SMS Best Practices for Engaging Your Retail Customers

Learn how to effectively engage customers through SMS clienteling. Here are 6 best practices for conversational customer outreach.

SMS Best Practices for Engaging Your Retail Customers

We recently talked about how to lay the groundwork for retail teams that want to use SMS to connect with customers. From opt-in incentives to outreach strategies, it's important to think about the big picture before sending that first text. But then it's time to establish the outreach cadence and conversational tone that your retail teams should use. Today, we're taking a deeper look into how your retail teams can effectively engage with your customers through SMS campaigns.

Don’t be afraid.

No, seriously. As clienteling experts, we’ve seen the hesitation in retail teams to get started, and also their excitement once they do it anyway and see the results.

Because first and foremost is this: Customers enjoy texting with businesses. Studies show that 67% of customers believe that texting with businesses increases convenience, and 46% actively seek out businesses that offer text and chat messaging.

It’s all a matter of providing the level of convenience your audience wants without overreaching with spammy promotions. Here's an example of what a personalized text with a frequent shopper could look like:

Personalized SMS campaign sent with Endear

An example of a personalized SMS campaign sent with Endear

Lead with personalized helpfulness

Starting a text conversation with a client is a lot like sending an initial message on a dating app: you want to keep it short but interesting, breezy but active, and convey that you want to keep the dialog going. And unfortunately, you probably don’t have the luxury of just sending a picture of a cute dog to get things going.

Instead, use recent customer activity or details in your retail CRM as a jumping-off point to get the conversation started. Here’s some key data to look out for:

  • Do they have a special day coming up, like a birthday or an anniversary?
  • Did they recently make a high-value purchase?
  • Do they usually shop online or in-store?

By opening your text conversation with this level of personalization, you are officially clienteling. Such a conversation primes your customer to expect great, helpful messages whenever they see your brand pop up on their phone.

Keep it conversational

Here are three quick, but wildly effective tips for keeping your clienteling conversational:
1) Use the active voice.
2) Use 1st names and 2nd person.
3) Be short. There’s almost no reason to send more than two texts at a time.

Want to see how much more your teams could be making?

Use our sales calculator to see the numbers your brand deserves.

The 5-minute Rule

One of the best aspects of SMS is that it feels immediate; like answers are just a text away. And that’s what your customers are used to in their daily lives. Nearly 60% of consumers respond to text messages within 5 minutes. Near real-time engagement should be a constant goal for your associates. During your brand’s work hours, strive to answer texts within 5 minutes. This is where automated SMS campaigns can help by triggering sends based on customer activity or events.

Know the line, and never cross it.

Your associates should never cross the line with inappropriate jokes or memes. Having a team inbox like Endear makes messages accessible by the entire team. This is a great way to maintain transparency and ensure conversations remain within the scope of the brand voice. It also gives the opportunity to take a holistic view of which messages are working, and which aren’t by having real-time analytics to inspect.

Unified Inbox for SMS campaigns in Endear

Endear's unified Inbox

In short, SMS outreach is modern clienteling.

Clienteling via SMS can be a powerful tool for your retail teams to connect with customers in a way that's convenient and personalized. By following best practices such as keeping messages conversational, using data for personalization, and being responsive in real-time, your brand can create positive customer experiences that lead to increased engagement, sales, and loyalty. With the help of SMS automation and team collaboration tools, teams can efficiently manage customer communications and campaigns. By approaching clienteling with the right mindset and strategies, you're setting up the foundation for strong customer relationships that last beyond a single transaction.

Ready to start engaging your customers with thoughtful, coordinated SMS campaigns?

Get a free demo of Endear's retail CRM platform and ask about our 14-day free trial.