SMS Marketing for Local Retailers

SMS Marketing for Local Retailers

The term retail is most commonly associated with clothing, but in reality it refers to the sale of any kind of goods. So whether you’re in the boutique business, or you’re selling greeting card potatoes, you’re a part of the retail game. And lucky for you, no matter what your product is, text marketing is offering you solutions to some of your most common business pain points.

What is Retail Text Message Marketing, and How Can it Grow Your Business?

Operating any kind of retail business comes with its own set of challenges. How do you attract more customers, connect with them, and keep them coming back, all while turning a profit?

The solution is simple: text message marketing. By sending mobile coupons, text alerts, and SMS sweepstakes, you can increase customer loyalty, drive customer traffic on demand, and bring in more revenue.

It all begins with connecting your customers in the space where the point of sale begins. In this day and age, that space is on your cell phone. 77% of shoppers use a mobile device to search for products. By text enabling your business, and in turn your products, you take control by driving mobile searches up.

SMS for retail can help grow your business in a number of convenient ways, including:

  • Improving the customer experience with texting
  • Incorporating SMS into your social media strategy
  • Creating a mobile referral program
  • Encourage product reviews with SMS

Now, let’s explore your options as a retailer when it comes to SMS.

Mass Text Marketing vs. Business Texting for Retail

There are essentially two types of text marketing out there:

1. Mass Texting: Traditional text marketing that allows your business to send a single text message to as many as thousands of your customers all at once.
2. Business Texting: Business texting is focused on enabling one-on-one conversations with your customers. While the communication is still two-way, the emphasis is on individualized content as opposed to mass communication.

With mass texting you are still able to have one-on-one conversations as a response tool you are unable to initiate isolated conversations, that’s where business texting comes in handy.

So how do you know which one is right for you? There are two main factors to consider.

  • Volume: How many people are you looking to connect with at once? Are you more interested in sharing marketing messages with a broad audience, or using texting as a lead generation tool?
  • Customer Experience: While both methods of text marketing are customer-focused, they each have their strengths in the field. Are you interested in providing reactive chat-bot-like support to customers, or proactive and individualized support?

There’s no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. Both forms of marketing are valuable tools for any retailer. At VIP Tap, we recognize that each businesses’ needs are different, and it’s our job to push the boundaries of what’s possible with texting to fill as many of those needs as we can. So if both of these solutions sound like they fit your needs, know that you don’t really have to choose. You can actually do both – under one account. Text enable your business and use a shortcode to communicate mass text messages

Uses of Retail Text Message Marketing

Retail businesses are in a great position to benefit from text message marketing. Teeming with visual aids, exclusive offers, and customer testimony, the retail industry is a playground for text marketing campaigns.

Here are just some of the ways you could begin utilizing SMS with your business.

1.Build a Customer Loyalty Program

Customer loyalty programs are simple to set up with SMS, and research shows that repeat customers spend 67% more than first-timers. Offer subscribers to your text club exclusive benefits such as flash sales, first access to new products, and members-only events. With custom fields, you can ensure that all your messages will be personalized helping each subscriber feel valued. This is essential given that 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history

Today 11:35 AM
Raven Books: J.K. Rowling released an EIGTH Harry Potter book, and we want members of our text club to have it first. You’re invited to an exclusive midnight release party this Thursday. Show this text at the door for entry.

2. Text Out Coupons

Everyone loves saving money. Sometimes the prospect of saving some money is just the push a customer needs to make a purchase. Especially when the item is more of a “want” than a “need”. Regardless, offering coupons via texting is a great way to connect customers with your marketing messages and ensure they’re being read. Texting does have a 98% open rate after all! And with MMS, you can even include rich media to showcase your products and entice customers further. 73% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product or service if they can watch a video explaining it beforehand.

Today 10:19 AM
Marge’s Barges: It’s almost boating season, are you prepared? Today only all lifejackets are Buy 1 Get 1 50% off! Show this text at checkout to activate your offer. Ahoy!

3. Give Product Updates

Let customers know when their product is ready with customer text notifications. This can be used for in store pickup or for online orders. Additionally, if customers need to set up an appointment to schedule a fitting, a demo, etc., you can send out links to do that saving both parties time!

Today 2:26 PM
Ted’s Boots & Repair – Mr. Lin: Your boots are repaired and available for pickup anytime 9-6. Thanks for choosing Ted’s!

