Enticing shoppers to make their first purchase is only half the battle when it comes to driving retention.
If your brand is experiencing an influx of new shoppers, whether it’s from the vacations, a new sale, a collaboration or partnership, or just an unexpected increase in demand (nice!), it’s essential to make sure your brand has strategies in place to engage those new shoppers and keep them loyal.
Alternatively, if your brand is experiencing a drop in purchases after a seasonal or timely event, the recommendation still applies: re-engaging both past customers and new first-time buyers will allow your brand to expand the conversation and meet its retention goals.
So whether you’re turning off-season into peak season, or capitalizing on an exciting time of high demand, we’ve compiled several strategies that leverage the ultimate duo to drive retention: SMS marketing and loyalty programs. – to encourage shoppers to come back and buy again and again.
Register! Confirms purchase satisfaction, solicits feedback and encourages referrals
Re-engagement strategies begin with that first crucial follow-up communication. Remind buyers of their previous purchase and solicit feedback in the form of reviews and/or star ratings. If shoppers opted to receive SMS messages from your brand, send the follow-up message by text message! Our data shows that brands collect user-generated content, including reviews and star ratings, with a 66% higher conversion rate when requests are sent via SMS rather than email.
If a buyer has already left a positive review of your purchase, send them a text message with a link to refer a friend. Try incentivizing with a personal discount code or even a free sample to spark interest in a new product and promote cross-selling.
Remind shoppers of available loyalty rewards
One of the most inspiring text messages a shopper can receive after making a purchase is a reminder of an available discount, special offer or reward balance they have accumulated and not yet used. More than 47% of consumers have said that receiving a text message about their loyalty points or rewards would encourage them to make a purchase.
Point reminders such as these can be an ideal recovery strategy. And, by leveraging personalized outreach on a customer’s preferred communication channel, such as text, brands can increase the likelihood that shoppers will convert and come back to buy again.
Save sales by converting returns into exchanges
While returns will always be part of the business cycle, they do not have to signal the end of a relationship with a buyer. Rather, if a customer returns with the intention of making a return, your brand can implement strategies to convert those returns into exchanges.
Every touch point with your buyers, even a return, is an opportunity to build trust and strengthen your relationship. If you understand why a buyer needs to make a return (i.e., wrong size or color), be sure to personalize the message to show that they understand and provide exactly the additional information they need to make a new, informed buying decision. So, if they come back due to an incorrect color, be sure to add personalized messages with all the additional colors you offer them to choose from.
Also, try to introduce buyers to new products you have recently launched or products similar to their previous purchases.
Generates excitement around new sales and product launches
Sending new sales and exclusive offers, especially to loyalty program members, are key ways to drive ongoing engagement during both intermittent and closed buying cycles.
Engage your most loyal shoppers as members of your loyalty program with a new product launch or brand partnership, and send them a text message with an exclusive offer or an urgent discount code to incentivize immediate action. More than 40% of shoppers said a text message with a countdown to the expiration of a sale or offer would encourage them to complete a purchase.
Send updates when it is time to reorder
If your brand sells a product that must be fulfilled on a schedule, be sure to send a text message to shoppers when it’s time to buy again.
Subscriptions are yet another extension of rewards programs, says Mary Pilecki, vice president and chief analyst at Forrester. “Subscriptions combine several loyalty tactics, including recurring revenue and brand engagement.” Sending text messages to shoppers with personalized reminders and updates about their subscriptions helps them feel like they are members of a brand, rather than simply subscribers to a product. SMS messages awaken that personal touch and help generate emotional loyalty that drives retention.
If a shopper purchased a subscription service, leverage your loyalty program to engage them in additional channels. Try sending SMS campaigns that trigger new products they might soon add to their box, or reward them for posting photos of their boxes on social media.
SMS and loyalty drive retention faster
With SMS marketing working in conjunction with your loyalty program, your brand can generate real business value from the emotional loyalty it generates. By incentivizing shoppers to engage in the most personal channels, your brand can reduce churn, increase product adoption, deliver better experiences and ultimately drive retention.