Last year was difficult for the UK retail industry. Two separate reports cited 2019 as “the worst year on record for the overall health of Britain’s retail sector.” In Britain’s top 500 high streets, “about 16 stores closed their doors every day in the first half of 2019 while only nine opened.”
The year 2020 continues to strike a harder blow on the retail industry with the corona pandemic. Social distancing means fewer customers passing through brick and mortar stores, and people overall are not eager to spend money during a crisis.
A recent study by Alvarez & Marsal suggests that half of UK retailers could be wiped out if coronavirus continues. Many retailers have already announced administration. Debenhams appointed administrators in the hope that it will be able to salvage as many of its UK stores as possible. However, its 11 stores in Ireland are expected to shut for good.
While brick and mortar stores are closing, eCommerce continues to grow. New data from IMRG (reported by Internet Retailing) states that UK online retail sales rose by 22% in the first week of April compared to the same time last year. This is marginally down on the previous week, where sales had risen 23.7% year on year.
Online retailers are put into a better position than in-stores. Dunelm’s online orders are ‘significantly higher’ than they were before the pandemic. Fashion retailer Quiz has also reopened its online store after temporarily shutting it down.
Below are ways mobile marketing can maximise online sales.
Recover sales with abandoned-cart SMS or RMM messages
Retailers can decrease their online cart-abandonment rates by sending customers abandoned-cart SMS or RMM messages when they leave the site without completing the checkout process. While many retailers rely on emails for their abandoned-cart messaging, text is a better choice because more than half of all web views come from mobile devices, so you reach users on the device they were probably using to shop. And text open rates are as high as 98%, with response rates of 45%.
Abandoned carts are an issue for all online retailers. Research from Barilliance shows that the average global cart-abandonment rate is 77.73%. This means that only 22% of customers who place an item in their virtual carts make a purchase.
There are several reasons users walk away from their online carts. Survey data from Statista on UK fashion shoppers shows the primary reasons were delivery costs, they weren’t ready to make a purchase, the item was out of stock, and they changed their mind because of price.
Primary Reasons for fashion Shoppers in the UK to Abandon Their Cart
One-way retailers can get customers to return and complete their purchases is to send abandoned-cart SMS messages that are triggered soon after a user leaves the site without making a purchase.
With Rich Media Messaging, retailers can include images of the products in the cart and a GIF of the discount offer. These messages are more visually appealing and can entice customers to click the link back to the retailer’s site and purchase.
A company called SlickText gathered data on their clients who sent abandoned-cart SMS messages between June and July of last year. The company found that businesses of all sizes could use texts to successfully win back sales. And one client was able to use texts to recover 58% of their abandoned carts. This means that “two out of every three people who walked away from their carts returned after receiving a text reminding them to finish their purchase.”
Boost sales with SMS loyalty campaigns
Loyalty programs are important because 70% of retail sales come from 30% of a business’s customers, so you want to make sure those customers keep coming back.
And while SMS isn’t regularly used by brands to manage their loyalty and rewards programs, it should be. The channel for distributing messages is important, but so is the content of the message. Customers want personalization, not the same offer as everyone else.
Retailers looking to increase online sales should use SMS to send customers a “thank you” message when they make a purchase, let them know when an item they’ve searched is back in stock, or give them offers on previously purchased products to increase loyalty and make customers feel special.
Increase customer retention with delivery notifications
Send customers SMS messages with up-to-date information about the status of their package delivery to eliminate one of the biggest pain points online shoppers face.
UK shoppers spend more money online than consumers in any other country. And while it’s meant to be convenient, issues with deliveries can ruin the customer experience. The Financial Times’ look at consumer complaints shows that issues with deliveries increased considerably from 2017-2018 to 2018-2019.
Retailers can create a perfect browsing experience and a frictionless checkout, but if a customer’s delivery doesn’t arrive when expected, some customers will never do business with that retailer again. By keeping customers informed about the status of their parcel, retailers can improve customer experience and retention.
For example, Home Retail Group — now acquired by Sainsbury’s — was a leading general merchandise retailer. They were calling their customers to confirm order delivery dates and times but typically only achieved a 30%-40% answer rate. As a result, they received many inbound calls and emails from customers asking about the status of their orders and deliveries.
Home Retail Group wanted to enhance performance and improve customer satisfaction, so they deployed VoiceSage’s Interactive Voice Messaging and SMS solutions to keep customers informed about their orders and to let them know about their two-hour delivery window. Using these solutions, they were able to achieve contact with 100% of their customers, which improved customer satisfaction, and they lowered their costs because 60% of contacts were made with SMS.
VoiceSage’s retail mobile marketing can improve customer engagement
As retailers face more challenges from changing consumer habits and increased competition, it becomes increasingly important to improve customer outreach and to use channels that will get results. These mobile messaging tactics are easy for retailers to implement to help maximise online sales.
VoiceSage offers mobile messaging solutions like interactive SMS and Rich Media Messaging that can be used to send abandoned-cart messages, discounts for loyal customers, and delivery notifications that can help retailers achieve outstanding customer engagement. Schedule a demo with a VoiceSage specialist to see how we can help your business.
Published on: 10th June 2020