The rise of eCommerce has paved the way for a lot of brands to do so much more online - including shopping. People are discovering new brands every day and brands everywhere are fighting for a piece of the pie. It's a fierce battle out there and to catch their attention, fashion brands need to leverage every option they have available.
That means meeting your customers where they are spending most of their time already: their phones.
Conversational SMS marketing is an opportunity for fashion brands to develop an efficient revenue-generating channel, that not only helps the bottom line but also helps with customer retention and enhancing their brand experience.
Let's look at some insights and examples of how you can create a winning SMS marketing strategy, so that you reach as many shoppers as possible with personalized text messages that convert at sky high rates.
How Smart Fashion Brands Leverage SMS Marketing
Most fashion brands out there use email, social media and ads to increase their customer retention, while still cautiously stepping into the conversational text marketing age. But with 98% open rates, it's a no brainer that online stores need to get with the trend and keep in touch with their customers to create a 2-way conversation stream.
Here's the first steps you need to take in order to prepare for adopting text marketing as part of your strategy and how you can make the most out of this channel for your brand.
Build Your SMS List
Before you send out any text messaging, you will need to gather the phone numbers you'll use to send out your text messages. Since marketing regulations are strict, you'll need to be compliant - that means clear Privacy Policies, double opt-ins, clear Unsubscribing steps and more.
We'll go into detail on how to build your SMS list and still remain compliant in order to retain your customers, but for now we wanted to mention this here as a reminder of a very important step.
True personalization is more than just segmenting your lists and calling a customer by their first name. If you do it right, it's the key to driving higher conversions, increased customer retention and higher profit margins for fashion brands. Cartloop's Recovery Experts treat each customer individually, regardless of their purchase stage (prospects, new customers or repeat clients).
Don't ignore the power of a thank you note. Or, in this case - a thank you text!
Start a conversation with your shoppers - it can be post-purchase (like in the image below), or you can restart the conversation with an unengaged customer (e.g. reminding them a product from their Favourites list is back in stock).
This works because it keeps your brand top of mind - and it is much easier to persuade a previous client to repurchase, than it is to generate new leads from scratch. And, more cost-effective as well. Keep it short and to the point, and, if you like, you can also include a discount code to entice them for a future purchase.
Pro tip: Don't limit the validity of the discount code. You are not offering them a time-sensitive sales offer. You are simply saying thank you, to inspire customer retention and brand loyalty, regardless of if and when they use your discount.
At Cartloop, we have a team of Recovery Experts™ that can help your customers navigate all the tricky questions your customers may have - about new products, complementary sets and all the other store-related FAQs that your support teams usually get.
This is one of the reasons why SMS marketing has such a high conversion rate. Recommending a product or providing customized product information is something that you simply cannot cover through email marketing, at least not in an efficient way.
If a customer needs more information from brands, they are usually required to jump through hoops to send an email, then wait for an answer and perhaps write back for even more clarification. With your competitors being only a tab away, most of us wouldn't think of sending an email to get more information: we would simply move on to a competitor whose policies are more suited to our lifestyle.
So when customers have product-specific questions that they cannot find the answer for on your website, it’s no surprise that they choose to abandon their purchase - they might think about returning later with more detailed information, but let’s face it: most of the time, they don’t.
This is why fashion brands need to stay close to their customers and, dare we say it - only a text message away!
Upsells & Cross-sells
Enticing existing customers to buy is - in theory - easier, when they've already purchased from you previously, or you've established a relationship with them through conversation. If your store offers complementary products or you offer volume-based discounts, why not activate upsells and cross-sells for customer retention through text marketing? Your text messaging isn't just an opportunity to answer questions. For example, fashion brands can offer a "frequently bought together" suggestion to customers through text messages.
This is part of an exquisite customer experience, where the end user feels their favourite brand is looking after them, with products they might love and find useful. However, don't be pushy - do not send bulk messages with your latest offers or complementary products to your entire database. Send a specific product, to a specific customer, offering real value. Like this:
A vital part to remember - and this is what most brands get wrong - is that even if a customer is set on buying a specific complementary product to an already-made purchase, your bulk discount might have come in handy (if it hadn't been sent in bulk). In fact, receiving an intrusive and impersonal text with a random discount code might just do the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish: it might just send your customer away.
Many brands create loyalty clubs for their members, but oftentimes the value they provide fades over time as they fail to keep the conversation going to have their shoppers engaged and happy to interact with their favourite brand.
Convincing someone to give out their details and enroll in your loyalty club is no small feat! So you should ensure you leverage that trust that they gave you by keeping the conversation going and ensuring your shoppers’ experience with you is nothing short of extraordinary.