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28 posts categorized "Retail"

May 31, 2014

Dean & Grace Launch Text Ordering for Kids Clothes

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Clothes shopping for kids can be a perilous experience. They either don’t like anything you see, or they don’t want to go in the first place. Dragging the little ones round a mall on a Saturday afternoon can seem like a thankless task that you still end up with a huge bill for. 

Enter Dean & Grace, the boutique kids clothing store that lets you buy threads via text message. The idea is as refreshing and devastatingly simple. The company texts pictures of clothes to parents who have opted in to their SMS list. The image includes a shot of the outfit, a brief description and the size and pricing information. Customers simply reply to the message to place an order. Sign up is free, and can be done via the website, or by texting ‘Joindg’ to 76000.

On signing up, parents select the age, size and gender of their child so they only receive relevant texts. As with any reputable boutique store, supplies are limited – the first respondents get priority on purchasing the items they want. 

The number of texts your receive will vary according to inventory, as well as the size and gender details you submit. Sign up for one child and you’ll get around one text per week (opting out is a simple matter of texting “STOP” at any time).

And the clothes are cool enough even for the most jaded tween, with plenty of cute styles going on, enough to satisfy diverse tastes. In addition to carrying boutique lines from across the globe, Dean & Grace carry classic kids brands including Viva La Fete, Silly Goose, Masala Baby, Toobydoo, Trish Scully and Doodlepants. Sizes range from newborn to size 7. If you want a specific item, you just respond with the keyword “want’ to place a bid”. Shipping is free.

Demand is so high, many customers have been placed on a waitlist, so it’s important to get in early if you want a piece of the action. If you do end up on the waitlist, Dean & Grace will notify you by SMS as soon as a spot becomes available.

Shopping via text message is a thoroughly 21st Century experience. So why not give it a whirl?

 

 

May 08, 2014

Six of the Best: Digital Wallets

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At the end of last year, MobileMarketingWatch predicted 2014 would see $8 billion spent on mobile advertising. According to their prediction, one of the key drivers of this expanding market would be the rise of the ‘digital wallet’.

In an age of widespread smartphone ownership, mobile transactions are the logical continuation of an increasingly cashless society. Convenient, secure and easily tracked, digital payments are now possible via a number of apps:

Google Wallet

Probably the best known digital wallet, Google’s app lets you pay for goods and services by waving or tapping your smartphone across a checkout reader which identifies credit card information linked to your Google account. Right now, it only works in the US with selected merchants, but more companies are adding the technology all the time. It even works with Google Glass

Apple’s Passbook

Apple’s take on the digital wallet was introduced to iOS 6. It relies on scanning 2D barcodes that help you manage anything from movie tickets to loyalty cards and coupons. Again, only a few merchants are accepting this form of transaction right now, and it’s not (yet) possible to sync it with your credit card, but as a convenient way of managing store accounts, Passbook takes some beating.

Square Wallet

The lesser known Square Wallet is available on both iOS and Android. The app links your credit card details to a fairly limited directory of merchants, and uses geo-location technology to charge you when you’re in store. A neat feature is the potential for purchasing in-store gift vouchers that can be sent to other Square Wallet users.

Chirpify

Chirpify turns your social media apps into payment systems using PayPal. It creates listings enabling you to sell items or start a fundraising project on Instagram or Twitter, all managed from a Chirpify dashboard.

Bump Pay

Just like the Bump app that lets you share photos between smartphones, Bump Pay is a free iPhone app that does exactly what it says on the tin: transfers (or ‘bumps’) money from one phone to another using a PayPal account.

Isis

Taking digital payments full circle, Isis comes with its very own cashcard, preloaded with $10. Compatible with NFC-enabled Androids, it lets you manage loyalty cards and redeem offers from selected merchants. Isis is also PIN-protected, and can be remotely frozen if your phone is stolen – perfect for security conscious digital wallet lovers.

 

April 24, 2014

Which Code to Choose: The Short Answer

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One of the first decisions to make when developing a text marketing campaign is whether to use short codes or long codes. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, largely dependent on what type of business you have.

Long codes are attractive to small businesses with limited marketing budgets. Easy and affordable to set up, long codes allow for multiple messages to be sent internationally from one number. For companies outside the United States who need to watch every penny, the long code is an understandably appealing option.

Trouble is, this ease of use can spell disaster when used for commercial purposes. Using long codes over a U.S. carrier network is actually illegal, and organizations that send unsolicited messages to consumers violate the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM Act). A number of companies are currently facing litigation for such violations.

