Text Message Marketing for Retail Stores

Sample Text Message

The savviest retail business owners and marketers know that text messaging is one of the easiest, effective, and budget-friendly marketing activities available. These claims are supported by a handful of studies that show that 91% of United States citizens own a smartphone, 90% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes of receipt, and brands’ texting promotions reach 95% of the target audience.

In this guide, we’ll give you everything you need to know about text message marketing for retail stores. Use this guide to maximize your retail text messaging effectiveness and deliver high-performing, results-driven text messages to prospects and customers.

What is Text Message Marketing for Retail Stores?

There are a few basic components of an effective text marketing strategy including:

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    Short Message Service (SMS)

    SMS is an umbrella term that covers the various functions and features of a text messaging platform and any additional offerings delivered by the service provider. SMS supports alphanumeric messages of 160 characters or less. In most cases, SMS is synonymous with text messaging. Each year, users send trillions of SMS messages, making it one of the most widely used communications tools in the world.

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    Multimedia Messaging Services (MMS)

    MMS is a standard way to send multimedia content including images, video, and audio files. MMS messages can contain up to 500kb of data or enough for a 30-second video or audio file. The number of images users can attach to an MMS message is dependent on the file size.

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    Keywords and Short Codes

    A keyword is a short word or phrase (12 characters or less) that customers use to opt-in to ongoing text communications. A short code is a five or six digit number recipients text the keyword to. Examples:

    • Text SUMMERSALE to 787878 to redeem 15% off your next online order.
    • Text BUYONE to 787878 to take advantage of our buy-one-get-one offer.
    • Text FREEBIE to 787878 to receive a free gift with a purchase of $15 or more.

    Try adding your keyword and short code to in-store signage, on the back of receipts, in email signatures, and other high-traffic offline and online sources.

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    Audience Segmentation

    Most text message marketing providers make it easy to organize text message marketing contacts. Segmentation capabilities allow retail business owners and marketers to send highly targeted and relevant text messages to contacts.

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    Reporting Dashboard

    A reports and analytics dashboard allows users to measure retail text marketing performance. Again, most major text marketing service providers give users access to powerful reporting metrics including open rate, delivery, and more.

How to Build a Text Marketing Strategy for Retail Stores

Now that you have a basic understanding of the top components of an effective text marketing strategy, it’s time to put all the pieces together. Follow these simple steps to build a high-powered and results-driven text marketing strategy for your retail business:

Sample Text Message

1. Understand Your Target Audience

The first step towards building an effective text marketing strategy is to align around your target audience’s unique preferences, desires, and pain points. A keen understanding of your target audience will allow you to create hyper-targeted and relevant text promotions and offers. A simple and easy way to better understand your target audience is to deploy a quick survey via email or in-store. In the survey, ask questions like:

  • Would you be interested in signing up for text communications with the brand?
  • What types of promotions or offers would you like to receive via text message?
  • How frequent would you like to receive text communications from the brand?
  • How effective is the brand at notifying you of upcoming promotions or offers?

Use recipients’ answers to guide your text marketing strategy.

2. Brainstorm Text Marketing Offers

Next, marketing and sales must align around text marketing promotions and offers. If you’re just getting started, there are a few quick and easy retail text marketing messages that you might want to send including flash sales, buy-one-get-one-free promotions, seasonal sales, sales reminders, and more. If you’re looking for even more great retail text marketing ideas, check out our playbook.

Sample Text Message

3. Grow Your List

Next, promote your keyword and short code. An effective keyword and short code promotion strategy will help to drive prospects and customers to your SMS and MMS marketing database. You might consider adding your keyword and short code to high-traffic online and offline sources including in-store signage, receipts, emails, social media, and your website.

Secret to Success: EZ Texting offers dynamic and customizable sign-up widgets for website, social media, and email. These widgets are purpose-built to encourage fast and easy sign-ups from prospects and customers.

Sample Text Message

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4. Segment Text Marketing Contacts

Now that you’re driving prospects and customers to your text marketing campaigns, it’s time to organize your text marketing contacts. Most retail businesses know that audience segmentation is key to delivering targeted and relevant text marketing promotions. Most retail organizations segment text recipients by the keyword. For example, if you’re sending two separate promotions — a discount on jackets and a discount on blouses — you might consider deploying two separate keywords:

  • Text JACKETSALE to 78787878 to receive 50% off your next jacket purchase.
  • Text BLOUSESALE to 78787878 to receive 50% off your next blouse purchase.

