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Jeanie Dunn
Content Manager, SMS @ Yotpo
September 6th, 2022

How SMS Keeps BFCM Customers From Going Cold

With SMS marketing, eCommerce brands can transform Black Friday Cyber Monday from a short-term event into a long-term success. Here’s how to drive retention and repeat sales by going mobile.

Table Of Contents

This Black Friday Cyber Monday, more customers than ever will be shopping from their phones. Year after year, mobile purchases continue to surpass those made on desktop — 71% of Shopify sales from last year’s BFCM were made from mobile devices, up from 67% in 2020. It’s become the shopping method of choice for today’s consumers who crave the quick, convenient, and personalized experience that mobile apps and channels provide.

At the same time, rising customer acquisition costs are posing new risks for brands ahead of this peak shopping period. According to CommerceNext, 57% say it’s a direct threat to their sales goals. It’s time for a new BFCM strategy — one that doesn’t just drive one momentous spike in sales, but rather sparks repeat purchases and long-term customer engagement.

Brands that look beyond that single burst of revenue to focus on retention will see more lifetime value from every shopper and be less impacted by acquisition costs. In fact, research has shown that increasing customer retention by just 5% can lead to a 25% to 95% increase in profit. Returning customers tend to spend more and buy more often, and if they’re happy with your brand’s products and services, they’re also more likely to refer a family member or friend.

So what’s the best way to reach and retain consumers this BFCM, even when the shopping’s done? With a channel that’s as mobile as they are: SMS. SMS marketing can easily drive your brand’s retention strategy forward, allowing you to foster loyalty and maintain a direct line of communication beyond the point of sale. 

Here’s how SMS marketing can help you keep the excitement and revenue flowing all year round.

Get in front of your customers quickly

The immediacy of SMS makes it the perfect channel to share time-sensitive BFCM content, with instant message delivery that can instill both a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out to drive customers to purchase. According to a Yotpo survey, over 57% of consumers would sign up for SMS because they want to know immediately about promotions, offers, and updates, while 55% actually prefer SMS to other marketing channels for its immediacy and convenience.

By communicating your BFCM sales and special offers via text, you can meet these consumers’ demands head on to successfully win their business and create a channel you can tap later.

Stand out from crowded channels

Millions of emails are sent during BFCM — last year, retailers emailed 12 times as many Black Friday ads as they did in 2020, and 47% of shoppers say their inboxes are already overflowing! With more brands online than ever before, the competition for customer attention will be even more crowded than usual. 

Fortunately, SMS has some of the highest open and engagement rates of any marketing channel, with 97% of texts opened and read in fewer than 15 minutes. Customers are much more likely to see your brand’s message if it’s sent via text, which will increase your chance of conversion in the short-term and ensure they remember you in the long-term.

Leave a lasting impression with personalized promotions

In the heat of BFCM, customers will be blasted with sales and promotions that are sent to everyone, from everywhere. Texting can help you penetrate that noise, putting you in direct conversation with your customer where they are already engaged. Brands can capture a wealth of first-party and zero-party data through these SMS engagements, and can even integrate SMS with other valuable data sources, to make every text feel personal and unique, and therefore more powerful.

Leverage what you know about your customers already, their behaviors and purchase history, to segment and target them with relevant campaigns. Consider how a text that greets the customer by name, shares how many rewards points they have to redeem, or promotes a product that pairs perfectly with another they recently purchased, will connect with that customer compared to a generic promo message this BFCM. Which would catch your eye as a shopper?

Give high-value shoppers the VIP treatment

Loyalty is the engine that drives retention, and SMS is the perfect complement to activate loyalty users even more. According to a Yotpo survey, the majority of consumers (70%) prefer to engage with brand loyalty programs on mobile devices. Not only that, more than 47% of consumers have said that receiving a text about their loyalty points or rewards would encourage them to make a purchase. By rewarding these high-value shoppers with exclusive BFCM offers and updates on their phones, you can bring greater awareness to the exciting benefits of your loyalty program and boost participation during the height of the season.

