Mobile Messaging is the Holiday Shopper Assistant Consumers Are Looking For

Learn more about how you can be the retailer that shows your customers you truly care this holiday season.

Mara Miller
Director of Marketing
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

The shopping stakes are higher during this holiday season, as multiple years of inflationary pressures, labor shortages, and other challenges may be taking a toll. But with the right tools and marketing strategy, you can be the retailer that shows your customers the love this holiday season by helping them stay on top of their shopping. And you can do it while increasing your revenue and boosting long-term consumer loyalty.

Shoppers are Experiencing More Out of Stock Products

According to research from Retail Insight, shoppers are reporting increased levels of out-of-stock products in the past 12 months - up 6% from last year for store inventory, and up 9% for online shoppers. 

This can make shoppers so frustrated that 1 in 4 say they would abandon their shopping missions without buying other items in their carts if they can’t fulfill everything on their wishlist. The same research shows that the resulting lost sales can be as much as 8% of revenue.

Tack on the holiday season, which only amplifies consumer demands, and you’ve got incredibly high stakes for keeping your shoppers happy and locking in that brand loyalty. 

So how can you be there for shoppers who want exclusive insight into product availability so they can have first dibs when products are back in stock? Turn to mobile messaging - just like one of Vibes’ marquee retail customers has been doing for years - to get the job done.

How a Luxury Retail Brand’s Use of Mobile Can Be a Gift for Marketers This Holiday Season

A well-known luxury fashion retailer takes advantage of what mobile offers to go beyond basic marketing messages, offering consumers exclusive, one-to-one luxury shopping experiences.

Abiding by a “less-is-more” philosophy, the retailer applies personalization and segmentation to send targeted messages to shoppers once or twice per week, providing them with valuable updates, recommendations, and offers based on their preferences, behaviors, and demographics.

But one activation in particular that continues to drive much of their overall success with mobile: an SMS waitlist program where shoppers can sign up to receive text message notifications about any product that they found online that was not in stock. Once the product is back in stock and available to order, those shoppers immediately receive a text message with a link that allows them to make the purchase right away so that they don’t miss out. 

Once a shopper is signed up for SMS notifications, they're automatically alerted about back-in-stock items along with other inventory-related reminders and promotions

Is it worth the investment if I already do this with email?

Yes! Average open rates for “back-in-stock” emails do see the highest open rates of any email type at 65%, but this retailer sees an average SMS click-thru rate of 84%.

While the waitlist feature is a year-round perk offered by the retailer, it makes shopping much less stressful for consumers during the holiday season.

Another Gift for You: 5 Additional Ways to Enhance your Holiday Mobile Messaging

If you can’t activate your own SMS waitlist program in time for this holiday season, here are 5 other ways you can set yourself apart and stand out.

1. Be creative with your messages.

Be sure that you’re sending messages that are different from that of your competitors, whether it’s what you focus on promoting or how you bring it to life.

MMS is one exciting and customer-friendly way to stand out. When considering if you send an MMS vs. an SMS, here are a few ideas based on the top-performing holiday MMS messages from Vibes customers last year:

  • Showcasing a preview of upcoming sales to help subscribers start preparing for the abundance of deals becoming available on Black Friday (and sending the message the weekend before or any day up to the Wednesday before Black Friday)
  • Visually highlighting an added benefit that catches shoppers’ eyes, like Free Shipping on qualifying or all orders
  • Calling attention to top-selling items that gives your mobile audience a leg up on buying the more popular items before they sell out
MMS featuring top-selling items helps to more seamlessly grab the SMS subscriber's attention

2. Create engaging content like holiday gift guides.

Give online shoppers a taste of in-store product discovery by creating a holiday gift guide, making it easier for shoppers to find and purchase great gift ideas directly on their phones. Like any landing page on a website, these gift guides can be delivered anywhere a URL can be placed.

With the resurgence of QR codes, we recommend using them along with SMS to link directly to a gift guide

3. Be intentional with what time you send your messages.

It can be as simple as not picking a round number (e.g. 12:14p vs. Noon) that can catch more eyes that otherwise may have missed your message among 4 they also received on the hour. Ask your mobile marketing partner to share best practices or data that reveals the best send times for your holiday messages.

4. Keep in mind how often you send your messages.

Some of Vibes’ most successful customers during the holiday season increase the number of messages they send – with some sending multiple messages in a single day. This is because these retailers have learned when their audience is in the mindset to shop, and target them appropriately in these moments.

If it makes sense with your audience to send multiple messages on a certain day, this is the time of year to do it.

5. Track campaign performance.

Keep track of both engagement and conversion to gauge the impact of your mobile holiday marketing efforts. Consider A/B testing to refine your messaging as campaigns move forward (or to apply lessons learned to next holiday season).

Choose the Right Mobile Partner for Optimal Shopper Engagement

To give shoppers what they need most during the holiday season, partnering with the right mobile platform is key. Our retail customers see continual success with their holiday campaigns every year because we offer them an intelligent mobile engagement solution that:

  • Guarantees high message speed and deliverability between wireless carriers to users’ mobile devices as a Tier 1 aggregator - The Vibes platform can deliver 99.7% of all messages within 10 seconds.
  • Offers a variety of mobile communication channels, including SMS, MMS, Mobile Wallet and in-app push notifications.
  • Provides unparalleled strategic, personalized support that helps them achieve success, which is why our customers see 25% lower SMS subscriber churn than those using competitive solutions. 

Learn more about how Vibes can support your mobile strategy for the holiday season and beyond.

The Bottom Line

SMS text messages never have to vie for attention in crowded and cluttered email inboxes. And they aren’t ignored or turned off during the holiday season like push notifications can be. 

The SMS Waitlist Program is just one example of how this mobile channel fulfills the need for immediacy and urgency, empowering shoppers with the information they need to make decisions quickly about what they want to purchase - both in-store and online. 

The retailers that succeed this year will be the ones that take time to understand consumer behaviors, respond with urgency, make it simple to buy, and communicate with a sense of exclusivity. Otherwise, your marketing efforts risk getting  lost in the noise and excitement of the holiday season—and you’ll feel it in your bottom line.

Get in touch with us today to talk about how we can help you use the power of the mobile channel to have a substantial competitive advantage and drive significant impact for your business.

Mara Miller
Director of Marketing
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