Do you know that one element you need to convert more website visitors into paying customers is credibility? Yes, that is right. Potential customers that do not trust you will not buy from you.
Your website is the central online hub, your business’s digital portrayal, and often the first stop for potential customers. The first question that visitors have when they land on your website is whether they can trust you.
Your website provides insights to both humans and search engines into:
For example, Google judges your site’s credibility by evaluating online feedback from public sources, such as clients, prospects, and users.
It gets this information from three primary online resources:
Google properties such as YouTube and Google My Business
Your web pages and other sites you control, such as review sites and social media accounts.
Other trustworthy, independent, and authoritative websites
Even if your company is credible, it does not necessarily mean that your website conveys it. Consider the factors below to make your site more credible to your visitors.
Your Domain Name
Think of domain names as shifting billboard advertising to a keyboard. Acquiring a new or the best domain name for your brand should be a focal point of your marketing strategy.
Your domain name helps visitors determine your credibility by:
How it looks
Whether it represents what your business does
A great domain name is crucial for a successful online presence. Think of your website as your virtual brick and mortar storefront and your domain as the virtual real estate it sits on.
For this reason, many brands are purchasing a premium domain (as opposed to speculating on unknown factors with a brand-new domain) to quickly build trust and credibility for their customers.
Using the same real estate analogy, premium domains are akin to water-front property. Such property is exclusive, has limited availability, and is in high demand.
They usually contain keywords with a high search volume, and often someone else owns them. Premium domains also:
Offer the potential of becoming a popular website address.
Provide strong branding opportunities
Are generally short, memorable, easy-to-spell, and are often paired with the most popular .com domain extension
Usually contain words that have a high search volume.
Although premium domains generally cost more than regular domains, they are investment dollars spent wisely. They are valuable in building credibility, driving traffic to your website, and speeding up your online success.
Social proof is defined as the process by which consumers look at others’ opinions, such as influencers, friends, and family, before making important decisions.
Because people tend to believe the opinions of those they trust, social proof has become a powerful marketing tool.
To provide social proof and credibility to your website, be sure to include links to your social media profiles, client testimonials, and product reviews.
Be sure to utilize social proof as a critical component of your website marketing strategy to give more credence to your brand messaging and advertising.
Social proof reinforces the reliability of claims made in advertising and can make a businesses marketing message more believable.
Add the Human Touch with Clear Contact Information
Your website should always include an “About Us” section to let your visitors know who you are, what your experience is, and anything else you deem relevant to share.
Including staff photos with bios adds a human touch that builds credibility and puts real faces behind your brand. Place your contact information where customers can easily find it without having to search for it or scroll around too much.
Ideally, let customers know how to reach you by phone, email, live chat, or Skype in your website’s header. You can also include the same information in the footer or on a contact page.
Keep it Updated
Have you ever landed on a website that you can tell has not been updated in years? Some tell-tale signs of outdated sites include a copyright date that is not current, no recent blog posts, and an outdated design.
Not only will your website visitors not feel comfortable in your lack of credibility, but they might also even think you have gone out of business.
Refresh your content annually, update your blog often, and be sure your copyright date in your website’s footer is current to build credibility.
A User-Friendly Website Design
Although we have been taught not to judge a book by its cover, online users do not follow that golden rule.
Visitors to your website make their first impression within a few seconds of landing on it. And, since a study found thatÂ 94% of negative feedback about websites has to do with their design, it makes sense to focus on yours.
The look and feel of your site are the primary drivers of first impressionsâ€”visual appeal matters. Make your website design appealing to visitors so they will stay and see what you have to offer.
If your website visitors must jump through hoops to find what they are looking for, your navigation is too complicated.
They will get frustrated and leave, and your business will suffer the loss of a potential customer. Alternatively, when potential customers can quickly find exactly what they want, your site went up a notch in the trust and credibility department.
Include Valuable Resources
Including well-written and relevant eBooks and white papers on your website helps establish your brand as an authority in your niche and adds credibility.
These types of resources show your potential customers that are an expert in your field. They also provide the information your target market can use to make their lives easier.
Many companies choose to use their white papers and eBooks as lead magnets for lead generation. Interested site visitors give you their contact information in exchange for your valuable resources.
