Blog Post

5 Ways Texting is Rebuilding the Retail Industry

During the pandemic many industries were forced to rethink their business model and customer experience. The retail industry saw a decrease with the restrictions placed on in-person shopping. As the need for innovative thinking increased, so did the need for a quality digital experience.

As an article in the Harvard Business Review stated, “Most retailers with roots in brick-and-mortar simply try to replicate their in-store experience online, but such efforts are fruitless and misguided.”

Experiences need to be personalized and convenient especially during a crisis.  At TextUs, we even redesigned our mobile app to better fit the needs of our customers.  How our customers use texting on the web app versus the mobile app are different and require a unique personalization to meet expectations.

The retail experience is similar in that how customers shop online and in stores is different and they expect a custom approach.

Transition to Digital

Retailers were embracing digital trends before COVID-19 but the pandemic accelerated the need.  Contactless shopping made consumers feel more safe. E-commerce boomed to fill demand when restrictions on physical locations were placed.  As those restrictions are lifted and consumers find balance online and in stores, retailers must embrace the digital transition that customers have been craving and dependent on during the pandemic.

One digital asset that has potential to rebuild the retail industry is text messaging.  It’s a tool that many people already use and prefer as their main communications method.  For retailers, texting can help provide a quality experience for both your consumers and your employees.

Here are ways text messaging can benefit retailers and rebuild from the pandemic.

    1. Hiring new employees

Retailers always have a busy season, often around the holidays where you need to quickly hire additional staff.  One TextUs e-commerce customer decided to use TextUs so that they will be able to hire more quickly and seamlessly during these busy seasons.  Anytime there is a spike in demand for hiring, texting can help schedule and interview potential employees.  The same is true for retail spikes following COVID-19 regulations slowly being lifted.  As more stores open with greater capacity, or longer hours, or more locations, you will need to hire efficiently to meet that demand.  Texting is a good solution.

    1. Training and HR for employees

Retail employees may have fallen into one of two categories during the pandemic: working remotely or frantically keeping things sanitized and organized in stores and not sitting in an office.  Communicate effectively with your team by sending them a text message and meet them where they’re at.  Transitioning from in-office to remote work may have been a challenge for people used to walking down the hall to see a sign.  Send too many emails and they may get lost and go unread.  Easily send company messages, updates, and training with a text to improve employee engagement and office culture. Building staff morale during a crisis is important and a good first impression for new employees.

    1. Communicating to customers

The pandemic taught us that things can change immediately and the ability to communicate clearly and in real-time matters.  Need to change hours, store policies, or capacity? Texting gets your message in front of customers quickly even on lock screens.  With higher open and read rates than email, texts assure that your message will get seen and customers will know how best to shop with you.

    1. Marketing to customers

Sales varied in retail by location and product need during the pandemic. Stores that were able to provide a contactless method of shopping and embraced the digital transformation weathered the pandemic better.  Offering sales and promotions to customers via text increases the chance of engagement compared to email and that will increase the chance of closing a sale. In addition to sales and promotions, you can form campaigns to build engagement with customers by marketing seasonal campaigns or general information on product lines.

    1. Customer service

If you work in retail,  you know customer service is important.  Texting has been proven to increase engagement and build better relationships with customers.  You can easily send a survey via a text campaign or solicit feedback for products and experiences in a quick and easy-to-respond fashion.

“The good news is that many Americans found retail to be the most innovative industry when it comes to customer service during the pandemic”


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