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Macy’s boosts annual shopping/charity event with text-to-give strategy

August 20, 2013

Macy’s is extending its annual Shop for a Cause event into mobile by letting customers text to donate and simultaneously receive a coupon that is good for 25 percent off purchases.

This is eighth annual Shop for a Cause event, during which Macy’s offers customers a one-day 25 percent discount with a $5 donation to March of Dimes or other participating local charities. To extend the effort into mobile, Macy’s is partnering with March of Dimes mobile-giving partners Mobile Commons and the BBB Mobile Giving Foundation.

“As we continue to focus on helping our customers participate in our charity events in a way that is convenient and natural for her, offering the Shop for a Cause pass via mobile is a perfect complement to how we aim to engage and serve our customers across all channels,” said Holly Thomas, vice president of national media relations and cause marketing at Macy’s, New York.

“Offering Macy’s Shop for a Cause pass via mobile is a new element for us this year, and we are eager to learn if this is an appealing option for our customer,” she said. “We have included the message in our public marketing, including television, newspaper, and in-store , and we hope this approach encourages our customers to participate in this charity event in a new way.”

Mobile savings
Macy’s is a leader in leveraging mobile across many different aspects of business strategy. It makes sense for the merchant to bring its mobile efforts into its cause marketing strategy as a growing number of its customers have mobile phones and are using them for a wide array of activities, including making purchases and donating to charities.

Customers who choose the mobile option will be able to text the keyword “SHOP” to the short code 20222 to donate $5 to the March of Dimes.

Users will receive a text message back asking them to confirm their $5 donation, which will be added to their phone bill.

Once users reply “yes” to confirm their donation, they will receive a text with a link to the URL where they can access their pass, good for 25 percent off of purchases on regular, sale and clearance merchandise on Aug. 24.

The pass is also good for 10 percent off electronics, watches, furniture, mattresses and area rugs in the store on that day.

The Macy’s Shop for a Cause site for charities

Passes can be redeemed at the register in Macy’s stores.

Anyone who purchases a shopping pass is also eligible to win a $500 gift card.

A multi-channel program
SMS is just one way Macy’s is promoting the shopping passes.

Customers can purchase passes on Aug. 24 on

Between Aug. 14 and Aug. 24, customers can also purchase a shopping pass in person in their local Macy’s store.

March of Dimes is the national beneficiary of all proceeds of sales of Shop for a Cause savings passes in Macy’s stores and online at

More than 6,000 local charities are also selling savings passes across the country.

Macy’s Shop for a Cause event has helped raise more than $45 million for charities since 2006.

“Mobile giving is a way to reach people no matter where they are,” said Sam McKelvie, head of mobile strategy at Mobile Commons, Brooklyn, NY. “Everyone has their phone with them all the time.

“Text messaging is on every phone so every person has access, you don’t have to download an app, you don’t have to go to the mobile Web,” she said. “So whether you are in the store, whether you are seeing an ad on TV, whether you are seeing a promotion anywhere, retailers know that you will always have your phone with you, and SMS is always a way that you can donate at any time.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily. New York

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