They are then put into your sales funnel, where you follow up with a sequence of emails to increase your credibility even more.
Are You Ready to Boost Your Website’s Credibility?
Making sure your website:
Sits on a great domain name
Has updated content
Shows the human side of your brand
Includes easy-to-find contact information and social proof
Offers valuable information to your visitors
Remember that your goal is to make it clear to potential customers and search engines that they can trust your business.
There is an invisible real-time data war taking place in the e-commerce world. Made up of numerous battles fought by soldiers, it is waged by major players competing for dominance in the highly competitive e-commerce environment.
The purpose is clear: to post the lowest price and make the sale.
While people donâ€™t realize that this war is taking place, itâ€™s still there and is getting more brutal as time goes on. My company – Oxylabs – provides the proxies or â€œsoldiers,â€� plus the strategic tools that help businesses win the war. This article will give you an inside view of the battles taking place and techniques to overcome some of the common challenges.
Web Scraping: The Battle for Data
Spies are valuable players in any war as they provide inside information on the opponentâ€™s activities.
When it comes to e-commerce, the â€œspiesâ€� are in the form of bots that aim to obtain data on an opponentâ€™s prices and inventory. This intelligence is critical to forming an overall successful sales strategy.
That data extraction through web scraping activities aims to obtain as much quality data as possible from all opponents. However, data is valuable intelligence, and most sites do not want to give it up easily. Below are some of the most common major challenges web scrapers encounter in the battle for high-quality data:
Challenge 1: IP Blocking (Defense Wall)
Since ancient times, walls were built around cities to block out invaders. Websites use the same tactic today by blocking out web scrapers through IP â€œblocks.â€�
Many online stores that use web scraping attempt to extract pricing and additional product information from hundreds (if not thousands) of products at once. Sometimes these information requests are often recognized by the server as an â€œattack.â€� This can result in bans on the IP addresses (unique identification numbers assigned to each device) as a defense measure. This is a type of â€œwallâ€� a target site can put up to block scraping activity.
Another battle tactic is to allow the IP address access to the site but to display inaccurate data.
The solution for all scenarios is to prevent the target site from seeing the IP address in the first place. This requires the use of proxies – or â€œsoldiersâ€� – that mimic â€œhumanâ€� behavior. Each proxy has its own IP address. Thus, the server cannot track them to the source organization doing the public data extraction.
There are two types of proxies – residential and data center proxies. The choice of proxy type depends on the complexity of the website and the strategy.
Fighting on enemy territory is not an easy task due to the home advantage leveraged by the defensive army. The challenges faced by an invading army are especially difficult because they are simultaneously discovering the territory while engaged in the battle.
This is analogous to the terrain faced by web scrapers. Each website has a different terrain in the form of its HTML structure. Every script must adapt itself to each new site to find and extract the information required.
For the physical wars of the past, the wisdom of the generals has proven invaluable when advancing on enemy territory. Similarly, the skills and knowledge of scripting experts are invaluable when targeting sites for data extraction.
Digital terrain, unlike physical terrain on earth, can also change at a momentâ€™s notice. Oxylabs adaptive parser, currently in beta phase, is one of the newest features of our Next-Gen Residential Proxies solution. Soon to become a weapon of choice, this AI and ML-enhanced HTML parser can extract intelligence from rapidly-changing dynamic layouts that include the title, regular price, sale price, description, image URLs, product IDs, page URLs, and much more.
Challenge 3: Extracting Data in Real-Time (Battle Timing)
Quick timing is essential to many types of battle strategy, and often waiting too long may result in defeat. This holds true in the lighting fast e-commerce world where timing makes a big difference in winning or losing a sale.
The fastest mover most often wins. Since prices can change on a minute-by-minute basis, businesses must stay on top of their competitors’ moves.
An effective strategy involves strategic maneuvers using tools and scraping logic to extract data in real-time. Also, the use of multiple proxy solutions so data requests appear organic. While it is possible to construct an in-house real-time data extraction mechanism, anticipate many hassles for it to work as expected. Instead, leading brands tend to outsource ready-to-use tools, allowing them to instantly draw insights instead of focusing on challenging real-time data extraction.
Ethical Web Scraping
It is crucial to understand that web scraping can be used positively. There are transparent ways to gather the required public data and drive businesses forward.
