End of the financial year (EOFY) can be a drag for the average Aussie, who finds themselves working extra hours to file their tax return and square accounts.

But for those who work in the retail sector, the end of June can actually be quite exciting. That’s because the average shopper is about to get a little more money in their pockets.

On top of that, Australian retail spending has recently powered ahead with four consecutive months of sales gains between February and May. EOFY sales are only expected to help sustain this shopping spike.

For retailers and e-commerce, EOFY is a time to shake up your inventory: to clear away extra old stock and invest in the new.

In short, it’s a great time to hold a sale.

But as emails get inundated in the weeks ahead of June 30, there’s no better weapon to getting the word out to customers than SMS.

With open rates of 98%, and response rate eight-times-greater than email, you can cut-through the sea of sales promotion to get the word out and build a better customer experience.

Here are our top five tips for deploying marketing and promotional text messages at EOFY.

  1. Treat your favourite shoppers with early sales and special deals

Everyone loves a bargain. But if you’re planning to hold a major EOFY sale, leave something special for customers who have been extra loyal to your brand.

Much like birthdays and Christmas, the end of the financial year is a great time to nurture long-standing relationships by promoting special deals for your most loyal customers.

If you have a loyal subscriber list, make them feel special by providing early access to sales – or perhaps even extend how long they can bag a bargain for. It can be as simple as texting them a discount code to use when they make a purchase ahead or after of your official sales period.

And if you can get the word out about these extra-special sales, you’ll likely find new customers to sign up to your SMS sales alert too.

2. Seek to draw people in-store

As uncovered in our recent report, The New Shopping Normal, many customers (almost half of them) prefer to exclusively shop online these days. However, a little extra in-store discount can be an excellent way to get them back to bricks-and-mortar. Shoutout in-store exclusive deals across social media, websites and via SMS, so people know the value of taking a trip to the shops. Once they arrive, some impressive customer service may see them leaving with more than they came for.

3. Get creative and meet new customers

June is a good time to send customers a quick text to let customers know what special sales or deals you’re doing across the month, to get them heading to your website.

But for newer customers, it’s unlikely you’ll have their numbers. To get them opting-in, use a campaign or competition on social media to get them to exchange their details for an extra discount or prize.

To really grab their attention, an unexpected flash sale in June can also encourage impulse purchases or upsells.

4. Retrieve abandoned carts, stat

Abandoned carts are a persistent problem, and part of the solution is time-sensitive text message reminders. Our research shows that for every 100 text messages sent, about 16 recently abandoned carts can be recovered. To increase your chances of recouping lost orders, remind customers via text that EOFY deals don’t last forever. You could even try texting a limited time discount code to draw customers back.

5. If all else fails, there’s always free delivery

With postal delivery becoming faster, one of the best ways to encourage online sales during EOFY is to offer free express delivery. Alert customers the option of free express shipping using SMS. To keep costs low, use messages to encourage bulk buys, or limit the offer to a certain price bracket and above.

Through a combination of these simple measures, brands and retailers can effectively promote their products and services, and grow their sales this EOFY.

Tara Salmon is chief marketing officer at MessageMedia.