Getting personal with consumers
"One of the most important consumer trends in retail currently is the demand for greater personalisation. Consumers want to know that retailers understand them and communicate with them in a way that shows that understanding of the consumers' wants and needs."
A popular method of communication among retailers, and many businesses, is SMS. The concern, however, is that SMS campaigns are not always personalised enough and can miss the mark with consumers. South African company Mobiz is seeking to change that. Their SmartSMS system combines the ubiquity of SMS with the visual power of the web to allow retailers to talk to their customers in a more direct and personal manner. On top of that, the links in the SMS campaigns are zero-rated, meaning consumers will not have to use data to access and view the web page.
"We have worked with all South African network providers to ensure that consumers do not consume airtime engaging with our SmartSMS links," explains Mobiz Founder Greg Chen.
Essentially, retailers can use the SmartSMS system to create unique SMS campaigns where each SMS has a personalised hyperlink for the consumer to follow. These webpages can also be personalised to suit the consumer. For example, instead of sending a consumer an SMS about a generic winter foods sale, the link can lead to a page about vegetarian winter ideas and products for a consumer that does not buy meat. SmartSMS is easy to integrate into a business and can be used in conjunction with a loyalty programme. The insights that are gained from the loyalty programme can be transferred to the SMS campaign, so retailers can make the SMS as personalised as they would like, from age and language to region and gender explains Chen.
SmartSMS campaigns are created using the Mobiz online platform. Each company is given their own credentials for access, and can use the portal to create, deploy and analyse their SmartSMS campaigns and can create as many campaigns as they like. The system can also be integrated with other communication systems and the information on the Mobiz portal can be easily imported and exported.
The Mobiz SmartSMS system is easy to use, and messages sent out by the system cost between 18 and 29c.
“This means that retailers have a cost-effective way of getting a personalised message to their consumers, and with the increasing access to mobile internet and smartphones, retailers can reach almost all of their customers," illustrates Chen.
Mobiz does offer a full campaign management service for their clients who do not want to create their own campaigns, however companies are encouraged to "create and implement their own amazing SmartSMS campaigns," enthuses Chen. Further, Mobiz offers technical support and training.
"Any new features that we implement or any changes that are made we offer training straight away, these new features or changes often come about from client feedback. It is very important to us to get feedback from our clients. Suggestions and criticisms are welcome because it pushes us to keep perfecting our product and making it more efficient and feature rich" says Chen.