End-of-year holidays are the busiest and often most exciting time for ecommerce and retail businesses. They’re an opportunity to dramatically increase sales and finish the year strong, driven by increasing consumer demand during the gift-giving season. But while demand is high, so is competition. Every seller wants a piece of the holiday pie, and they ramp up advertising spend to make sure they stand out during a very crowded time.
All too often, stiff holiday competition becomes a price-slashing race to the bottom. How much can you discount your items to attract more business? Many retailers find themselves sacrificing margins when in reality, the solution to attracting eager holiday shoppers is better marketing.
And this is where conversational text marketing can be a major differentiator for any brand.
Email isn’t the most effective holiday messaging medium
Retailers send as many as 90 million emails on Thanksgiving. That number jumps to 116.5 million on Black Friday! Cyber Monday? Roughly 106 million more emails. In this five-day stretch, customer inboxes are inundated with emails.
In all likelihood, most people are only opening a few of the hundreds of emails they get during the peak holiday shopping season. For retailers, the odds that your emails are opened depends on many arbitrary variables: when the email is sent, the subject line, the preview text, and more. Despite best practices and proven strategies, sending an email during the holiday season is, for all intents and purposes going to have very little success.
Sending more emails isn’t the answer, either. Too many brands try to maintain the top spot in a customer’s inbox by sending multiple emails throughout the day or in the days leading up to an event. It’s a plan that’s more likely to irritate customers and cause them to stop checking their emails entirely.
SMS proves itself a superior solution to holiday marketing
Retailers chasing holiday revenue are beginning to recognize the tremendous potential for SMS marketing. During a season where most customers would rather avoid their email inbox entirely (eg. open rates are 12% – 17%), conversational texting presents a huge opportunity because it provides an average open rate of 98% across the board.
And while SMS might seem like a panacea to all your marketing problems, — most marketers settle for SMS solutions that treat SMS exactly like email–one-way, non-conversational, unpersonalized promotional blasts.
Here’s where Voxie’s automated conversational texting platform can help. Voxie’s approach to texting is built on engaging conversations. It’s not about blasting out offers day and night or bombarding customers with promotions to outpace competitor exposure. Instead, it’s about piquing customer interest and starting a conversation. Voxie can automate up to 95% of all conversations with the customer, understand what’s being said, and store responses to create unique customer segments to personalize future messages.
These features combine to create some incredibly engaging text activations. Here are some examples:
- Engage customers with a conversational gifting guide:
17.27% of holiday shoppers primarily focus on buying gifts for others. Using conversational texting you can ask your customers questions about who they’re shopping for and what the person would like, and respond accordingly. The best part? You can do this at scale, without requiring your team members to reply to conversations. Alternatively, you can simply send a link to the gifting guide on your website.
- Start a Holiday-VIP Texting Line
You have a lot of special offers and you want them all to be seen. But texting your customers too often can become counterproductive and alienate your customers. But with Voxie’s advanced segmentation features, you can create a VIP list within your VIP list for the holiday season. Customers who reply in the affirmative to the invite can be added to the list. And to these super fans, you can reach out more often, with more offers — because they want to hear from you. And here’s where you can get creative. Maybe launch a ‘Countdown to Christmas’ campaign where you send them a new offer every other day leading up to Christmas?
- Get more customers with Automated Referrals™
This Voxie feature enables you to get net new customers through your existing customers. The best part? It’s driven entirely by text ––the medium your customers are already using to connect with their friends and family. Voxie’s Automated Referrals allows existing customers to refer their friends and get rewarded for doing so in just 2 taps on their mobile phone. You can leverage this powerful feature and make it more effective by tying it back to the holiday season.
- Beat the holiday rush
The holiday season might not be upon us yet, but holiday buying has already begun. 51% of shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. You can beat the holiday traffic by sending your best deals to your customers before the holidays begin. It’s never too early to send messages.
- Surprise and delight your customers
Everyone loves receiving gifts. With Voxie, instead of blasting your customers with your holiday promotions, you can gift them your offers!
Do more with less
Holiday texting can be great for your business in more ways than one. As your store or restaurant becomes busier during the holiday season, your phone lines are bound to get busier too. As a result, your staff might have to spend more time answering customers’ questions. While hiring more hands might have worked in the past, the current shortage of workers means you might have to look for ways to do more with the employees you do have. And fortunately, Voxie can help on this front as well. With Voxie, different aspects of communicating with any audience can be automated in order to help employees get more done each day. For example:
- Conversational flows can be created to easily introduce customers to texting as a means of communicating with your company.
- Voxie’s conversational engine can respond to up to 95% of customers’ questions — store hours, special offers, directions to your restaurant or store, table reservations — without needing an agent.
- Conversations that can’t be managed automatically can be easily organized and routed to an agent.
- Ongoing automation of drip conversations that keep the customer engaged with highly relevant personalized offers over a period of time.
- Busy phone lines? Voxie’s latest feature ‘Shift-To-Text’™ redirects callers from busy phone lines to online ordering by sending them a text message with the relevant link. When customers call into a busy phone line, a recorded message asks them to press a ‘1’ if they’re trying to place an order. When they do, Voxie sends them a text message with an online ordering link.
What to expect from SMS marketing this holiday season
Retailers want results during the holiday season, and they need to make sure their seasonal marketing efforts hit home, to entice sales and encourage customer spend. When it comes to quantifying those results, it’s hard to compete against conversational texting stats:
· 90% of all text messages are read within three minutes of receipt.
· Once read, people respond to an SMS within 90 seconds, on average.
· Rather than email, 75% of people want brands to text them instead.
Need another reason to explore SMS marketing to boost holiday revenue? Consider that 91% of consumers are interested in signing up for texts, but not all businesses offer it yet. Your customers are ready to have a conversation with your brand this holiday season. Voxie can help you engage them for a seamless experience that benefits everyone during the hectic holiday shopping season.
Want to explore the powerful potential of conversational texting, to grow your business and strengthen your brand? Chat with an SMS expert at Voxie today to schedule a demo.