Here are some guidelines to follow to keep the playing field fair for those who gather data and the websites that provide it:
Only scrape publicly-available web pages.
Ensure that the data is requested at a fair rate and doesnâ€™t compromise the webserver.
Respect the data obtained and any privacy issues relevant to the source website.
Study the target website’s legal documents to determine whether you will legally accept their terms of service and if you will do so – whether you will not breach these terms.
A Final Word
Few people realize the war taking place behind the low price they see on their screen. That war is composed of multiple scraping battles for product intelligence fought by proxies circumventing server security measures for access to information.
Strategies for winning the battles come in sophisticated data extraction techniques that use proxies and scraping tools. As the invisible war for data continues to accelerate, it appears that the biggest winners of all are the consumers that benefit from the low prices they see on their screens.
While everyone is talking about how the capital letters of innovation — AR, AI and IoT — have turned our lives to online adventure — Iâ€™d like to discuss a bit more prosaic, but still promising sphere. It’s e-Commerce. Here are payment solutions that will flourish in your eCommerce business.
If you still think that going online will cost you a bundle, let me revise some numbers and show you statistics.
According to online-shopping research, the number of online customers will grow to 2.14 billion by 2021.
Are these numbers not enough to drive you forward online retail? All in all, creating a website and a product catalog is a child’s play — integrating a payment API — a five-minute task. And generally, you’re all set and can expand horizons of the business, increase margins.
What if to approach the issue of integrating the API a bit more creatively? For example, develop a loyalty program that allows you to earn bonuses and use them for paying goods, give the clients a chance to pay for things either online or offline, etc.
Most likely, the question “why do I need to devote energy if the solution is already there, and it works?” The page does not hang, payment is not delayed, consumers present, and business grows. Everything is fine.
The answer is simple: increase audience loyalty, profitability, and expand the circle of customers.Â
What are the steps in developing your e-commerce business and payment solution?
1) Apply various payment methods
First of all, in the realm of the Internet, itâ€™s online payments. Applying different acquirers, APIs, and payment platforms — you can gather around your website a whole system with various channels (Stripe, Due, Worldpay, PayPal, ApplePay, GooglePay, RBS, QIWI, China Union).
Off-line payment solutions
As strange as it sounds, you can provide off-line payment solutions in your store by integrating payment services with access to payment kiosk machines (Qiwi, Invoicebox).
Payments with a loyalty program.
Payments with a loyalty program, based on worked out business rules. What is more, the loyalty system with discounts and bonuses is always a plus.
No need to teach a serpent to hiss and tell, that the kinder you are to people and the more sincere your intentions are, the more money will flow into your wallet. The loyalty program solution minimizes possible extra charges and allows clients to pay for products partly with money and partly with earned bonuses. (if you, after all, decided on a loyalty program).
The sweetest part here is that you can create loyalty systems in various manners (integrating some features or bonuses, cooperating with banks on different conditions, and so on).
The technology everybody has heard of, but not all of us realize what it really means. Integrating your application with blockchain, you enable cryptocurrency payment methods and can accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and hundreds of other currencies.
And right now there are decentralized platforms that allow product verification, their control, and management via blockchain technology. Why is the game worth the candle? Well, fast transactions, low pricing fees, and no chargebacks.
It is the most favorite and popular payment solution in China. As well, most individuals know about WeChat. In this way, the system generates code with information about the product itself. After that, your customer will be able to pay for the purchase in their personal account on the store’s website, or you can send a QR-code by e-mail.
No bank cards, no personal data entries. The customer scans the code with their mobile camera and gets rid of the fear that the confidential data may be stolen by cybercriminals.
2) Employ payment routingÂ
Because you have created a more advanced system you can save on processing fees. How? A team of engineers can analyze the first 6 first BINs of a credit card.
The numbers will give you information about a payment system, an issuing bank, and a card type. The data can be used for payment routing and sending the payment request to a bank with the most preferred terms.
The payment routing solution, however, requires compliance with PCI DSS. Itâ€™s a certificate for the protection of customer payment data (card numbers, CVV, etc.).
With PCI DSS you can work with banks directly via payment interfaces of a bank. The PCI DSS solution excludes interaction between your buyer and a third-party payment website.
