text now is like early email days in 90's

“text, is just like the early days of email in the 90’s,  huge open rates, huge engagement and huge conversions” – Gary Vaynerchuk.

To be upfront, we acknowledge the source of this post was from an article posted by  Bernardo de Albergaria,  Chief Commercial Officer at Airship – in StreetFight Magzine.

 Whilst a lot of what Bernardo’s article talks to is fair and informed, we have attempted to put an Australian slant on it.  Also, it is a good time here to acknowledge that Airship, formerly Urban Airship has been positioned by Gartner for the last 3 years in a row as the US’s  leader in Mobile Marketing in the Magic Quadrant reports –  so these guys know what they are talking about. 

Our comments on the text by Bernardo are in bold and itallics throughout this post. Also please note –  we have removed  some of Bernardo’s text – in an attempt to make the post flow better.   We hope you enjoy – as we believe this post to be very informed and relevent to SMS and MMS application by businesses in 2021.

Covid-19 has dramatically transformed the way the world does business. emerging mobile commerce data shows retail’s future hinges on our phones. While our industry was well aware of this trend before the pandemic, the acceleration stats are striking. Per Insider Intelligence, mobile is accounting for 45% of all e-commerce in 2020 and will total $284 billion, an 80% year-over-year jump. In comparison, 2019 only saw a 31% annual increase, according to Insider.

Clearly, m-commerce is at the center of what Mckinsey & Company calls “The Next Normal,” an era of pandemic-driven, rapid change. With that in mind, here are five mobile predictions for 2021 –

SMS gets smarter

Brands are leaning into SMS because the channel gets nearly a 100% open rate and is proven to drive purchases. For instance, one month into the pandemic, direct-to-consumer beverage brand Dirty Lemon saw SMS sales grow year-over-year by over 20%. And before the pandemic began, the Detroit Pistons used SMS commerce along with their mobile app to sell game tickets — getting fans into the seats they wanted more quickly.

This data is good data, but these two cases have a deeper growth motivator. Both Dirty Lemon and The Pistons were also offering their clients derivations of a  text based purchase offering, becoming known as mcommerce or text commerce, ie: text to buy.   In text commerce,  the consumer can text into a number what they want to buy, they are pre-established in the vendors system – and their text is recognised by their phone number as authentication and the order is placed. Or, as in the case with MopbileDigital’s SECUREMobile Text Commerce offering, a pre-authorised text link is sent to your phone with pictures and details of the product on offer, and the consumer clicks the Click2Buy link and the purchase is made. 

But mobile marketers shouldn’t just broadcast text messages to customers. Personalization and relevancy boost response rates and help avoid opt-outs, which are a simple reply away. Consider Brookshire Grocery Company, which allows customers to opt in to its wine and beer text clubs for targeted messaging and employs experimentation to find out which content creates the greatest engagement. In 2021, look for brands to continue not only leaning into SMS but making their programs smarter with A/B and multivariate testing, as well as one-to-one SMS conversations and SMS payments.

Agree completely, we see consumers registering in 2021 for  SECUREMobile (patent pending)  so as to enable 10 second – fast mobilecheckout for any goods promoted with a Click2Buy.link powered by  SECUREMobile.   Also,  we see the power of 2WAY text in 2021, where consumers can deal with a person, via text to facilitate an order, or query product – this text based personal shopper 

 

Digital-first is all about the smartphone

Even before Covid-19, retailers knew about the growing importance of BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) and BORIS (buy online, return in-store). These options have been expanded to include curbside order pickup, which is now a service that half of 2020 holiday shoppers planned to use.

Brands like Apple, Best Buy, and Home Depot offered curbside pickup and drop-off for the 2020 holiday season. There is a mobile opportunity in this digital-first mandate. Apps streamline customers’ experiences online and in-store, and brands that master the overall mobile experience—including SMS—will win in the future.

The role of SMS and MMS can not be underestimated. Also, the capabilities within the phones operating systems can be utilised to provide functionality that you dont have to write into an APP.   Use of phone wallets, reminders, geo location and active links within the phone operating systems can be integrated into SMS and MMS campaigns –  and circumvent in many cases the need to build, promote and support an APP. 

