Marketers Leave Text Messaging Untapped

By April Berthene, Internet Retailer

Mobile marketing methods, such as text messages and push notifications, lag email and social marketing, according to a recent study.

Text messages remain an untapped marketing channel for many online retailers, according to the new study “Missed Opportunity.”

Only 29% of retailers use SMS, or short messaging service, text messages to communicate to consumers, according to mobile technology vendor OpenMarket’s report released in August, which is based on an Internet Retailer survey of 100 e-retailers in May and June.

Email was the most common method retailers used to communicate with consumers, as 97% of retailers said they did so. Social media was second most popular channel at 82%, phone calls 66%, mobile apps 32%, over the top messaging (two-way communication via apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, etc.) 25% and push notifications 20%. Retailers could pick more than one response.

Among retailers that use SMS communications, 69.0% say they  implemented text message programs to differentiate themselves. 34.5% of retailers that use text communication said they use it for customer service, and 27.6% said they use it to send marketing and promotional messages. 31.0% of retailers said they send messages for both reasons and 6.9% said they use them for other reasons.

The majority of retailers that have a text program said they measure their success via improved customer experiences (44.8%). 34.5% of SMS-using retailers said they measure success via increased revenue, and 34.5% said each text campaign has its own performance indicators. 20.7% said they are not measuring how text marketing performs at this time and 6.9% said they measure success in another way. Retailers could pick more than one response.

For retailers that don’t use SMS, 52.1% of survey respondents said they see how it could be applicable, but it’s not currently a high priority, and 15.5% said they may deploy a program soon. 19.7% of retailers said they don’t see a need for text messaging and 16.9% don’t understand the business angle for a text program. Retailers could pick more than one response. Among retailers not using SMS marketing, 62.0% said they would try it if they thought it would drive revenue or improve customer experience.