Besides, building your own payment system will allow cooperating with several banks at once. Not the simplest service, but with the right provider you wonâ€™t experience any pains.
Another feature that you can add is data analysis. Moreover, you can provide such information to customers in their personal accounts. The set of criteria can be diverse. The most purchased types of products, the amount of money spent by month, you can add graphs and filters for clarity and easy search.
In turn, you will collect business analytics on customersâ€™ behavior, profits, the most popular types of products, and lucrative periods.
This solution will help your clients plan purchases in the store more easily, and you can use the information to optimize marketing campaigns, build mailout, and launch targeted advertising.Â
Once you look at a problem from a broader perspective, youâ€™ll find a range of options on how to improve things. You can get a hosted or integrated customized payment page with a user-friendly interface that offers quick, simple, and secure transactions.
The hosted or integrated solution will allow payment routing, provide broad options of payment methods, and increase conversion rate, connecting all your sales channels to unify the customer experience.Â
Your sales channels and unify of the customer experience will lead to increased profitability of your online e-commerce business, which is extremely important in a highly competitive online segment.
COVID-19 has accelerated the move to digital, and forced buyersâ€™ hands to fully embrace and adopt e-commerce.
Research from Adobeâ€™s latest Digital Economy Index shows that online shopping during COVID-19 has exceeded 2019 holiday season levels and online spend for April and May is $52 billion more than what retailers typically see during those months.
E-commerce has just aged three years in the span of three months.
The substantial increase in e-commerce transactions has put unprecedented strains and pressures on retail operations and systems. And things arenâ€™t going to go back to â€œthe way they wereâ€� either. Â In fact, most Americans are still skittish about visiting stores and malls, according to a First Insights survey.
There are companies that are ahead of the game, going all in on digital even before the pandemic. Below, we take a look at some of their shrewd ideas and how these may become industry standards post COVID-19.
Rethinking Brick and Mortar
Given current conditions, we will likely see many brands rethinking the purpose of their brick and mortar locations. There are already first movers in this space, where their storefront is more about telling the brand story, while the actual transactions take place online.
COVID-19 has taught people that in most cases, buying online can be better, faster, easier, more convenient, and safer. Retailers must make their in-store location worth the trip.
Back in 2019 Tesla made the controversial decision to stop selling its vehicles in showrooms, moving all sales to an online-only model. Their showrooms are experience centers, not sales centers.
If you want to buy a Tesla in a showroom, you can, but itâ€™s a DIY process. You have to pull out your mobile phone, pull up the Tesla website, and order the car. Thereâ€™s no pushy sales staff who take your order for you.
Instead, the staff are brand ambassadors, there to help you fall in love with the company and its cars.
Focus on direct-to-consumer’s
On a recent earnings call, Jonathan Sinclair, CFO of Canada Goose, explained that the company would be pivoting to focus more on its direct-to-consumer (D2C) business, both through e-commerce and its own branded experience centers.
In its flagship Toronto store, there are no products for sale. Instead, consumers get a multi-sensory experience to â€œfeelâ€� why the companyâ€™s parkas are worth the hefty price-tag, which is often upwards of $1,000 for a coat.
Canada Goose also intends to reduce its reliance on wholesale and retail distribution channels going forward.
Online-Only Sales Model
In some cases, expect companies to close their physical stores altogether and continue business solely online.
Bose, which in January announced that it would be shutting all of its stores in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia, definitely saw the writing on the wall even before COVID-19 hit the United States.
The retailer decided that it would continue its business online only, and when you think about it, no one really needs to try on noise canceling headphones or test speakers in a store.
In a surprise move, Microsoft also just announced they will permanently close all of the 83 their retail stores and shift to a 100% digital retail model.
The firm is not planning to furlough any of their associates, instead inviting them to take new roles helping customers on their website through video and chat experiences.
Looking at some of the recent earnings calls from big retailers, they have seen a seismic shift in their business model. E-commerce has been the survival pill during the pandemic.
For example, online sales were up 50 percent year over year in Q2 for Zara, and in April alone, its e-commerce sales were up 95 percent. In response, Zara has now updated its online sales growth forecast.
