Driving revenue and loyalty through a text messaging program: 5 critical “to dos” for retailers

5 minute read

The competition in retail is fierce, and it’s no longer just about low prices or superior product, it’s about a customer’s experience with a brand. Customer experience, or CX, expands beyond the checkout process or a customer service call. It’s how brands engage with customers across their journey.  

It’s no secret that retailers need a multi-channel approach when engaging with their customers. We’re all familiar with email as a key digital channel, but text messaging is now also critical to how brands engage, communicate with, and reward their customers. Using SMS is multi-faceted, delivers added value, and enhances CX and marketing efforts. That’s why your texting solution should provide more than a transactional update, it should help your brand drive sales, develop loyalty, and impact retention.  

If you haven’t yet added a text messaging program to your retail strategy, or you want to grow your current program to its full potential, here are 5 critical things retailers need to do to ensure a robust and successful mobile program.  

1. List Growth 

Growing your SMS list is essential, after all, compliance regulations mean you can only message subscribers who have opted in. First, utilize keywords for quick and easy opt-in right on your SMS channel. Also tap into your other channels including your website, ads, social media, in-store signage, and special events.   

After you’ve got your opt-ins set up, make sure you’re incentivizing new subscribers with exclusive content or mobile-only offers that provide value for signing up. Incorporate a sense of urgency, make sure your subscriber knows your compelling offer won’t last forever. Also, don’t forget to clearly convey what your subscribers can expect from you going forward, and deliver on that promise to improve retention. 

Bonus tip– incorporate a preference center in your web forms to collect additional information on your subscriber, such as brands or products they love, who they shop for, and where they are located. You can achieve a similar approach through an automated welcome flow- check out our #3 tactic below for more. The more data you can gather on your subscriber, the stronger the next tactic becomes- personalization.   

2. Personalization 

You’ve got a strong list and it’s growing. Now make sure you’re incorporating engagement and marketing best practices into your mobile messaging strategy with personalization.  

Personalization promotes engagement and strengthens the bond between retailers and their customers. Start by segmenting your customer base so you can tailor messages and offers to each unique audience. Tap into customer data for both demographic and behavioral targeting, including using their name, location, previously purchased items, or favorite brands.  


  • Include subscriber names in messages 
  • Use past purchase behavior to personalize messages 
  • Segment your list based on customer data 


  • Send generic messages to your entire list 
  • Assume all customers have the same preferences 
  • Overwhelm your subscribers with too many messages 

It’s difficult to personalize without the right data, so if you don’t have the data you need, just ask! Either ask in your web opt-in forms or within an SMS message. With an advanced mobile messaging solution like Upland Waterfall, the responses you receive can be stored in the subscriber’s profile to be used for future segmentation and personalization. And don’t forget to sync data from other systems, like your CRM or email solutions, which can enrich your SMS subscriber profiles with data you already collected.   

3. Automated Triggers 

Just like personalization, automation is critical to your mobile messaging strategy. Similarly to how you may be using triggered email communications, aspects of your approach can be applied to your mobile messaging strategy. Create automated triggers with targeted, scheduled messages (based on actions taken by users) to move the needle, increase revenue, and grow customer loyalty. Successful triggers include welcome messages to new subscribers, basket and browse abandonment, and post-purchase follow-up like reviews or related product recommendations.  

These automated flows can also be used to collect more data for future personalization. For example, use your welcome flow to ask questions about what content your customers are most interested in receiving or where they are located. Or use a post-purchase follow-up to learn how a customer feels about your brand and what products they like most.  

4. Loyalty Program 

Your loyalty program should be an easy and convenient way for customers to feel rewarded for their repeat business. What is easier and more convenient than a text message? Send rewards and offers directly to their phone and tap into MMS messages to share an attention-grabbing coupon.  

You can also incorporate a mobile wallet pass that functions as their loyalty card, sharing real-time points balances or special event or sale passes. Mobile wallet passes are easy for customers to use, convenient to utilize points and gain new ones, and can even send push notifications to your subscriber’s phone with updates, without requiring an app download.   

5. Re-Engagement 

It’s a fact of marketing that you will experience churn in your subscriber lists, however all is not lost. Build a re-engagement campaign into your mobile messaging strategy to periodically draw customers back in who have gone quiet. A few compelling tactics include alerting customers of expiring rewards or giving them a discount on an expiring subscription—creating a sense of urgency works! 

You can also provide special rewards, like a happy birthday offer or a welcome back offer. The more you can connect these offers to previous purchases or the interests of your given customer, the better.  


SMS marketing is a powerful tool when applied purposefully across your customer’s journey. Follow these strategies and best practices, and make sure you have the right tools that will enable your brand to maximize the power of SMS marketing. Ready to create compelling, personalized messages that resonate with your subscribers, drive engagement, and improve customer experience? Check out Waterfall and talk to one of our mobile strategists today. 

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