The fight for the inbox is fiercer than ever. As our emails and Instagram feeds become ever more cluttered, brands are looking for other avenues to connect with consumers.
SMS retailing might sound invasive, but we’re used to following brands alongside our friends across social media, so why wouldn’t we share our message apps with the brands we love?
We’re now seeing brands and retailers use text messaging in a myriad of ways, including orders for replenishable products (this has been a feature of the pharmacy sector for years), customer service, communicating news and to better understand how customers are using their products.
One-on-one skincare with Versed
Skincare brand Versed launched their ‘Skin Hotline’ text service with the aim of educating curious consumers. Instead of chatbots, the service is handled manually by a small team who field commonly asked questions about skincare and the products.
“We want to develop a strong connection with people, and SMS allows us to dig into those needs more,” Melanie Bender, founding general manager of Versed, tells Glossy. As the service gains traction, it will allow the brand to build in-depth customer profiles and identify gaps in common knowledge, continuing its mission as a data-driven, community-led brand. In the future, the service could also evolve into a channel for direct sales.
Curating with Whym
As well as using SMS to engage and educate customers, retailers are looking to redefine the online shopping experience. Whym is a text-powered boutique launched by two former Snapchat employees and is leading a new generation of seamless, text-based commerce platforms that offer a more personable way to browse and buy.
After signing up (by text, naturally), customers communicate with a Whym team member in real time to ask questions, curate their basket and purchase using a secure digi-wallet. Adding to the seamless experience, shipping and payment information is collected only during the first purchase.
“Many companies are starting to explore text messaging as a means of marketing, but we’ve built a fully functional text boutique complete with frictionless payments, a full product offering and a one-to-one customer concierge,” explains CEO Kelly Nyland.
Community cooking with Great Jones
Direct-to-consumer cookware brand Great Jones has deployed their ‘Potline’ text messaging service to offer recipe ideas, cleaning tips and general cooking advice to their community of home cooks. The brand reported that 75% of Potline’s users have never bought from the brand before.
According to co-founder Sierra Tishgart, texting friends and family is a natural part of the cooking process. “We really want this to feel like you are in the middle of making pasta and your sauce isn’t landing – how would you look for help there? I would text somebody. We really realised that is just the fastest, most immediate and natural form of communication,” she tells TechCrunch.
To coincide with Thanksgiving last year, the brand launched the first Potline ‘takeover’, inviting cookbook author Julia Turshen to answer questions from their community of cooks. Tishgart has said that it plans to host one of these events each month to promote both the Potline service and the Great Jones brand to new audiences.
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