In 2019, just 14 percent of its revenue came from digital. By 2022, Zara expects e-commerce to account for 25 percent of all the revenues.
A Focus on Building Community
Itâ€™s no longer just about the sales support you get while you’re buying the product, or the service and help you get once you own it. Itâ€™s about the end-to-end customer experience.
After more than three months of the pandemic, many companies are realizing continued success will be just as much about how people perceive and engage with the brand. The experience starts from that first engagement, continues through to purchaseâ€”and beyond.
Weâ€™ll see a lot more brand-affinity building from retailers, such as community initiatives that customers feel aligned to, and that may give them a voice.
Many examples of online communities
Thereâ€™s no better example of this than what Calvin McDonald, the CEO of Lululemon, talked about in June during the companyâ€™s 2020 future earnings call.
During the early days of the pandemic, Lululemon launched an online community where customers could congregate to share their stories, experiences, and continue to do yoga together in a virtual manner.
Lululemon also built a new chat program, its digital educator service. Using FaceTime and Zoom, customers can book appointments with â€œstore associatesâ€� for a virtual video chat about yoga wear thatâ€™s right for them.
Lululemon has essentially taken what was happening in the physical store and digitalized it.
Itâ€™s Not Whatâ€™s Coming, Itâ€™s Whatâ€™s Here in Buying
The future of digital in retail is actually here now.
As itâ€™s said, â€œnecessity is the mother of all invention,â€� and this is what weâ€™ve seen because of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, we will see negative repercussions some businesses have faced in light of the pandemic.
We will also see some really inspirational stories around resilience over the next couple of months, and how thinking outside of the box and digital-first, can future-proof a brand.
Over the past two decades, SMS marketing has become so ingrained in our lives that we donâ€™t even pause to consider what life was like without it. Despite that, marketers still donâ€™t regard the platform as highly as email or social media marketing. What a mistake. Here is what the future of SMS marketing is all about.
Fundamental channels for digital marketing.
While email has long been a fundamental channel for digital marketing campaigns. The hype around social media marketing is well deserved, if only for its powerful targeting and personalization capabilities.
Although SMS is now considered as a powerful addition to an omnichannel strategy, it wasnâ€™t always an attractive digital marketing platform. It was too expensive for marketers to take it seriously. Plus, it lacked any semblance of a playbook, which email already had.
Todayâ€™s digital landscape, however, has paved the way for text messaging to be a marketing platform thatâ€™s not just viable but actually worthwhile. In particular, these changes have driven its success as a medium for marketing:
Peak Mobile Penetration
The first SMS-ready mobile phone was introduced to the market in 1993. But, the rapid adoption of mobile phones came towards the late 90s as cellular networks became more stable and even allowed cross-network messaging.
By 2000, 12% of the worldâ€™s population had mobile phones, and that number has consistently increased since then.
Today, there are over five billion unique mobile subscribers worldwide. The stat means over 65% of people all over the world have a mobile device of some kind.
Although the number of smartphone users is increasing steadily, approximately 30% of mobile subscribers donâ€™t have a smartphone with internet access. But, each one is capable of receiving text messages.
Development of Regulations
In the early days of SMS marketing, there were barely any regulations to guide marketers in using it appropriately. It was essentially a free-for-all platform for any business that could afford to use it. Spam was prevalent and branded text messages were considered a nuisance.
Data Privacy Regulations
Several regulations have already been developed and widely accepted across the world to encourage not only respectful practices but also data privacy protection.
These regulations have made people more open to receiving promotional text messages. In fact, nowadays, 75% of consumers say they donâ€™t mind getting texts from brands for as long as they opt in.
In the early 2000s, a single SMS could cost anywhere from ten to twenty cents, depending on the operator. For businesses engaged in mass texting, the costs quickly piled up. But, over time, costs were driven down by several factors. Not the least of which was the popularity of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and instant messaging software like Viber and Messenger.
Nowadays, there are innumerable marketing packages that make SMS a cost-effective platform. Some of them could even bring costs down to one cent per text. Keywords and shortcodes involve additional costs.
Keywords are unique phrases that your customers can use to interact with your company while shortcodes are the numbers to which those keywords are sent. In the text â€œSend HELP to 66586,â€� HELP is the keyword and 66586 is the shortcode.
