Don’t Text and Drive; Do Text and Market

By Andrew Corselli, Direct Marketing News

5% of consumers surveyed say they would prioritize unopened text messages over emails and push notifications.

Some people say that text messaging is bad for your health. That’s certainly true when driving. But a new study says the communication method is the most effective way to reach consumers in real time with time-sensitive information.

The research, which surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK, by eDigitalResearch and commissioned by OpenMarket, suggests that retailers need to implement a comprehensive communications strategy that includes multiple channels to engage with consumers across the entire lifecycle.

“Retail is a very personal experience with unique consumer and purchase journeys,” Steve Brockway, director of research (UK) at eDigitalResearch, said in a release about the study. “The report underscores how preferences regarding brand interactions differ for every shopper. This means that retailers must consider these preferences when choosing how they engage with each one of their customers. A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist, and retailers should evaluate each communication channel to ensure a smooth customer journey whenever possible.”

The study shows that SMS is preferred for the delivery of priority information, such as order status alerts, with 85% of respondents saying they would prioritize unopened text messages over emails and push notifications from apps. Furthermore, 53% of respondents cite it as the preferred method of communication when on the go; and half say they’d choose the method for day-of notifications.

Results also show that 59% of respondents prefer to receive promotional information via email. Of those surveyed, 54% say they always or mostly always open offers received via email. Additionally, the communication method had the highest open rate for marketing information, closely followed by text messages.

Text messaging may be preferred at certain stages of the customer journey, but trust remains an obstacle for retailers using the technology. Only 43% of respondents say they’re willing to share their phone number with retailers out of fear they would be bombarded with irrelevant communications.

“This research truly reinforces the importance of a comprehensive communications plan for retailers, which includes using a variety of channels for each phase of the customer lifecycle,” Paul Murphy, head of commercial development at OpenMarket, said in the release. “The continued shift to online shopping and growth of services such as ‘Click & Collect’ mean that it’s critical to provide timely delivery and collection information. Only SMS can offer the ubiquity, familiarity, and effectiveness when it comes to these types of interactions.”