4. Promote Events

A great way to get people to look at your products is to get them into your space (we know, that’s about as groundbreaking as florals for spring). However, this marketing tactic has several hidden benefits. As a retailer, you have one of the most coveted necessities for event planning: space! Partner with local restaurants or entertainment to draw people in and soak in the bonus publicity from your partnership. The best part? Sending invitations and reminders is easier than ever with texting.

Today 11:11 AM
Scratch Records free vintage night! Come out to the shop Feb 21 for light bites from Zeppelin’s and party to the 70’s greatest hits with us. RSVP by responding yes to this text! See ya there 📻

5. Compliment Your Social Media Strategy

If your business has a strong social media presence you may already have people shopping from your pages. However, if you don’t have a foundation in e-commerce, you can use texting as a medium to translate digital traction into sales. For example, as a caption under a photo, you can provide your text-enabled number or shortcode with instructions to text in to reserve an order. Collect information from that customer, send them an invoice, and schedule a pickup!

Today 12:10 PM

Our best selling bathing suit is back in stock for a limited time! Text us your size and we’ll reply with an invoice and delivery information!

6. Create a Customer Service Program

More than half (54%) of retailers said the customer experience is their most important area of focus. By text enabling your business, you can advertise a text-for-help program where customers can ask you all their questions to be answered in real-time, all through their mobile device.

Today 10:15 AM
Hi, do you have any dog beds for extra large breeds?
Hi Karen, yes we do! All of our XXL beds are 48″Lx30″W and are fit for friends in the 91-110 lbs range!

How to Collect Subscribers for a Retail SMS Marketing Campaign

We’ve seen how text marketing can move your merchandise. With exclusive coupons and timely text alerts, you’ll soon see customers filling your store like never before.

The next step? It’s time to start building out your subscriber list. To do this you need to collect their phone numbers and secure consent.

Two simple steps: Entice and display

The secret to getting subscribers is simple. We’ve broken it down to two easy steps:

1. Entice— Give customers incentives to subscribe!
2. Display—Get the word out!


Your most loyal customers won’t need much convincing to opt-in to your texts.

The problem is you don’t only want to cater to already-loyal customers, you also want to create loyal customers. Text marketing does exactly that, but first you’ll need to offer new patrons powerful incentives to opt-in.

Here are three incentives that’ll build your subscriber list fast:

Instant gratification

Customers like discounts for the future, but they love discounts right now. Offer an immediate incentive for opting-in on the spot.

Get 10% off today’s purchase! Just text “SHOPMART” to 900900 for an instant discount and monthly text coupons!

VIP list

Have a store representative or cashier ask the customer in person if they’d like to receive text notifications about big sales.

“Your total will be $24.95. Would you like to sign up to receive valuable text coupons and notifications about our biggest sales?”

Sweepstakes and giveaway promotions

One of the most powerful and popular ways to gain subscribers is to hold an attention-grabbing sweepstakes. Give away your own products or a more extravagant prize.

WIN A $200 SHOPPING SPREE! Just text “COMPLUS” to 900900 to enter to win and to join our VIP coupon list.

Don’t forget what you’re using your texts for in the first place:

  • Text coupons
  • Service alerts
  • Timely notifications

Often these services are incentive enough to get people to opt-in. Advertise them as just that, friendly services. Let customers know what they’re signing up for—they’ll appreciate your honesty and reward you with their business and trust.


Even the most enticing incentives in the world won’t work if no one knows about them. That’s why you’ve got to display your text promotions prominently.

Whether you’re advertising sweepstakes or monthly coupons, stick with the adage: KISS—Keep It Simple, Silly.

Be clear and concise with your message.

A small message can make a big statement: It’s easy to read and easy to integrate everywhere.

Here are just a few places to promote your SMS campaign:

  • Store window: Create an eye-catching sign to let passersby know about your campaign
  • Cash register: Place a small sign on your register about discounts to bring in subscribers looking to save
  • Receipts: Put a concise note on your receipts to advertise your text services
  • Website: Promote your text offers on the landing page of your website
  • In-store signs and table tents: Let loyal customers know how to stay connected

To get the most for your money, be sure to integrate your simple keyword and instructions into any existing advertising that you’re already paying for:

  • Newspaper and/or magazine ads
  • Radio and/or television spot
  • Internet display ads

Follow these simple steps, and in no time you’ll be getting subscribers, connecting with customers, and selling out your stock.