Effective communication in the retail industry is crucial to business success. Retailers need to exploit every possible channel, especially in this digital age, in order to improve internal communications and develop the customer experience.
Consumerization has changed dramatically in the past ten years – customers now expect the shopping experience to be integrated across a number of different channels. The widespread adoption of mobile phones is a major contributing factor in this change in attitude and behaviour and needs to be exploited if businesses are to be successful.
Text Message Marketing
The cheapest and most effective method is the humble text message or SMS. It is available in every phone and research has shown that the immediacy and intimacy of SMS produces higher engagement and more timely responses.
It therefore makes text message marketing a highly dynamic way to engage with customers to promote events, new promotions, product launches, new services etc. It is also very cost effective and a great deal cheaper than running newsletter, magazine or radio campaigns.
Adopting a two-way communication channel, businesses also open up the opportunity to engage consumers in fun polls and shopper surveys.
In order to build up a substantial and useful CRM database, retailers need to make sure that SMS messages and offers are relevant and delivered in an obtrusive way, so that customers are willing to opt in to the SMS list. Ideally, messages should also complement a retail mobile Web experience and drive M-commerce sales.
Utilising SMS to provide customers with real-time updates on delivery times can also alleviate customer service centre enquiries, thus freeing up resources to concentrate on more in-depth issues.
This approach also enhances the company’s reputation with the customers as they feel like they are being kept informed and looked after.
SMS for Internal Communication
The other significant aspect of communication in retail is internal communication – making sure employees, partners and suppliers are fully up to speed with activities, orders and strategy.
Communication between head offices, regional offices and stores, even within stores, can be difficult at times, so devising a good communication strategy between all of these is vital.