Legal ramifications notwithstanding, the marketing benefits of long codes are questionable. For one thing, they don’t support videos or pictures and there are severe restrictions on the number of messages that can be sent per second. The bottom line is, long codes are intended for communication between individuals, not businesses and consumers.

Which brings us to short codes. Yes, they can take weeks to be vetted, and they are undoubtedly expensive (with monthly costs averaging around $500), but that’s the price of an effective, legitimate service. The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) have implemented rules to protect consumers, namely an obligation to gain permission from each recipient before sending a text message.

Instead of viewing this regulation as inconvenient red tape, look at it from the consumer’s point of view – they don’t want to be hassled with unsolicited commercial messages. Why do something that alienates people from your business? Gaining explicit permission will vastly improve your relationship with users – not to mention keeping you within the bounds of the law!

From a purely marketing perspective, short codes are more memorable, and allow you to send thousands of messages in a second. They can also be used for handling payment services, which will save your business resources in the long run.

Customers prefer them. So do law courts. So do commercial enterprises with an eye for the long-term strategy. With few exceptions, the legitimate, accountable business uses short codes.

 

April 17, 2014

Six of the Best: Mobile Marketing Campaigns

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When devising a text marketing strategy, it makes sense to study successful campaigns pulled off by other companies. Not every tactic will be appropriate for your industry or business, but at least you’ll get an understanding of what works. Let’s take a rundown of our favorite SMS and mobile campaigns from recent years…

McDonalds

The fast food behemoth recently launched a ‘Merry Xmas in the Restaurant’ sweepstakes in Italian outlets. Customers could enter the competition while in a restaurant, and stood to win instant prizes. A classic use of short codes printed on packaging, prizes ranged from free mobile content to free burgers. Within five weeks, a million and a half people had participated in the event.

Heineken

In 2011, Heineken introduced a ‘dual screen’ app that allowed fans to interact during soccer games. Predicting outcomes of set pieces and scorelines, trivia questions about teams - StarPlayer awarded points for them all. They even skirted the tricky issue of fans simply looking up trivia answers online by awarding more points for fast answers. The competitive element of the app ensured it was shared across social media, and Heineken gained huge exposure as a result.

Planet Hollywood

The Las Vegas hotel and casino ran an SMS campaign offering prizes to people who opted in to receive messages and upgraded to an A-List Player’s Club  membership. Prizes included free game credits on the floor. The campaign increased membership by 13%.

Kraft

The food company offered new mobile signups a free sample of instant coffee. The campaign resulted in 400,000 requests for samples, and more than 80,000 mobile message opt-in offers.

Adidas

When Adidas launched their Adizero F50 soccer boots, they had all the components of a winning marketing campaign. Top Argentine footballer Lionel Messi was the face of the promotion, and Penn Station in NYC was to form the centerpiece of a dramatic light show. In order to spread the word, Adidas targeted all mobile users within a 3-mile radius of Penn Station during the run-up to the light show. Their ad linked to a promo video describing the event’s location and time. By using an element of mystery, a free show and a famous face, Adidas attracted thousands of spectators to Penn Station.

Arby’s

In 2012, Arby’s used SMS as part of a campaign to raise awareness about global childhood hunger. They partnered with the ‘No Kid Hungry’ campaign, and encouraged users to opt in to their mobile contact list – all while promoting a good cause.

Text marketing really works for these huge brands – and it can work for you too. Get inspired by these success stories, and start your SMS marketing campaign now!

April 01, 2014

What’s So Great About SMS Marketing?

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In mobile circles, it’s well known that more than nine out of ten text messages are opened and read within minutes of receipt. Numerous studies have corroborated this impressive claim, and yet a number of businesses are still to catch on to the potential benefits of a mobile campaign.

The reasons for this vary. In some cases, businesses simply don’t want to try anything new, whether out of fear or corporate apathy. As in life, people tend to stick to what they know – especially if they are older and more set in their ways.

And yet, there are so many advantages to mobile marketing – when compared with other forms of advertising – that it to ignore it could be putting the future health of your company in serious danger. Here are five reasons mobile should be an essential, central part of your overall a strategy:

  1. It’s fast. A text message can be created, delivered, and read much faster than any other form of marketing. Look at the best Twitter and text campaigns to find out how to create engaging content in less than 160 characters, and remember, when it comes to delivering a punchy, memorable brand message, brevity and levity are your friends. Text has both.
  2. It’s cheap. For a small business, the affordability of SMS is one of the chief appeals. Compared with billboards or radio and television advertising, a text campaign gives you a big reach at a fraction of the cost. 
  3. It’s trackable. Keeping an eye on the success of your campaigns will help you figure out where to focus future budgets. With texting, it’s a whole lot easier to track metrics and create a detailed analysis of each campaign’s performance.
  4. It’s direct. Emails are checked once or twice a day at most, and the majority of commercial missives are filtered in one way or another. Text, on the other hand, is a frequently-checked medium, with many users looking at a message as soon as it has arrived.
  5. It’s interactive. Engaging customers is so easy with SMS. Surveys, polls and questionnaires can be sent to thousands of people at the touch of a button. Not only will texting encourage people to visit your social media pages and website, it can provide your business with crucial data on personal preferences and spending habits.

