Melbourne’s ongoing lockdown has caused a rapid uplift of online shoppers – and ultimately package deliveries. After the city experienced a five-day pause in parcel pick-ups from retailers due to an overwhelming volume of packages piled up at Australia Post distribution centres, it’s clearly more important than ever that retailers communicate with customers about potential delays.

While Melburnian’s will be unshackled from lockdown soon, another major boom in online shopping expected over the next few months with upcoming Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day sales. In fact, Australia Post recently reported that online shopping has been growing by 14.5% week-on-week in the state since August.

Now is the time for retailers to get set up with SMS to quickly engage customers, drive up sales, and ensure timely delivery communications. With 90 percent of text messages are read in 90 seconds, it’s a sure-fire way to ensure customers are in the loop.  

MessageMedia has five ways for businesses to optimise their SMS campaigns while preparing for the shopping season ahead:

  • Start an SMS campaign early – stand out from the competition and similar promotions by messaging well ahead of (and again on) sales days.
  • Create a smooth user experience – make it easy for customers to order or get more information by linking your SMS communications to your website.
  • Recapture those abandoned carts – recover up to 26% of abandoned shopping carts via SMS reminders which have a remarkable 98% open rate.
  • Build loyalty with current customers – use frequent and engaging communications and offer VIP promotions to do this.
  • Personalise SMS communications – know your what customer wants and expects, so you can better target them with the right SMS messages.

With the sales period coming up, there will naturally be an increase in SMS messages sent by businesses and brands. But a recent increase in smishing – or phishing via SMS – means shoppers should be on the lookout for unfamiliar brands and incoherent texts.

Businesses can support their loyal customers by passing on the following tips to avoid scams:

  1. Verify the sender & avoid sharing sensitive information  

Remember that most reputable businesses, health organisations or government agencies will NOT ask for any sensitive information or money, including donations, through a simple SMS. If they are, the SMS may be fraudulent. 

2. Scrutinise the URL 

If a URL looks like it is coming from a reputable organisation, search for the company in your web browser to check the actual website link against the one offered to you. In addition, you can also contact the organisation to confirm they sent the message and that it’s their dedicated SMS number. 

3. Be careful clicking  

Most SMS phishing scams will be unsolicited and may include a link encouraging you to click through. The aim is to get you to install malware or to share your personal information, such as account details. Just remember, no matter how good (or bad) it sounds, be wary.  

Tara Salmon is chief marketing officer at MessageMedia.