Ecommerce is growing faster than ever before and with BFCM just around the corner, retailers must maximise the opportunity and prepare their marketing strategy well in advance. Whilst email marketing has long been a favourite to reach customers and maximise sales, SMS is earning more prominence.
To continue with our BFCM blog series and shed some light on how SMS can be used to propel revenue for your Shopify store this BFCM, we caught up with Ellys Childs from our technology partner and leading ecommerce marketing platform, Yotpo to explain more.
With 42% of shoppers admitting that COVID-19 has changed the way they shop, how do you predict this will be reflected during BFCM?
BFCM is going to be really interesting this year. When we think about BFCM, we imagine the huge queues and the pandemonium surrounding it, but this year will be very different. The bricks and mortar stores will be a lot less busy and instead, shoppers will be glued to their screens to shop online.
Whether it’s searching social media, working or messaging their family and friends, customers are on their mobile devices a lot! With the average person spending over 4 hours on a mobile device and checking their phone more than 150 times, it provides retailers with a fantastic opportunity to generate revenue.
Since the pandemic, we’ve already seen a surge in online shopping, with 72% of those shoppers choosing to browse or buy online from their mobile device, you can’t get away from the fact that mobile traffic is on the rise and this will be reflected during BFCM.
What’s more, when we look at Shopify specifically, mobile traffic accounts for 81%, and last year, 60% of BFCM Shopify sales were from mobile devices, it’s clear that mobile devices are becoming the preferred shopping channel and customers expect it. Brands need to adopt an SMS strategy to ensure they are connecting with their customers this BFCM.
We expect that brands will also need to double their mobile ad spend this year. With more and more brands leveraging the power of SMS, merchants will need to stay one step ahead of their competitors in every way possible.
Why is it important for merchants to implement SMS into their BFCM strategy?
Despite the pandemic, marketeers are still expecting record numbers for this BFCM, predicting it to be the busiest yet. With more and more customers shopping online and 48% of those consumers wanting to engage with a brand over SMS, BFCM is the perfect opportunity for brands to cut through the marketing noise and reach customers where they are: on their mobile devices.
Having an SMS campaign in place will help online retailers maximise their revenue. In fact, on average, SMS marketing drives 25x+ ROI. What’s more, it will help brands stand out from their competitors by building a direct channel of communication between the online store and the consumer. Particularly for direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, the more open lines of communication you can have with your customer, the better your relationship will be with them. Additionally, during BFCM brands can use SMS marketing to create a sense of urgency and FOMO with limited-time offers.
Finally, the whole nature of SMS alone should be enough to persuade retailers of the importance of SMS in their BFCM strategy. For example, we found that 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes – it’s easy to see customers love to text and they’d love to text with retailers this BFCM.
What are your top tips for perfecting a BFCM SMS campaign that will guarantee results?
First things first, merchants need to get ahead of the game with BFCM as early as possible. For you to run a successful BFCM SMS campaign you’ll need subscribers, so it’s imperative merchants have the data. There are a few ways you can do this, for example, through subscription forms, keyword messages, on-site pop-up windows and shareable subscriber links.
Once your brand has generated a subscriber list, it’s time to create messages that will engage your customers. During the lead up to BFCM, you should be getting your customers ready for the big weekend! Make sure your customers know when the sales will start, how to buy and when they will end. These messages need to create urgency with impactful CTA’s and creative copy – BFCM is a celebration after all!
Timing is everything when it comes to SMS marketing; you can only guarantee results if you make sure that you’re communicating with your customers at the right time. For example, we found that brands who send out targeted promotions see an increase in 67% revenue, so making sure that your SMS messages are relevant and personalised to the customer will set you up for success. For example, you could integrate SMS flows which would nurture the customer throughout the whole shopping experience and drive conversions.
For merchants with a loyalty program in place, you might want to include loyalty points in text messages so the customer is incentivised to redeem the points during the sales weekend. Data-driven segmentation is a good idea. For example, personalised recommendations where you can text a customer regarding a product they have recently browsed and inform them it’s now discounted during BFCM. Furthermore, you could leverage the power of SMS to focus on dormant customers. For example, those who haven’t purchased in the last 60-70 days should be re-contacted and encouraged to get involved in BFCM.
Finally, with so many distractions during BFCM from TV adverts to emails, customers are more likely to abandon their cart as they browse various online stores for the best deals. When this happens retailers can create an abandoned cart flow through SMS encouraging the customer to return and purchase. For example, you could trigger an SMS that goes out 15 minutes after a customer has abandoned their cart. This is a really powerful way of keeping your brand front of mind and driving the customer back to spend with you.
What are the best tactics for collecting more content through SMS?
I think SMS is a tactic that merchants should use throughout the year, not just during BFCM. SMS is all about communicating sales. It’s a great way to turn shoppers into long term customers, increase loyalty and collect more content from your customer base.
As we know, the more content you’ve got, the better! We’ve found that 98% of customers say that reviews are the most important factor when influencing purchasing decisions, so brands should capitalise on the high open rates and mobile optimised experience of SMS and ask their customers to leave a review.
By focusing on the channels that your customers prefer to engage with your brand on, you will ultimately collect more content because you’ve made it easier for them to submit content. For example, we recently found that there was a 66% higher conversion review rate via SMS compared to email.
Furthermore, brands should ask their customers for photos using SMS marketing. With the majority of customers taking photos on their smartphones, brands should harness this power and make it easier for their customers to send in content. This can be done by setting up user-generated content (UGC) requests post-purchase.
Another great way of collecting more customer photos is by hosting a competition. You can offer brand guidelines on how to do this to ensure you get content from your customers that reflects the look and feel of your brand. This content could then be displayed on your homepage – it’s a great way to display products creatively.
Ecommerce business owners need to remember that customers love to show and share their brand experiences – they’re obsessed with it! If a brand can capitalise on this efficiently and effectively, they’ll see a significant increase in conversions both during BFCM and throughout the rest of the year.
You can watch the full interview by heading over to our Youtube channel.
Additionally, if you want to hear more about SMS Marketing for your Shopify store or simply have an enquiry about Yotpo, get in touch with our team of ecommerce specialists now!
Yotpo, the leading ecommerce marketing platform, helps thousands of forward-thinking brands like Gymshark, MVMT, Helly Hansen, and Steve Madden accelerate direct-to-consumer growth. Our single-platform approach integrates data-driven solutions for reviews, loyalty, SMS marketing, and more, empowering brands to create smarter, higher-converting customer experiences.