Commentary

Texting in the Soup of Mobile Commerce

Merchants seem to be looking to reach mobile shoppers however they can.

There have been various innovative approaches used, such as proximity marketing, augmented reality (AR) and a range of QR code implementations.

It hardly looks like one way will dominate in-store interaction any time soon.

And then there is good old SMS.

I came across an interesting stat that may indicate that retailers reaching mobile shoppers by texting is still going strong.

A mobile technology company that sends text messages for retailers in the U.S. and U.K. reported that it has sent a total of 675 million messages for them.

And rather than subsiding, the volume is increasing. The company, Single Touch Systems, said that in the last quarter it sent 75 million messages for retailers, an increase of 21% from the same period a year earlier.

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What’s interesting here is that since most retail sales happen in stores, merchants have the potential for interactive conversations triggered by text messages.

And the shoppers are likely receiving messages from those they want to hear from, since they would have opted in.

And this is where the value exchange comes in.

If the merchant isn’t sending information or offers relevant to the shopper, those messages will be ignored or totally opted out by the consumer.

Research has consistently shown that consumers use their phones in stores, including researching products, comparing prices and snapping and sharing product photos.

Texting initiated by the shopper would seem logical but retailers also appear to be taking the lead in starting a discussion.

The value, of course, is that texting can become more interactive, or at least one-to-one compared to say, a banner ad on a mobile website.

Single Touch also is seeing a substantial increase in the number of messages retailers are sending in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. Those include reminder messages for holiday layaway programs at retailers.

If nothing else, texting is still an ingredient in the soup of mobile commerce.

 

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