Tech Guest Viewpoint: SMS Marketing Tips from Walmart

If you want to improve your SMS marketing, you should take a look at Walmart; they’ve got some dynamite strategies. Walmart’s SMS offerings are broad, yet each either solves a problem or reduces a pain point traditionally associated with in-store shopping.
 
In-Store Product Info via SMS
Walmart has developed an SMS-based system called Simple Text that allows mobile users to send a text to a phone number posted in-store to receive product location and information.
 
Reminiscent of Siri, the system is a virtual personal assistant designed to help shoppers more easily locate items inside the retailer’s large stores. Customers walking into a Walmart will notice signs located throughout the store displaying the Simple Text phone number specific to that store.
 
Shoppers text "hi" to the number and are then greeted by a Walmart associate via SMS directing them to the item of their choice in precise detail. Customers can also download a map of the store. If they need further assistance, a text of the word “chat” connects them to a live customer agent. This innovation serves a wide base of customers, potentially changing the bricks-and-mortar landscape for Walmart.
 
SMS E-receipts
Walmart has implemented e-receipts. At checkout, customers are given the option of receiving a digital receipt instead of an old-fashioned printed one, if they enter their cell phone number into the credit card reader. Those who are already registered will receive their e-receipt. Those not registered will receive an SMS from Walmart with registration instructions.
 
Customers with a Walmart.com account that are linked to their cell phone number will have their transactions recorded and linked to their account, for easy access to a record of past purchases. Customers may use the e-receipts to create a shopping list on their device, making their in-store experience easier and more convenient.
 
Walmart is analyzing the gold mine of big data that e-receipts provide and using it as a marketing tool, tracking what, where, and when its customers buy, and sending personalized email offers to shoppers who want them.
 
App SMS-to-Download
SMS autoresponders are quite useful as a simple way to enable people to download an app. Walmart’s in-store advertising instructs shoppers to text “APP” to an SMS short code. After the consumer texts “APP,” they’re sent a text message with a link to download the Walmart mobile app from the appropriate app store.
 
SMS Drug Prescription Reminders
Walmart’s drug prescription SMS reminders program has sent more than a billion prescription SMS reminders since its inception, where customers opt-in when they turn in their prescription, then receive an SMS reminder when their prescription is ready for pick-up. Most people tend to use this wait time to browse aisles. Walmart SMS reminders include the pharmacy phone number and check-out price.
 
The program has resulted in decreased wait times in pharmacy lines, a lower number of prescriptions returned, less calls to the pharmacy, improved communications and positive customer feedback. Nearly 30 million SMS reminders are sent by Walmart each and every month to customer’s mobile phones.
 
Best of all, the program converts waiters into buyers.



Dan Slavin is CEO and co-founder of CodeBroker.

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