Then, when the dust has settled, use SMS to drive loyalty members to join your other community advocacy channels, like a Facebook group, follow you on social media, invite them to in-store events, or reward them for referring a friend or taking a survey. By giving them more ways to stay engaged post-BFCM, you can extend their lifetime value and ultimately generate more revenue for your business.

Respond to real-time behavior to prolong engagement

BFCM is a fast and furious shopping period — with all of the limited-time deals and offers, it can be easy for customers to get distracted, making it even more critical to have a tool that can bring their attention back. Automated SMS marketing flows allow you to respond to customer behavior with the right message at exactly the right time.

So when a shopper takes a revenue-lost action, for example, such as abandoning their cart or browsing session, you can re-engage them instantly to complete their purchase. Or when a loyalty member accrues points or reaches a new VIP tier, you can share the exciting news and introduce them to the perks they unlocked with the ease and speed of a text, ensuring that they feel valued while encouraging continued program participation.

Make mobile checkout fast and frictionless

More than any other shopping event, BFCM is often about impulse buying. Consumers are primed to purchase and heightened by a sense of urgency, and now, they’re placing the majority of their orders from their phones. Brands need to capitalize on this moment, but if there’s friction in your buyer’s journey, you could miss out on those valuable sales. 

Innovative features like Click-to-Buy and Text-to-Buy drastically reduce the time and barriers to purchase, guiding customers straight from product discovery to mobile checkout in one step. By making it that easy for customers to find and buy the products they love this BFCM, you can ensure they choose you over the competition and keep coming back for more.

Take care of customers post-purchase to ensure they stick around

If you’re really focused on retaining your BFCM shoppers, you’ll want to keep them engaged even after they buy from you. With transactional, post-purchase SMS flows, you can keep customers informed at every stage of their order in real time, notifying them automatically via text when their order is confirmed, when it’s shipped (and how to track it), when it’s out for delivery, and when it’s been delivered. 

These instant and transparent texts make for a smooth purchase process even amidst the BFCM madness, while building excitement and anticipation for the products to come — and when more than half of consumers would sign up for SMS just to receive these timely notifications on their phones, they are critical to getting holiday shoppers to return.

Capture more user-generated content to influence future purchases

Your business is bound to drive sales this BFCM, and if you get a lot of sales, you’re expertly positioned to earn a lot of reviews. But rather than forcing customers to make extra effort — logging onto their computer or navigating to your website, for example — you’re much better off asking for feedback via text. Review requests sent via SMS see a 66% higher conversion rate than those sent via email, making it the ideal channel for customers to share their opinions and photos of the products they scored. You can even leverage the reviews data you capture, such as sentiment or star rating, in future SMS campaigns to keep subscribers purchasing well into the future — over 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.

Earn trust through exceptional customer service

With the amount of activity and site traffic that BFCM generates, there can be some hiccups along the way. Slow response times, warehouse shipping delays and missing packages, discount or payment failures, and more can all result in customers reaching out to your team for help — and if you’re already texting them to share promotions or confirm order details, you may find those customers replying back to initiate the conversation.

SMS marketing sees response rates as high as 45%, compared to just 6% for email, making it an effective way to communicate with mobile shoppers in real time and address any questions or concerns that arise. With insights pulled from unified shopper profiles, your support representatives can respond to text inquiries directly with thoughtful, informed answers that build trust. And when integrated with your preferred help desk solution, workflows for representatives are streamlined, helping them to provide personalized customer service and offer speedy resolutions without having to navigate multiple platforms.

By allowing customers to interact with you on the channel that they prefer, you can not only turn negative experiences into positive ones this BFCM, but also deepen their relationships with your brand.

Brands retain with SMS marketing, no matter the season

Black Friday Cyber Monday is the moment we’re all planning for, but it’s always worth it to have SMS in your marketing toolkit to engage and retain customers in an increasingly mobile-first world. Chat with an expert today to see where it fits into your retention strategy.

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