In this example, segment contacts into two distinct audience profiles based on the keyword used. This is an easy way to make sure that recipients receive the right sales offer. Moreover, you can use this audience segmentation information to deploy future offers:

  • We noticed that you’re interested in jackets. Here’s a list of our new outerwear...
  • Thanks for taking advantage of our blouse sale. Here’s another 25% off...

5. Analyze Text Marketing Results and Iterate

Lastly, analyze text marketing results. Use open rate and opt-in data to measure the effectiveness of your text marketing activities. Don’t be afraid to refine existing promotions or offers based on this incoming data and information. For example, if you noticed a massive number of recipients opted out after a seasonal buy-one-get-one-free promotion, try to correlate that drop-off to a specific function. Figure out why the promotion failed and avoid following that same path for future promotions or offers.

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Effective Text Marketing Campaigns for Retail Stores

For added effectiveness, try incorporating the following elements into your retail text marketing activities and campaigns:

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    Offer Immediate Value

    Make sure that your text marketing promotions and offers are so wildly compelling that recipients have no other choice but to act right now. Moreover, give recipients a means to act on each promotion or offer. For example, if you’re advertising an online sale, include relevant hyperlinks. Likewise, if you’re promoting a special in-store incentive, you might include directions to the nearest retail location.

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    Create a Sense of Urgency

    Use language such as “limited time offer” or “act fast” in your text marketing promotions to create a sense of urgency. The fact is, prospects and customers are more likely to act on a specific retail promotion or offer when they know that time is quickly slipping away. It’s a good idea to send several texts leading up to the conclusion of a special buy-one-get-one offer or seasonal sale.

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    Make Offers Exclusive

    Sending exclusive offers to text marketing recipients is an easy way to make customers feel valued. You might incorporate some of this language in your keyword and short code promotions. Let prospects know that the only way to receive special sales alerts and reminders is to sign up for texting with your retail brand.

The Best Text Marketing Providers for Retail Stores

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Are you searching for a mass text messaging provider for your retail store? Backed by a powerful solutions provider, your retail business will have everything it needs to deliver highly targeted, deeply personalized, and effective text marketing communications. In your search for the perfect solutions provider, partner with providers that offer:

  • Advanced Messaging Features including drip campaigns, text forwarding, recurring messages, and more.
  • Reminders that alert recipients to upcoming sales promotions or limited time offers.
  • Text-to-Landline that allows you to receive and reply to text messages on your existing business phone number.
  • Tracking and Reporting Features that give you the power to monitor text marketing performance.

Examples of Text Marketing for Retail Stores

Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware used SMS marketing to send four mobile coupons during the first two weeks of July. During the campaign, 49% of customers who received the message redeemed the coupons. Those customers bought an average of $72 worth of merchandise, increasing the average customer cart by 411%. After the campaign concluded, the company discovered that it generated approximately 13 times the cost of the mobile marketing campaign.

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Jostens using SMS marketing to notify students of payment deadlines. The program also gives students the ability to call a customer support number. As a result, student turnout for deadlines is higher than ever. As an added bonus, any student that signs up for the program is automatically entered to win a free class ring.

How to Create

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Your search for a text message marketing provider is over. EZ Texting has worked with more than 50,000 industry-leading retail businesses. During this time, we’ve helped thousands of retail businesses, both large and small, to deliver targeted text communications to prospects and customers.

Featuring an easy-to-use and customizable dashboard, EZ Texting customers are given all the tools they need to maximize their text marketing potential. Moreover, EZ Texting offers a powerful tracking and reporting feature designed to help you develop a deeper understanding of your target audience. Monitor texts sent, messages received, and overall up-to-date contact counts. Additionally, access key insights around engagement, analyze, refine, and repeat — it’s that easy.

Get started with EZ Texting in just five minutes. You don’t need any special knowledge or technology to start connecting with your contacts.

Join the 165,000 customers who have used SMS marketing to connect with their audiences.