Three in 10 Retailers Rely on SMS for Customer Service, Promotions

By eMarketer

Even though most US retail ecommerce professionals believe it makes sense for their business to use text messaging to communicate with customers, just 29.0% say they actually do so, according to June 2016 research.

In addition to the 29.0% who already communicate with customers via SMS, according to research from mobile engagement solutions provider OpenMarket and Internet Retailer, 52.1% of those who do not think there are applicable use cases for their business, but it isn’t a high enough priority. Another 15.5% were actively in the process of looking for a vendor to help with SMS communications.

Among those retail ecommerce professionals who do use text messaging to communicate with their customers, most look to it as a customer service vehicle, as well as for marketing promotions. According to the survey, nearly a third use SMS for both.

Other communication channels were more common than SMS: More than nine in 10 respondents said they use email.

But SMS can be a good way for retailers to reach consumers. February 2016 research from independent analyst and consultancy firm Ovum found that many users in the US, as well as Germany, prefer to text for customer service. Nearly half (44%) of respondents said that one of the reasons they preferred to send a text to a company’s customer service department was because it was less time-consuming. Furthermore, 42% said they preferred to do so because it was more convenient than using the telephone.

Consumers don’t just prefer SMS for customer service, they like it for loyalty program updates as well. A survey from mobile marketing company 3Cinteractive revealed that half of US internet users said they prefer receiving loyalty-related messages via SMS.