How to Track—and Improve—Customer Engagement Activities in Retail

Team tracking SMS customer engagement activities in retail

SMS customer engagement activities in retail are critical—especially now that more shoppers are doing their research (and buying) online. It’s up to your team to reach out, make personal connections, and encourage consumers to purchase your products or services.

To create a successful SMS customer engagement strategy, your team needs to measure your current performance. But since SMS is a relatively new channel, your team may not know how to track customer engagement initiatives. 

Read on to learn how to track—and improve—SMS customer engagement activities in retail. 

Why Track SMS Customer Engagement Activities in Retail?

Tracking your retail customer engagement performance with quantifiable metrics is a critical part of your SMS strategy. Tracking specific activities can help you determine which texts are working, which texts aren’t working, and why. Once you determine which strategies need improvement, you can create a new goal or plan. You’ll have a benchmark to help you determine whether your SMS customer engagement strategy has improved in the future. 

Which SMS Customer Engagement Metrics Should You Track? 

There are a few retail customer engagement metrics you should track for each campaign. Ensure your SMS platform offers automatic reporting capabilities, so your team doesn’t need to manually track each metric. Your platform should allow you to review metrics for specific campaigns, too, so it’s easier to identify a specific campaign’s performance. 

For customer engagement campaigns, be sure to track:

  • Total inbound messages. This metric shows how many customers reply to your texts. You can divide the number of inbound messages by the number of texts sent to find a campaign’s response rate. A high response rate means your SMS customer engagement campaign was a success.
  • Unsubscription rate. This metric shows how many customers unsubscribe after receiving your texts. You want to have as low of an unsubscription rate as possible. A low unsubscription rate means that customers found your texts valuable or entertaining. 
  • Resolution time. This metric reveals how quickly your team members resolve incoming chats on average. A short resolution time is ideal; that means that your team answers and solves customers’ queries quickly! 

These three metrics will help your team determine the performance of your SMS customer engagement activities. The first time you track these numbers, consider comparing them to similar email campaigns, so your team has a solid benchmark. You can also wait and track a second retail customer engagement campaign, then compare results between the two. 

How Can You Improve SMS Customer Engagement Metrics?

Each customer engagement metric has a different path to improvement. We recommend the below strategies for improving SMS customer engagement activities in retail. 

Improving Response Rate

You can calculate your response rate by dividing the number of inbound messages by the total number of messages sent. To boost response rate, create interactive SMS content that invites customers to respond. For example, if you’re sending order follow-ups, use a personal agent introduction (e.g., “Hi! This is Amy with Company Books.”). They’ll be more likely to respond to a message they see as a personal, one-on-one check-in. 

Lowering Unsubscription Rate

When customers unsubscribe from your SMS service, that means they didn’t think your texts provided any value. They may perceive them as spam or sales content. Consider rethinking your SMS customer engagement strategy. If you’re sending coupons or deal announcements, refocus your content to customer service. For example, prioritize order and query follow-ups, surveys, polls, or offers for expert advice. Customer-centric content is far more likely to resonate with recipients, making them look forward to your messages. 

Boosting Resolution Time

A long resolution time can be cause for concern. But your team can do a lot to improve it. First and foremost, set up an auto reply letting customers know that their messages were received. Auto assign chats to all team members, so everyone is notified when new messages arrive in your shared inbox. Create templates for frequently asked questions. Finally, encourage team members to use private comments to coordinate on answers. Collaborating is often much faster than struggling to answer difficult questions. 

An Example of Tracking and Improving SMS Customer Engagement Activities in Retail

Acme Shoes wanted to engage customers with an SMS customer engagement campaign. They decided to text their loyalty status customers with three announcements about upcoming brand collaborations. The first SMS message looked like this:

Hello {{customer name}}! Cool news — we’ve got some fun collaborations coming up in the spring! Collaboration #1 is with a brand you know well: Diamond Pattern Inc.! Text STOP to stop receiving texts. 

After sending the texts, they noticed that their response rate was low (.5%) and unsubscription rate was high (10%). Their resolution rate was perfect. 

Acme Shoes decided to refocus their content, making it more interactive. They sent polls about potential upcoming collaborations, asking customers which brands they’d like to see products from. The first SMS poll looked like this:

Hi there {{customer name}}! We want your opinion: who would you rather us collaborate with on a pair of canvas shoes? Paper Company or Dollhouse Inc? Text back to have your vote counted! Text STOP to stop receiving texts.  

After sending the second round of texts, their response rates were higher (15%) and unsubscription rate was lower (1%). 

This is an excellent example of improving customer engagement activities in retail. By measuring, evaluating, and changing strategies, Acme Shoes improved all of its problem metrics. 


Want to learn more about SMS customer engagement activities in retail? Check out our blog.

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