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Texting 101

5 ways to use business texting to improve your retail business

Fatima Puri
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The landscape of the retail industry has changed massively since the rise of e-commerce. In a way, retail stores now operate more as showrooms for products and a logistics center for processing orders. Most shoppers frequent retail stores to help them in their decision-making process, not necessarily to buy unless they’re pushed for time, or it works better to buy the item in-store. The need for two-way coordination with customers makes texting an excellent tool for retail businesses to use. We’ll cover common problems retailers face and how business SMS can help solve them.

Common challenges retail businesses face

Instead of competing with the online marketplace, retail businesses have had to adapt to the shift by making their in-store and e-commerce experiences seamless. This can be difficult to adapt to without the right technology. Some other problems retail businesses may face are:  

  • No shows for order pickup
  • Lack of in-store traffic due to increased online shopping
  • On floor employees tied up on phones
  • Safety precautions due to COVID-19
  • Alerting customers to sales, in-store offers, or events

Business texting is one of the tools that helps retail businesses create a better in-store experience. It allows for one-on-one communication with consumers in a quick, personal, and smooth process. The real-time, automated features available in business SMS platforms like Textline make it easy for in-store employees to multitask without sacrificing an in-store experience.

5 ways to use business texting to improve your retail store

Here are five ways to use business texting to solve some common challenges in a retail business. 

Send real-time updates to your customers

When customers place an in-store order pickup, they expect to know the process of their order down to the steps they need to take to pick it up. Whether your customers are looking for a smooth curbside pickup with minimal confusion, or they’re trying to come inside the store, it’s essential to be as clear and concise as possible. 

Retail businesses can use business SMS to communicate updates with an order pickup, from letting customers know their order status to sharing the pickup process. Best of all, business texting allows for two-way communication, so customers can interact with businesses to ask or answer clarifying questions. Retail companies can also use business texting to send automated order pickup reminders to avoid losing sales due to customer no-shows.

Example of a retail business texting a customer about an order pickup
A customer uses texting for an order pick-up.

Offer customer support

It can be challenging for in-store employees to juggle their duties while catering to customers on the phone. Being tied up to a phone wastes precious time, and not answering a customer phone call can be a bad experience. Business texting helps employees free up the phone lines by directing traffic to a communication channel that is easier to manage. 

Employees have the luxury of sending text messages from their phones or computer to run a more efficient support channel without sacrificing the customer experience. Texting out automated messages can also help employees buy time to respond to a customer later if they can’t send a personal response right away. It’s also easier to shoot a quick text than pick up and answer a phone call, no matter how short it is. 

Another perk of using business texting to offer customer support is that employees can use MMS or send links to resolve conversations faster. By directing customers to a specific product or using photos to clarify any gaps in communication, employees and customers have an easier time getting their points across in fewer words.

Sending a link via text to improve customer support
A company offers customer support via text.

Give a concierge service

If you're really trying to benefit from the personal nature of texting, then you can take it a step forward by offering a concierge service via texting. Fashion boutiques are one of the more well-known users of this VIP treatment, but essentially a concierge service gives customers a go-to contact for all of their shopping needs. 

More importantly, giving everyone a personal shopper helps you better anticipate customer needs. From sharing information to alerting shoppers about new releases, your in-store team can develop more personal relationships with customers because they’re more interactions with customers.

Example of concierge service via text
A personal shopper alerts an opted-in customer about a new product launch.

Gather customer feedback 

Gathering customer feedback is an excellent way to gauge how your customers feel about their in-store experience, and it also allows you to focus on any areas for improvement. Textline customers commonly send survey links via text to gather feedback. Not only do links in text have an eight times higher click-through rate, but texts also have a 45 percent response rate, ensuring higher engagement with your surveys.

Gathering customer feedback from a text
A store sends a customer satisfaction survey post-purchase via text.

Promote events

Many retail stores are constantly holding in-store events to promote new products or introduce more foot traffic in their brick and mortar. Increasing your event attendance will help you retain customers and also increase your new customer base. One way to get the word out is to send announcements using business texting. 

Textline has an Announcement feature that allows businesses to send mass texts to opted-in contacts for messages. Texts have a 98 percent open rate, so you’ll be sure that your customers are aware of your in-store event. You can even send a reminder to customers who have signed up to attend an event to reduce the number of no-shows.

Example of using an announcement text for promotion
A home furnishing company sends an event reminder text.

The bottom line

Customers want an online and in-store shopping experience with zero hiccups. Tools like business texting can help you offer this customer experience without overwhelming employees or forcing customers to download an app or go through a complicated process. The easier it is for customers to interact with your business, the more likely they are to return for repeat business, whether online or in-person.

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