The corona pandemic has dramatically shifted the strategies and operations of almost all retailers both locally here in Tanzania and around the world. This is particularly true for brick and mortar retailers who have had to close their stores because they were deemed non-essential.
However, it is during such times of dramatic changes that retailers should innovate to survive by changing the way they do business and invest in tools like SMS marketing. Whether you’ve been a long time online business owner or have recently shifted your efforts in response to the lockdown, using SMS marketing to alert customers about new promotions, exclusive offers, and any updates or changes in your store operations can help keep your business on top of the mind of your customers.
Why use SMS Messaging for your online business?
- Broad Reach:- SMS messaging is everywhere and has broad reach. Most smart phone users still text despite access to apps.
- High Engagement:- SMS messaging offers an incredible opportunity for customer engagement. With a 98% open rate, it is much better than the 21% open rates for email. Sending an SMS gives an authentic appeal that can be feel personal like having a conversation with a friend.
- Efficient:- Limited to a few characters (160), written SMS responses are shorter and take less time to write than emails. Customers can send a quick SMS whenever is convenient for them. Businesses can respond in real-time or a few minutes or hours later without needing 24/7 support staff.
- Creates Trust:- When buying from an unfamiliar source, customers feel uncertain. Uncertainty leads to doubts and inaction. This is where SMS marketing provides a solution. Messaging helps online business overcome the virtual barrier with their customers. Customers feel listened to and respected. All of this will extend the trust required to close a transaction.
- Cost effective:- Compared to other marketing tools like email, tv and radio and even social media, sending SMS is very affordable.
How Can Online Businesses Use SMS Messaging?
Aside from the daily use cases of SMS to market and promote your online business, with the corona crisis still looming around, businesses can still use SMS to communicate. Keeping in touch with your customers should not stop just because your business is slowing. Whether or not the lockdown continues, consumers want to know that businesses are there for them. By reaching out via an SMS and offering something tangible – be it a discount, offer, or something else of value such as safety tips you are connecting to your customer in a real, immediate way.
Below are example of ways online businesses can use SMS to engage with customers until things get back to normal again.
- Communicate updates on your day to day business operations
Here, your business can share the latest updates such as how they’re planning to maintain the safety and health of their staff and customers during and after the corona pandemic, your working hours, shipping and delivery guidelines etc. This will provide customers with peace of mind.
- Promote popular products in demand
If your online business selling essential products such as toiletries, health products, home electronics, educational or entertainment items among other products which are currently in high demand then you can leverage SMS to promote, notify and remind customers about what is in stock.
- Send out useful safety tips
During critical situations it is particularly important to communicate clearly, quickly and frequently. Clearly communicate new updates, new rules and restrictions as they develop and do this in a timely manner as no one wants to be left in the dark in such situations. Gather from authorized sources and share useful tips on how to stay safe and healthy from the virus. Your customers will value this gesture even though such messages may not directly relate to your business.
- Engage with your customers
While the world has been forced to adapt to social distancing, curfews and lock downs, some businesses tend to keep going on. Luckily if your online business is one of those still running then it is vital to keep the communication flow going. Communicate via SMS with customers about their orders, shipping and delivery updates, new stock alerts, send SMS offers and discounts and more. You can even engage further with your customers using two-way SMS which allows you to offer customer services and collect feedback in real-time.
- Promote your online business
Use SMS marketing ads to promote your online business to potential customers. Current lockdowns means lots of people are stuck home and are glued to their mobile phones and other electronic devices and are always online. This could be a great opportunity for you to push out SMS ads that promote your business with links to your website or social media pages where you conduct your business.
These customers you reach out to and keep connected with during the lock down period might stick around even after businesses start opening their doors when things get back to normal.
Using Bongo Live SMS Services To Communicate
In times when swift communication is crucial, Bongo Live offers a number of possibilities to start the conversation and support your internal and external communication. You can rely on us and use our online SMS communication platform to stay in touch with your customers, clients and partners.