Impulse Buying Via SMS
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From Groupon to Amazon Local, websites offering discount purchases to specific customers have recently grown from strength to strength. With a mix of services as wide ranging as photograph printing through to teeth whitening, you might be forgiven for thinking that their approach is rather hit and miss.
However, with location acting as a key filter along with the ability to select preferences, nothing could be further from the truth.
What these companies are banking on, having learned the lessons of the supermarkets before them is the power of the impulse buy.
How many of us visit supermarkets every day with a list of things that we need? Virtually all but the most focussed of shoppers will leave with more than what was on that list. Supermarkets know that tempting offers are very hard for us to refuse and are therefore very clever at getting us to be lost in the moment and open to buying on impulse.
One of the ways they do this is to offer us time or price sensitive deals (once it’s gone, it’s gone), attractively presented to shock us out of autopilot, or make us forget the list we have been repeating like a mantra on our way around the store. With their captive audience of consumers actually in store, their equation might read something like this; location + attractive, time sensitive or limited offer = potential for bonus purchase.
Usually there are enough offers in store so that most people’s taste will be catered for, so even if you manage to refuse the first few, eventually it is fairly likely that you will succumb. Groupon, Living Social and the like all work in a similar way. By breaking the monotony of our e-mail in tray with the prospect of a bargain (and who doesn’t love a bargain), we are offered a range of services and products that are location based and restricted either in terms of time or volume, coupled with hugely tempting discounts of up to 50% or more.
Therein lies a hidden psychological component; if we don’t grab the bargain someone else will and that person will gain an advantage over us. This is one of the key reasons why sites like Ebay are also so successful. They turn shopping into a game, pitting individuals against each other in order to secure some kind of gain, or in this instance, product or service.
Mix all this up into a message that brings temptation right to your door and you have yourself a very heady marketing mix.
But how to make it even more compelling? SMS.
Whilst inbox deals, even those with catchy subject lines may be quickly scanned and deleted before being opened, this is far less the case with SMS marketing. The vast majority of people read SMS messages before deleting and that presents a significant split second advantage over e-mail.
Savvy marketing companies know that by bringing deals directly to the consumer, particularly those that are aligned to suit preferences gathered and triangulated from various sources of data, or are on the customer’s doorstep, they are all but guaranteed a higher hit rate.
Make offers limited, location specific or otherwise within easy reach and you have all of the vital ingredients of a successful impulse purchase. Team this with an easy payment gateway and make your marketing campaign even more lucrative.
Psychologically, the ping of a text brings with it a feel good factor that e-mail doesn’t quite have. Phones are ‘friendzone’ whilst for many e-mail has closer associations to the workplace. So with SMS the equation reads a little more like; high read rate + personalised limited deal + easy payment gateway = deal.
We are presented with deals that we find hard to resist in a way that we find hard to ignore and easy to action. Out of the window goes our willpower and the resulting emotional ‘hit’ brings with it a satisfying feedback loop even whilst we are relieved of our hard earned cash. Companies that fail to capitalise on this will be left behind as the traditional on-line ‘high street’ gives way to a whole new level of mobile marketing. Buyer beware!
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