Is Text Message Ordering the Future of Retail and Commerce?

Is Text Message Ordering the Future of Retail and Commerce?

There is no denying that our smartphones and mobile devices have taken over our shopping habits.

With mobile devices accounting for 48% of all Google searches, and U.S. mobile retail commerce sales expected to take nearly 54% of overall ecommerce sales by 2021, it’s time for businesses to seriously think about how they can take advantage of mobile usage and differentiate themselves in the market.

Mobile Share of eCommerce Sales: 2017-2021 Statista
US mobile retail commerce share 2021 statista

Besides product and price differentiation, another way businesses can stand out is by creating a better customer experience that is seamless and effortless.

Why do you think more consumers are shifting to mobile for their buying needs? It’s fast and convenient.

Instead of pulling out the laptop, waiting for it to load, then try to connect to WIFI, consumers can use their smartphones to instantly start searching for products and services within seconds.

Traditional retail and eCommerce companies have seen this shift and have enabled customers to buy on their website or mobile app. But with the constant change in consumer behavior, companies need to look to the next thing that will make mobile shopping easier.

This is where the good old text message comes into play.

Although text messaging (SMS & MMS) is not a new technology, it is for businesses. Similar to email, text messaging has transformed from a personal communication channel to a business and commerce channel.

Texting is arguably the most widely used functionality on a mobile phone as more than 6 billion texts are sent every day.

Now is the time for businesses to start exploring texting as a way to engage customers and enable them to order products and services by simply sending a text message.

Here are some examples of businesses already enabling text messaging for ordering.

1) Dominos

Dominos Pizza is not a stranger to trying out new ways for customers to order from them. In 2015, they enabled their over one million Twitter followers to order their favorite pie by tweeting an emoji.

After seeing success, they soon added text messaging as another way for customers to place orders.

Dominos text to order

To be honest, ordering via text message from Domino’s is not quite as easy as it seems. There are a couple of account setup steps for capturing your personal information including address and phone number as well as enabling text ordering. But once you’ve set it up once, the experience becomes as simple as texting an emoji for future orders.

Many other hotels, restaurants, delis and other food service businesses are also adopting text messaging to provide faster service for their customers. Here is an example.

2) Gillette

With the birth of razor subscription companies like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s changing the way people buy grooming products, Gillette got in on the action with their own subscription service along with ala carte ordering from their website, email and text message.

Gillette text to order

By providing the flexibly to allow customers to order what they need and the convenience of ordering through the channel of their choice, Gillette greatly reduced the effort and removed any hesitations from customers ordering from them. Additionally, the ease of re-ordering by sending a text message helps them build more loyal customers.

3) Adidas x Alexander Wang

The fashion world is all about being creative and unusual. This next example is definitely the case here with the promotion of Adidas and fashion designer Alexander Wang’s new line.

Adidas text to buy example

For the new promotion of the Adidas and Alexander Wang “Season 2” line, eye-catching posters were placed in various locations within New York City with the words “TEXT TO BUY” along with the number.

Orders can be placed by simply sending a text message to the number and customers interact with a chat-bot to place the order and arrange delivery.

The other unique part of the delivery method is that customers would meet with bike messengers wearing the Adidas gear in specified locations to receive their merchandise.

Adidas text to buy sms
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This promotion is a great example of creative marketing combined with a seamless commerce strategy that utilizes the ease and convenience of mobile and text messaging to engage customers.

Even though this promotion is not permanent (I just tried texting the number and didn’t get a response back), it could be a glimpse into how we will buy clothes and other products in the future.

These are just three examples of different types of companies enabling text message ordering for customers.

There are many other businesses like grocery stores, hair salons, and hotels that offer text message ordering to ease the buying process.

Think about how your business currently accepts orders and if text message ordering can fit within your business model and improve the ordering process and expand your customer reach.

4) Apple Business Chat

In 2017, Apple launched their Business Chat product that enabled consumers to message businesses through Safari, Maps, Spotlight and even Siri via their favorite Apple device.

apple business chat lowes
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On the Apple website, they stated that:

“Now you can ask for information, schedule appointments, and even make purchases right in Messages on your iPhone or iPad. Which makes connecting with your favorite companies as easy as texting your favorite people.”

With the integration with Apple Pay, the messaging experience with businesses become even more streamlined, allowing customers to pay with a simple tap.

To get started, simply register your business with Apple Business Chat and you can start engaging customers via any Apple product including iPhones, iPads, Mac Computers, and even the Apple Watch.

It also allows you to integrate Business Chat into your CRM or customer service platform for a seamless customer experience.

If your business uses Apple products, this can be an easy way to get started with testing out messaging with customers.

Text messaging is not going away anytime soon, and it’s up to businesses to find ways to integrate texting into their customer experience to better serve customers and drive the way ordering products and services is done in the future.

You may also like: How to Integrate Texting into Your Social Media Strategy

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