March 23, 2014

Three of the Most Successful Mobile Marketing Campaigns From Around the World

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If you’re embarking on a new mobile strategy for 2014, it pays to look around at success stories from the world of mobile marketing to see how it’s done. Here, we take a look at three of the most successful mobile marketing campaigns ever conducted!

American Express, Foursquare and Austin,TX

In the summer of 2010, Foursquare and American Express teamed up to devise a mobile marketing strategy that would promote customer loyalty for local businesses. The results were launched in Austin during the Spring of 2011. Some 60 local businesses offered Foursquare users a ‘spend $5, save $5’ reciprocal deal – provided they completed the transaction using an AmEx card. This ‘Loyalty Special’ sent push notifications to participants, informing them that they had successfully redeemed the offer. The beauty of this campaign was the seamlessness of the user experience: the special offer happened at exactly the same time as the sale, without the need for further action, effectively closing the loop between consumers’ online and offline behavior.

Aer Lingus

Irish airline Aer Lingus used to rely solely on emails to inform passengers of any flight delays or cancellations. This was far from perfect, only reaching around 10% of passengers. The carrier’s solution? SMS. Within a month of implementing an SMS communication program, Aer Lingus successfully informed 75% of passengers of a problem with a flight, and have since largely avoided shelling out compensation and fielding tricky complaints. This is a classic example of an indirect mobile marketing solution that worked its magic by improving customer service. Word-of-mouth did the rest.

Orange

A great example of a long-running mobile marketing strategy that’s had consistently high results is the partnership between UK cinemas and communications company Orange. Launched in 2003, ‘Orange Wednesdays’ offers 2-for-1 movie tickets to all customers, every single Wednesday. According to research conducted in 2010, Orange had issued 23.5 million freebies to date. Many customers took advantage of the scheme multiple times, and Orange claims to have generated another three million annual ticket sales for movie theaters. The campaign has been an undisputed success, taking Wednesday attendance figures from the lowest to the highest in a few short years.

So take a leaf out of some of these books when you come to devise a mobile strategy. If you offer something of value, get it to the right audience, and improve your customer service using text message technology, there’s not limit to what you can achieve.

February 20, 2014

How to Make Geo-Targeting Work for You

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Geo-targeting or location-based marketing has fast become one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of retailers. This exciting new technology allows businesses to engage with consumers as soon as they – or to be more precise, their smartphone - enters a geo-fenced area close to a store or restaurant.

In the short time it has been available geo-targeting has proved immensely successful, with 58% of major brands employing some version of geo-location strategies during the first quarter of 2013.

Joe Public loves geo-targeting because it sends them relevant in-store offers only when they can actually use them. Businesses are finding increasingly sophisticated ways to use the technology. Some have begun using micro location-based techniques, whereby customers download an app to receive personalized offers as soon as they set foot in the store.

The benefits are patently obvious, and yet not all businesses suitable for geo-targeting have taken advantage. The technology is complex, and beyond the capacity of many small businesses. But there are a variety of ways to use geo-targeting, some of which are easier to implement than others.

One of the most attractive methods to marketers who don’t want to deal with privacy and legal issues is IP targeting, which identifies users based solely on IP address. There is no opt-in required, since the individual is not personally targeted, just the ISP infrastructure of which they are a part. Similarly, cookies provide a broad brush stroke version of geo-location, though they are notoriously inaccurate, being logged in one location before the user moves somewhere else. WiFi triangulation works in the same way, locating users MAC addresses and nearby wireless hotspots.

All of these geo-targeting methodologies have their perks, chief among them the fact that businesses don’t need to seek consent from their audience. To really get the most out of geo-targeting, however, you need to choose a more effective, precise and, yes, consent-based strategy. Location-as-a-service (LaaS) is a cloud based solution, triangulating users locations using mobile phone towers. Laas requires recipients to opt in, as do location-based proximity networks, which provide one of the most accurate forms of geo-targeting there is, capable of locating users within 200-900 feet of the point of sale. Location-based proximity networks are usually favored by malls and large department stores.

