SMS messaging can help keep brands top-of-mind, particularly during the upcoming holiday season when consumers are at their busiest shopping. Texts can successfully drive consumers in-store so long as they are relevant and offer an incentive.
“For luxury brands, the best strategies for mobile often focus on leveraging the medium to drive store traffic,” said Scott Forshay, Austin, TX-based director of mobile strategy at Morpheus Media, aCreatethe Group company.
“While luxury brands are historically not promotions-oriented, strategies can be employed via mobile that leverage the differentiated elements of the medium while remaining on-brand, with a strict focus on emphasizing exclusivity as the essence of the luxury brand experience,” he said.
While mobile applications are engaging and banner ads can help drive site traffic, permission-based SMS messaging remains a viable way to drive consumers in-store.
Location-based technology and consumer databases can help marketers to segment their target base and send appropriate, personalized messages.
Indeed, relevance is key when it comes to SMS messaging, according to Matt McKenna, founder and president of Red Fish Media
“Know who you are sending your messages to and deliver them relevant content,” Mr. McKenna said.
“You’re not going to sell a fur coat here in Miami Beach anytime of the year, but you’ll sell them off the rack in New York,” he said. “Knowing who your customers are and what they want is key.”
In addition to sending out relevant local information and deal alerts, SMS messaging could be particularly effective for alerting consumers when a product comes back in stock at their local stores during the holidays.
Also, there are some general best-practice tips for SMS messaging that marketers should know.
For example, Red Fish has seen the most success with SMS campaigns when the message is sent mid-day and during the week.
However, this does not hold true when it comes to location-based events or in-store deals, which would be more successful sent on a weekend when consumers are likely not at work.
Additionally, brands should be wary of sending more than five SMS messages per month to consumers.
Words are cheap
While many luxury brands are creating flashy mobile apps and interactive banner ads, SMS is still king when it comes to mobile, per Morpheus Media’s Mr. Forshay.
Since not every affluent consumer necessarily has the time to learn how to scan a QR code or to interact with an app, particularly during the busy holiday season, SMS campaigns still see the highest open rates.
“Geo-fenced push notifications through native apps, for example, require the consumer to have downloaded the brand’s app and opted-in to receive push notifications and allow location determination through the merchant’s app,” Mr. Forshay said.
“These added layers of complexity associated with consumer privacy concerns are not as simple to navigate as SMS, which is far more universally accepted and trusted,” he said.
Indeed, apps and mobile commerce sites are not expected to be largely successful in this year’s holiday sales, according to an executive at Ogilvy (see story).
Luxury gift-giving is often an emotional purchasing experience for the holiday shopper and, therefore, is preferred to be done in-person at a physical store.
With affluent consumers expected to increase spending by 7 percent this holiday season, the next few months are crucial in boosting luxury brands’ end-of-year sales (see story).
“Proactive communications with the on-the-go consumer that offer exclusive access to the brand through exclusive events, or to products before general release, is a sound strategy,” Mr. Forshay said.
“While luxury brands tend to focus on providing that shiny object to their consumer base who expect heightened levels of imagination and creative innovations from the brand, the universality of SMS, while not as aesthetically intriguing, makes it a more trusted and accepted communications vehicle,” he said.