Has text messaging become retail’s go-to communication tool?
Thirty-four percent of businesses adopted the use of texting because of the pandemic and 77 percent indicate they’ll continue post-COVID, according to a new study.
Overall, 70 percent of businesses surveyed were found to be texting to reach customers and employees, according to Zipwhip’s “State of Texting 2021” report. The results were based on a survey of over 2,000 businesses and consumers.
Consumer texting increased over the last year because of more time spent on mobile phones, the restrictions placed on in-person contact and the greater need for up-to-date information during the crisis. As in other areas, the pandemic is believed to have accelerated what was already a growing communication channel for businesses.
Speed continues to drive texting’s appeal as research shows many texts are read within minutes. By comparison, email communications from businesses are often overlooked by consumers and calls from businesses and unknown numbers frequently ignored, the study found.
Of the consumers surveyed, 58 percent said texting is the fastest way for businesses to reach them.
Appointment reminder texts were found to be the most valuable from a business, cited by 64 percent of consumers surveyed, followed by updates on shipments (48 percent) and discounts on products or services (29 percent). Thirty-nine percent of consumers used text messaging to manage curbside pickup of restaurant orders or groceries.
The research comes with a warning that text message inboxes are “personal and too many messages from one sender can feel invasive.” Opt-in is required yet nearly half of the businesses surveyed were unfamiliar with regulations that protect consumers from unwanted phone calls and text messages. Thirty-seven percent of businesses also used personal mobile devices for texting, creating risks to customer data and lacking management oversight of customer-employee conversations.
A Yotpo consumer survey from April 2020 found 41 percent of consumers prefer to receive messages from a brand via text, rivaling email (46 percent) and followed by social media (eight percent) and phone calls (six percent). The survey found that if messages are personalized, 54 percent are more likely to make a purchase and 41 percent are willing to share information with a brand.
- 58% of Consumers Say That Texting Is the Best Way for Businesses to Reach Them Quickly – Zipwhip
- Survey: Do Consumers Really Want to Receive Texts From Brands? – Yotpo
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How would you rate the benefits and drawbacks of text messaging as a communication tool for retailers? Has it become the go-to option for customer service alerts such as delivery updates and curbside pickup?