For the average retailer, GPS-powered geo-targeting is by far the best option, providing precision data to within a few feet of the mobile device. In most cases, persuading customers to opt-in to receive location-based offers and discounts via GPS is going to generate the biggest ROI. The only tricky part is convincing customers of the usefulness of the technology, whilst reassuring them that their data will not be used for any other purpose.

January 24, 2014

Apple Seeks to Boost Share of Chinese Mobile Market

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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has promised the company’s 763 million Chinese subscribers “great things” in response to repeated calls for larger display screens.

Cook made the promise at China Mobile’s flagship store in Beijing - but he wouldn't go into specifics about Apple's plans for developing a device aimed squarely at one market.

“We never talk about future things,” Cook said. “We have great things we are working on but we want to keep them secret. That way you will be so much happier when you see it.”

China Mobile is the world's largest carrier, and Apple hopes to tap their user-base in order dominate the country's smartphone market, which is currently led by Samsung. Three home-grown companies trail Samsung but outsell Apple.

China Mobile could shift 10 million iPhone units this year, according to estimates from industry analysts.  According to China Mobile, pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone stood at around 1 million units on January 15th. 

Apple's slow progress in China has largely been attributed to the relatively high cost of the device. Consumers are opting for smartphones costing as little as $100. Apple hopes to overturn that trend this year, but is facing a major challenge in the shape of their iPhone display, which Chinese consumers insist is too small. Standard practice in China is to use one large-screen device for emails, web browsing and watching video content. Every other fourth-generation smartphone offered by China Mobile boasts a display at least half an inch bigger than Apple's four inch iPhone screen. 

Rumors abound over whether Apple will address those concerns specifically for one marketplace - albeit a huge marketplace. Some expect the company to introduce two larger-screen devices this year in order to pose a real threat to the big domestic hitters. 

 

 

November 11, 2013

How Can My Restaurant Use Mobile Marketing?

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Mobile marketing is a godsend for the restaurant business. Whether you’re running a franchise within a global chain of fast-food outlets, or trying to reach out to locals for a mom ‘n’ pop diner, leveraging the power of smartphones should be a central part of your marketing strategy. Here are the best applications of mobile technology for restaurants:

 

  1. Texting. This is the kicker. Cheap, fast, reliable – bulk texts can fulfill all sorts of dreams you may have for growing your business. You can use texting to send out menu updates, courtesy messages and reservation reminders. Set up an opt-in text list by offering promotions to customers who sign up. What’s the best way to do that? Read on…
  2. Mobile coupons. If you doubt the efficacy of this emerging form of discounting, think on this: mobile coupons have a redemption rate nearly 25% higher than printed internet coupons and around 10 times higher than mail or newspaper distributed coupons! Guess what else? They’re significantly cheaper than any other form of coupon, so if you’re considering getting into the coupon game, there really is no other option.
  3. Geo-fencing. This emergent technology uses GPS to define the geographical boundaries of a specific mobile device. It allows restaurants to trigger texts and emails to that device when it comes inside the boundaries. So if one of your customers is in the area, you can send them special offers based on their favorite dishes.
  4. Surveys and polls. Engage your customers directly by asking them what kinds of combination deals they might be interested in. For instance, would they prefer a lunch deal with two free sides or a starter and a dessert? Send out surveys to get feedback on customer service by asking for star ratings on your latest daily specials.
  5. QR codes. These are ideal for out-of-hours engagement. Set up sign on your store front with a QR code so if hungry customers are constantly walking by when you’re closed, you can think about the possibility of extending your opening hours.

 

Mobile marketing offers so many opportunities for localized, targeted customer engagement. For small restaurants, texting is an affordable way into the mobile marketing revolution, so if you’re hungry for customers, start changing the way you do business today.

July 22, 2013

More Users Opting In for Retail SMS

An interesting article over at MobleMarketingWatch.com reports that more U.K. users are beginning to opt-in for retail-related SMS.

 

More than 7 million people in the United Kingdom may opt-in to retail messaging on their mobile devices by 2015, marking growth of 38% over today.

 

Also, while women are more likely to opt-in for retail, men are still more open to receiving regular messages. One expert says:

 

“Consumers want to feel in control, not spammed in their personal space, so it’s up to retailers to make sure they truly understand how best to reach their followers with a view to turning them into regular shoppers."

 

Is this a sign for an upcoming U.S. trend? Read more about these new findings at MobileMarketingWatch.com!