In the past, a business looking to seriously engage in SMS marketing would need to make use of dedicated shortcodes, which allow for unlimited use of keywords. Those could cost anywhere from fifteen to thirty thousand dollars per year. Nowadays, there are mobile marketing firms that share shortcodes across multiple businesses through a keyword rental model. Each keyword rental could cost anywhere from five to twenty-five dollars per month.
Earlier, the SMS gateways that enabled computers to send, receive, and manage text messages were physical appliances that merely allowed marketers to ramp up their text messaging efficiency. Nowadays, SMS gateway applications allow you to do all that without the cost of procuring specialized hardware.
Advancements in marketing applications have also led to the wide acceptance of SMS as a marketing medium. While there are SMS-specific apps for businesses with limited needs, there is also powerful software that allows you to manage entire marketing campaigns across multiple channels, all using a single platform. Using such applications, you can use SMS as part of an omnichannel strategy alongside email, social media, and search advertising.
In recent years, consumers have shown a clear preference for omnichannel brand communications. Not only are purchase rates higher for companies that use three or more channels, but retention rates are also much higher. While businesses available on only a single channel keep approximately 33% of their customers, retention rates are as high as 89% for companies with omnichannel engagement.
Thereâ€™s no denying that a large part of the success of omnichannel campaigns is the proper use of SMS marketing. Not only are consumers more willing to receive text messages from businesses, but those who opt into SMS along with other channels are much more likely to convert. This rapid adoption and undeniably positive acceptance of omnichannel marketing make the future of SMS even more exciting.
The Benefits of SMS Marketing
Advancements in the digital marketing landscape have definitely paved the way for SMS to be a valuable marketing platform. To brands and marketers, these are the most significant benefits that are unique to the medium:
It Doesnâ€™t Require an Internet Connection
Unlike email, it doesnâ€™t take an internet connection or even a smartphone to receive text messages. That means your customers will receive your message no matter where they are and what kind of phone theyâ€™re using. In the US, that gives you access to 96% of the total adult population.
According to research by Morgan Stanley, 91% of adults keep their mobile devices within reach at all times. In fact, Americans check their phones every 12 minutes while theyâ€™re awake. That means the average American engages with their cellphone about 80 times a day.
It is Easy to Consume
Since phones are always within reach and text messages are typically around 160 characters long, marketing messages on SMS are easily consumed. That is probably the reason why it enjoys open rates of over 98%. In contrast, email open rates average 14% across all industries. Additionally, about 90% of text messages are read within the first three minutes of receipt.
SMS Messaging Encourages Quick Responses
Because text messages are easy to consume, recipients are also more likely to respond. In fact, the average response rate for SMS is 45% while email response is only 6%.
SMS is also the preferred means of receiving coupons intended for both online and in-store redemption because of its convenience. In fact, redemption rates for SMS-based coupons are ten times higher than printed versions.
The Benefits of Combining SMS With Other Channels
Email has been the long-established medium for digital marketing. It isnâ€™t going anywhere, no matter how prevalent SMS marketing becomes. But, text messages differ vastly from emails not only in format but also in how they are consumed. For that reason, SMS undoubtedly has its own role to play in a truly omnichannel marketing campaign.
While email excels because of its ability to communicate extensive and dynamic content, it canâ€™t beat the timeliness of SMS. That makes text messaging the perfect complement to email. Time-sensitive offers, for example, perform best on SMS. Text messaging is also an effective way to drive your audiences to your email content.
SMS and email make up the critical platforms of an omnichannel campaign. But, it doesnâ€™t really end there. Depending on the nature of your business and the needs of your audience, using these two platforms alongside others like push notifications, social media, search advertising allows you to be truly omnipresent without being invasive.
By combining available platforms and allowing each one to play their own roles, youâ€™re able to provide seamless customer experiences that enhance both sales and brand affinity.
SMS Marketing is Bound to Become More Valuable
Though SMS has undoubtedly proven its worth as a marketing channel, changes and improvements that will inevitably come will make it an even more effective channel. Some of them might include:
Improvements in Personalization
As it integrates more seamlessly with other channels and becomes ingrained in more business processes, SMS marketing will enjoy a broader scope of data. Add to that the inevitable advancements in artificial intelligence and marketers will clamor over SMS for the extent to which they can personalize messages.
