New Study Points to Massive Missed Opportunity for Retailers to Use SMS for Customer Engagement

By Bulldog Reporter

Texting Is a Rarely-Used Comms Method, Despite Consumer Favorability

SMS, or text messaging, is an underutilized communication channel with the potential to deliver much more value than it is today, according to new research from enterprise mobile engagement firm OpenMarket—in fact, compared to traditional channels like email (97 percent), phone (66 percent), social media (82 percent) and mobile apps (32 percent), the study reveals that SMS is among the least frequently used methods of communication for retailers (29 percent)—representing a massive missed opportunity.

This is according to the recently released results of the firm’s Retail Mobile Messaging Report, conducted by Internet Retailer, which polled 100 e-commerce retail professionals about their use of SMS messaging for customer engagement.

Despite the fact that many global brands use SMS to communicate with their customers, as demonstrated by the survey’s findings, it still appears to not be getting the attention it deserves. A majority of respondents recognize there are numerous use cases for SMS, but they have yet to make it a high enough priority. As SMS is one of the most familiar and ubiquitous communication methods globally, there’s a valuable opportunity for retailers to seamlessly integrate it into their current communication strategies—yet many online retailers don’t understand the benefits of SMS, such as its direct ROI.

The good news is that while many online retailers may not currently have an SMS strategy in place, many have it on their radar and understand that SMS could add significant business value. In fact, among the respondents who don’t currently use SMS, more than two thirds indicate its ability to reach customers would be a reason to try it. What’s more, over half (62 percent) of respondents who don’t use SMS see the channel as an opportunity to drive revenue or improve customer experience.

“SMS may not be a new technology, but the utility and capability of mobile messaging is still greatly untapped by many retailers,” said Jay Emmet, general manager for OpenMarket, in a news release. “The retailers who have already embraced SMS are seeing success in terms of efficiency, reach and business impact—setting a strong example for others to follow. As the survey results indicate, there is a lot of room for retailers to capitalize on the opportunities SMS provides.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Nearly three quarters (69 percent) of online retailers who leverage SMS do so because it affords them an opportunity to differentiate; nearly 40 percent use SMS to meet customer demand.
  • Among all respondents, “efficiency” ranked highest as the most important quality for engaging with customers, selected by 41 percent of those who use SMS.
  • When asked how online retailers are currently measuring the success of current SMS/text messaging programs, 45 percent cited improved customer experience and 35 percent track it back to increased revenue.

Download the complete report here.