The Australian retail sector isn’t celebrating as they would have normally been after the December and January sales period, as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported a 0.4% fall on Australian retail turnover in December 2018. Foot traffic in retail stores also fell 12.2% in December, resulting in the worst December on record, and was continuing to fall throughout January (source). With brands such as Kmart, Kathmandu and PAS Group all issuing profit warnings and downgraded forecasts, and makeup brand Napoleon Perdis entering into administration, retailers aren’t really having a good start to the year. But it’s not all bad news. Online sales reached the highest ever recorded in November, contributing to 6.6% of total retail revenue. Though its contribution fell by 1% in December, it’s still an improvement year on year (source). The Digital 2019 report also revealed that Australians spent significantly more online in 2018 at 25.9 billion, a 22% increase from the year before; with fashion and beauty products snatching 35% of the total online spend. This actually presents great opportunities for retailers to work on their online strategy in order to capture the increasing online spend.
Capturing online customers via Mobile
With 74% of active internet users in Australia accessing the internet via their mobile devices and 1 in 5 online purchases now made from a mobile device, mobile is the one channel you do not want to miss. Interesting enough, our preference for mobile doesn’t necessarily translate to Apps. In fact, a recent survey revealed that consumers across all generations – with Baby Boomers leading at 89%, Gen X at 87%, Millennials at 80% and the digital natives Gen Z at 75% – all showed a clear preference to purchase over a company’s website over a mobile app (source). And if you’ve heard about RCS and how it could transform business communication with functions like showcasing a carousel of new products, integrating chatbots or AI technology and taking payment all within the default messaging app in the smartphone, one would wonder if it’s still necessary for brands to build their own app.
Prepare for RCS with SMS Landing Pages
While we await for RCS to launch in Australia, brands should start investing their time and energy in testing and experimenting with different rich media content and campaign ideas to transition their customers into this new form of communication. It is also important for brands to gather quantitative data about what content works with what segment of customers, so when RCS is available they could adopt it with confidence, knowing what results to expect and prepared to make swift changes. SMS Landing Pages are the perfect tool for this purpose. They were designed originally as the fall back message if recipients’ devices are not RCS-compliant, but many retailers are utilising the additional images, personalised content and call-to-action buttons to add value to their SMS campaigns right now. Not only do they achieve better results and ROI from these campaigns, but they are also collecting valuable data about their customers, things like:
- What kind of rich media content receives better responses?
- What types of offer work best?
- What call-to-action button drives more clicks?
This is essential information to drive the success of their future RCS campaigns. And by having this data now, they would be able to take up RCS right away and outpace their competitors. RCS has endless possibilities to transform and improve customer engagement. It has been partially rolled out in the US and Europe; our head office in the UK has also officially launched our rich messaging proposition. So we’ll be able to share more real-life examples of how different businesses across different industries utilise this technology to engage their customers in the coming months. For the meantime, we are exhibiting at New Retail ‘19 on 25th – 27th February in MCEC Melbourne, where we will facilitate an interactive discussion on RCS and how it is going to impact brands’ mobile strategy, as well as presenting our full product suite including SMS Landing Pages and RCS at stand 21. If you are going to be at the show, do come by and find out more about these exciting new products and development in the world of mobile messaging. Otherwise, please get in touch if you’d like to get started on these new messaging products.