Today, tough competition in the retail space, largely thanks to the explosion of ecommerce and digital advertising, means people can shop and compare products from hundreds of retailers across multiple locations.

Similarly, the foodie revolution and our increasingly diverse eating and drinking culture means consumers are more likely to seek out new offerings than stay loyal to our stalwart local venue.

So, what does this all mean? Essentially, whether you’re in retail or hospitality, attracting customers is about making yourself heard and building real relationships. With open rates of up to 98% compared to 20% for email, SMS marketing is a highly effective way to slice through all the noise and engage with new and existing customers.

Here are some of the ways you can use SMS marketing to make yourself known and entice your target customers away from the competition.

Promotions and offers

To keep your customers excited and coming back for more, you’ll probably understand the importance of introducing new product lines, refreshing your website, and holding sales. Meanwhile, if you’re in the hospitality game, revamping your menu, introducing themed evenings or promoting special offers on meals can be a great way to keep things fresh.

A well-timed SMS communication could be used to notify your subscriber list about all your latest news, updates and activities – and they could even include discount codes to entice them through your doors.

Confirmations and updates for online orders

These days, consumers don’t like to wait for anything, but if they must, they want to know where their order is and when they can expect it. So, whether it’s a meal delivery or item of clothing from your store, SMS is the most direct way to give customers peace of mind their order has been received, dispatched and on its way – in real-time.

Surveys

To build meaningful relationships with customers, it’s important to get the message out there that you value their opinion as you endeavour to meet their demands. Surveying your customers via SMS is the best way to get reliable results simply because it’s too easy to reply. For example, SMS surveys could be used to ask customers for feedback, insights about their preferences or a vote on their favourite product, drink or dish – the types of questions that will instil a sense of value and involvement, as well as reveal valuable market research.

Competitions

Having a business in the hospitality or retail space – whatever you’re offering – means you’ve got something consumers really want. So, you have a great opportunity to generate some excitement and build brand awareness by holding an SMS competition or prize draw. Text-to-win competitions also work well with social media where they can be promoted and shared to maximise new subscribers.

Events

Whether it’s a new pop-up store, café or restaurant, seasonal sale or cooking class, you can use SMS to send out invites to your subscribers letting them know all the essential details. What’s more, you could even request an rsvp to get an indication or confirmation of the number or attendees.