Communication that engages audiences

Retailers are considering SMS-marketing

Wireless communication has become a powerful medium to reach out to billions of people in seconds, especially in a time when mobile phones have become an indispensable part of every common man’s life. SMS is one medium which has grown into a mainstream communication tool for consumers as well. SMS marketing has become an increasingly important strategy for retailers to engage the customers in an interactive and relevant manner. SMS forms a fantastic mode of communication which does not involve saying anything (in the literal sense), yet conveys a message in an effective way. Manoj Rathi, Founder and CEO of Krono iinc says, “The customer response has been positive and ‘National Do Not Call Registry’ has made things more convenient both for the user and the recipient. This medium’s growth looks only moving upwards.”

Importance of SMS marketing for retailers
Whether you want to send a broad-reaching message to your entire database or a highly targeted message to a selected few, SMS marketing comes to your aid. For example, 87 per cent of the U S population is a cell phone user, where 95 per cent of cell phones have SMS capabilities, and, on average, text messages are read in every four minutes. In such a mobile-driven world, it absolutely makes sense to invest in this promising mode of communication.

The cost factor remains a crucial point for retailers when it comes to advertisements. Vishal Manchala, Director and CEO,Vast Technologies Pvt. Ltd comments, “If a retailer wants to convey his daily offers, promotional campaigns etc. to the localities where he is located, the only effective way could be SMS service because newspaper or TV ad will cost much more.”

The trend implies that customers are willing to be updated with the current happenings in the market – be it any special offer or a promotion campaign that is going on which implies increasing interactivity between the business and the customers. 

SMS as an evaluation tool
The system is accompanied with ‘Evaluation tool’ where most of the Bulk SMS service providers are providing tools to evaluate the response of SMS. Manchala says, “In our case, people can reply to the SMS sent to them so that they can show their interest in purchasing the product. There is also another way of calculating the ROI with SMS campaign, for example if there is a retails show room running campaign they will send an SMS as follows – ‘Special new year Discount flat 30 per cent on all purchases. Show this SMS to avail offer, offer valid only till 31st January 2010’. For evaluating ROI, a person needs to contact the SMS service provider without involving a third party. Rathi feels on the same lines and comments, “ROI can be easily calculated. For an X amount invested, we can calculate number of call backs received or the traffic generated on the website, etc. This need not necessarily require a third party involvement.” 

A perfect communication tool
SMS marketing is a convenient tool for retailers, as the investment completely depends upon the capacity of the retailer and the target group of audience. The investment can vary from Rs 500 to Rs 5 crores. The best part of the SMS campaign is that the calculation of ROI is very easy as against the other mediums of communication. A new campaign’s budget can be altered according the response and ROI as well, making it feasible for a retailer to rely on this potential option.

Rathi opines, “Investments would totally depend on the volumes a company would purchase from the gateway operators, ranging from anywhere around three paise per sms to upto eight paise. You usually get two kind of gateways in the market-priority and promotional. A retailer can enjoy sending SMS to his core audience, or could be based on gender, city, location, income, etc. This ofcourse becomes a much more controlled marketing initiative.”

Thus, in the highly competitive age, SMS marketing is a critical medium for retailer to encash upon for gaining good returns. 


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