More data and targeting options also mean better automation capabilities. Marketers will be able to set more specific triggers, and machine learning capabilities can lead to even more personalized campaigns. With SMSâ€™ current performance as a marketing medium, these advancements in personalization and automation will undoubtedly lead to even more improved engagement rates and, ultimately, better sales.
Developments as a Primary Support Channel
Through AI-driven enhancements, SMS could become the primary means by which customers can access support. Today, chatbots can already accurately answer frequently asked questions. As they become more informed and more intuitive, they could be integrated into more business processes that will inevitably enhance customer experiences.
Imagine entering a busy boutique and finding a top you like but not in the size you wear. Instead of waiting for your turn to ask the sales associate to check for your size, you could simply send a text message and receive a response in an instant. As SMS bots become even more integrated into business processes, they could even instruct sales associates to pull out the item you asked for, track you down within the store, and assist you through the rest of the buying process.
Usefulness in Various Industries
SMS marketing is currently most beneficial to ecommerce businesses. But, innovative marketers are quickly finding new applications for it and open up possibilities to harness its power in non-traditional ways.
Pretty soon, its benefits as a medium will encourage more and more industries to adopt it. That, in turn, will further contribute to its wide acceptance and performance as a marketing platform.
Integration With More Channels
The most common way to use SMS is to complement email campaigns. With thoughtful planning and preparation, some of the more advanced marketers also successfully use it alongside other channels like push notifications, instant messaging, social media, and search.
However, through data-driven insights and advancements in software, SMS should soon integrate more seamlessly with a wider variety of channels in order to provide a truly personal and cohesive experience thatâ€™s consistent across all platforms.
Today, some of the most powerful marketing software are already making some of these scenarios possible. Nevertheless, apps will continue improving and further increase SMSâ€™ value.
Best Use of SMS Marketing
Businesses have adopted SMS for a wide variety of applications. Here are some of the best ways to use text messaging effectively:
Post-Purchase Notifications: The period after a shopper completes a purchase is crucial to customer retention. Apart from a comprehensive confirmation email, send them SMS alerts as you process their order, ship their item, and confirm that they have received their package. Doing so will make a second purchase much more likely.
Time-Sensitive Alerts: The short format of text messages and the proximity of mobile phones to its users make it the perfect medium for time-sensitive information that you want your audiences to act on right away. These include product launches, sales promotions, and other limited-time offers or events.
Gift Distribution: Impressive redemption rates make SMS an ideal platform for distributing digital coupons and virtual gifts. With marketing automation platforms, you can even send gifts automatically through relevant triggers like birthday and purchase milestones.
Customer Support: The quick and direct nature of SMS makes it an excellent option for providing fantastic customer service. SMS bots can receive and answer basic questions and then escalate more complex or sensitive concerns to a highly trained support team. That allows support teams to focus only on critical issues while giving all customers access to timely assistance.
Accessing Information: Apart from providing assistance, you can use SMS to offer quick and easy access to information. Practical applications include confirming availability, providing store locations, and offering product recommendations.
Drive to Site: Through SMS, you can drive your customers to your site to boost traffic, promote new content, or get them to re-engage. This is especially useful for users that havenâ€™t visited in a long time and have stopped opening emails.
Order Placements: If you have limited SKUs, SMS could be a good way to accept orders. When fully automated, this could provide an effortless ordering experience to your customers, which could lead to better retention and more sales.
Appointment Setting & Reminders: Businesses can allow their customers to book appointments via SMS. You can use the same platform to automatically send appointment reminders.
Identity Verification Processes: Two-factor authorization via SMS is not a new concept. But, as data privacy and security becomes more imperative to the success of businesses, more industries will surely adopt text messaging for identity verification.
Feedback Gathering: Remarkable SMS response rates also make it an excellent platform for feedback gathering. Through text messages, you can ask your customers to answer simple surveys. You can even use SMS bots to ask questions as a human market researcher would.
The current success of SMS marketing shows that it is here to stay. As brandsâ€™ innovative use of the channel drives its growth and wide acceptance, it should become even more valuable. Ultimately, it will take its rightful place alongside email as an indispensable medium for marketing communications.