Mobile wallet progress continues

A bevy of recent statistics has shown that the mobile wallet is continuing to gain traction and suggests it will continue to do so next year. Consider that 57% of shoppers said they would be comfortable using mobile wallets to continue to make contactless payments after the pandemic. And 30% of consumers have made mobile wallet transactions for the first time! Further, mobile wallets improve ROI: The University of Illinois last year found that on average, after adopting mobile wallets, consumers’ average order sizes increased by 2.4% and their transaction frequency jumped by more than 23%.

Consumers will be attracted to mobile wallets features for in-store shopping because they will be concerned about their health and safety and for streamlined online shopping experiences. In recent years, the biggest mobile wallet players such as Apple Wallet, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay have partnered with retail chains for in-store transactions, including thousands of outlets for Walmart, Nike, Costco, Macy’s, Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Trader Joe’s. In 2021, we’ll see more and more of them.

MobileWallet passes can be sent our attached to SMS and MMS messages, an can take the form of tickets, passes, gift cards, coupons or loyalty cards. MobileDigital’s Add2Wallet.link feature anables any SMS or MMS message to include a wallet pass for android, apple or google – passes can be unique, barcoded,  once a consumer downloads a pass (in any form) push messages and pass updates can be sent to that person, as well as calendar preset and geo location pre-set push messaging.  The Wallet is a huge opportunity for client experience and affordable and relevent engagement.

Consumers raise their hand

For years, the trend had been for consumers to shy away from sharing location information with brands, but this is changing and location will become a larger factor in improving consumer experiences in 2021.

Our datashows the pandemic reversed this trend: shelter-in-place consumers wanted to unlock experiences that were suddenly need-to-have instead of nice-to-have conveniences. Not to mention that the largest mobile platforms are making location sharing an easier choice than ever with more granular permissions, which give users more control and peace of mind. Next year, more consumers than ever will raise their hands and welcome highly relevant, location-enabled brand experiences without getting weirded out.

Messaging orchestration takes center stage

Mobile commerce will not be replaced by voice or chatbots any time soon — and certainly not in 2021. During this pandemic, the strongest brands have leaned into contactless commerce, exclusivity, scarcity, and frictionless, white-glove service.

With a combination of those elements, marketers next year will focus on growing direct customer relationships that deliver mutual value and grow lifetime value. They will employ multiple mobile-first channels (like apps, SMS and mobile wallets) to send the best messages and transact at the right moments of the customer lifecycle, which means marketers will have to leverage modern customer engagement platforms’ orchestration capabilities. Granular preference centers will be more important than ever, giving customers control over how often they hear from a brand and through which channels.

In summary in 2021  mobile commerce will be at the top of the list of things brands need to master in the “next normal.” Retail chains and local merchants that step up to meet CX expectations will win the day in 2021.

We agree that voice and chatbots will not replace eCommerce in the near term.  In fact we back – the increased application or personal shop assistants responding by text (SMS) and offering alternate products (using MMS)  in real time to text queries from engaged consumers – to facilitate text commerce alternatives.  We also believe frictionless fast mobile checkouts powered by  text commerce initiatives will re-dress the disparity between mobile handset checkouts and desktop checkouts. 

As online commerce grows,  the next step is this text based small screen response.  A new online purchase model built specifically for the mobile user, built not around email, but around the mobile number, unique phone id and inherent phone security.   TextCommerce solutions offer frictionless capability and spontaneous purchase capability through the handset to unlock a frictionless mobile customer experience.

Above everything else,  whatever solution is introducd by marketers to manage the messaging requirements of 2021 and beyong –  the offering has to be be easy to use, simple to implement and deliver immediate results.   The success of SMS has alays been its simplicity and the development of MMS has now reached a point where the same simplicity in use is available –  with the same delivery capabilities and open rates.  2021 will be the year of messaging as a marketing, sales and customer experience channel 

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