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Best Buy energizes SMS with push alert for Black Friday success

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November 14, 2013

Best Buy's holiday SMS campaign

Best Buy continues to view SMS as a workhorse in mobile with a new messaging program that keeps shoppers aware of holiday deals all season long. The retailer is also staying on top of messaging’s evolution via a push notification to alert customers to the program.

The big box retailer is encouraging consumers to opt-in to its year-long SMS database with a holiday-specific keyword that will likely prompt consumers to join Best Buy’s mobile database once the holidays are over to keep opted in to future marketing opportunities. Best Buy is sending out a daily SMS message linked to an offer through Dec. 31.

“Mobile messaging programs like SMS are the preferred channel for reaching customers anytime and anywhere,” said Cezar Kolodziej, CEO/president of Iris Mobile, Chicago. “Redemption rates and open rates for mobile messaging are much higher than other channels.

“This makes mobile messaging a no-brainer for marketers seeking to talk to customers at any time of year, but especially during the holiday season when shoppers are bombarded with incentives from retailers at every turn,” he said.

Mr. Kolodziej is not affiliated with Best Buy. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Best Buy did not respond to press inquiries.

Opt-in for deals
To sign up for the daily SMS messages, consumers can text the keyword HOLIDAY to 332211.

Consumers are then sent back a reply message asking for a double opt-in.

The daily SMS message yesterday promoted a sale on laptops, televisions, mobile phones and camera gear. The sale is geared towards early holiday shoppers and ends on Saturday.


Best Buy’s SMS messages

However, the link from the SMS message directed consumers to Best Buy’s Web site, forcing consumers to pinch and zoom to read content. Instead, the big box retailer should have considered prompting consumers to Best Buy’s mobile site for an easier shopping experience.

Consumers can also get a sneak peak at Best Buy’s Black Friday door busters by previewing the offers.

Best Buy even has a video on its Web site that helps shoppers plan out which products will be the biggest bargains this year.

Given that Best Buy’s tagline for this holiday season is “Your ultimate holiday showroom,” it is no surprise that the retailer is pushing mobile as a way for shoppers to get a head start on holiday shopping.

Marketers have been experimenting with in-application mobile messaging more this year than in the past, but Best Buy is smart to stick with SMS for this campaign since the retailer is blasting out daily offers that are intended to reach the widest group of consumers possible.

Best Buy also sent out a push notification to alert consumers about the new SMS campaign, pointing to the ways that marketers are tying together all of their messaging efforts for a stronger marketing punch.

“Without a doubt, to maximize the effectiveness of mobile messaging programs it is imperative to leverage other channels in conjunction,” Mr. Kolodziej said.

“Mobile messaging strategies should always incorporate apps and push notifications, but also mobile Web and social sharing when possible because these activities further engage the customer and provide useful information along the path to purchase,” he said. “This way, retailers like Best Buy can maximize the impressions of their message while strengthening the perception of the brand.”

Best Buy is also promoting the holiday SMS initiative in email newsletters and is running ads within the Pandora iPhone app to promote the time-sensitive sale.


The mobile call-to-action in an email

Betting on mobile
Best Buy has invested quite a bit in mobile over the years, in part to keep up with the slumping sales of consumer electronics in bricks-and-mortar stores.

However, the company is expected to announce its third-quarter results next week, and analysts from UBS and Jefferies expect earnings to be up this quarter due in part to the retailer partnering with Microsoft and Samsung on in-store promotions and rolling out kiosks that sell products from Google and Amazon.

Most recently, Best Buy revamped its loyalty program to give its mobile app a more prominent role (see story).

The retailer also rolled out mobile check-ins to its iPhone app this summer to offer consumers rewards for shopping in-store (see story).

Although SMS is not the newest mobile channel available to marketers, Best Buy’s campaign still hits the widest group of consumers and can be used effectively to market to consumers after the holidays end.

“As we know, the holidays represent the height of consumerism each year, so we will certainly see a significant increase in mobile messaging activity over the next two months,” Mr. Kolodziej said.

“With such high redemption rates and the ability to share information like coupons and promotions via mobile, I anticipate that the impact will be enormous,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York 

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