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Why brands should be adding text to their marketing cocktail

While email remains the most prevalent marketing channel, text is on the rise. A survey of over 2,000 UK shoppers carried out by Wunderkind has revealed that while email remains the most dominant channel for consumers, with 84% saying they find it the most convenient channel for communicating with retailers during the buying journey, one-third (32%) say they now find text just as convenient – an increase of 6 percentage points year-on-year.

And plenty of other studies back this up. Research has found that 64% of consumers want businesses to communicate via text more often, 75% want to receive texts containing offers from the brands they love, and for those aged between 18 and 34, text is actually the preferred communication channel.

Additionally, customers engage quickly with texts. Research suggests 90% of people open a text message within three minutes of receiving it, while, according to Gartner, text messages have an average open rate of  98% and a response rate of 45% – much higher than email  (which has an average of 20% and 6% respectively).

However, despite increased consumer demand, just 1 in 3 retailers currently uses text as a marketing channel (beyond purely transactional communication like delivery updates), meaning the vast majority are missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with customers, increase conversions and, ultimately, encourage a greater number of sales – especially when texts are used in careful conjunction with email.

Wunderkind has found that over half (56%) of shoppers say they have received a text from a brand or retailer in the last 12 months, and the majority (56%) commented that the “speed and convenience” of text messaging as a communications channel supported their online buying journey, whether by providing information faster than it would have been received through email, or by helping them react to a fast-changing stage in their buying journey, such as a shipping update or the option to use a discount or promotion.

The demand for text communication, Wunderkind’s research suggests, mirrors the now ubiquitous use of smartphones, with consumers increasingly wanting to communicate — and buy — through their mobile devices. mCommerce transactions made on smartphones and tablets are expected to represent over half (58%) of all online retail sales this year, rising to 63% by 2024, which will represent around £105 billion of sales.

Customers are, with increased regularity, grabbing their phones when they want to make a purchase, yet many retailers have not yet embraced the idea that this could indicate consumers would appreciate the ability to communicate with, or receive marketing from, a brand through text. 

Wunderkind’s General Manager International, Wulfric Light-Wilkinson, comments: “Text represents a significant opportunity for retailers to increase loyalty and drive sales. Best-in-class customer engagement isn’t about relying on any one channel – but rather, supporting the shopper on their path to purchase, and meeting them wherever they are. 

“Regardless of the channel mix, consumer engagement success comes down to brands putting themselves in the shoes of current and prospective customers, understanding how they like to communicate and operate, and using that insight to build campaigns that engage them seamlessly across multiple touchpoints.” 

To learn more about the untapped potential of text – and how brands like rag & bone are driving up to 10% of digital revenue via behaviourally triggered, personalised texts – you can download Wunderkind’s guide to unlocking text message marketing potential here

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