September 30, 2011, 12:00 AM

Talking text

(Page 2 of 2)

Sales is not the only measure of success in text, also known as SMS for Short Message Service.

At Redbox, Fenske relies on a variety of measures, depending on the type of campaign. "When we send out a mobile coupon code, we'll look at redemption rates," he says. "When we prompt users to subscribe to our e-mail list via SMS, we'll look at how many customers sign up. If we send a link in a message, we'll measure how many customers click on the link."

In a campaign this May called 10 Days of Deals, Redbox offered discounts from 10 cents to $1.50 to consumers who texted Deals to the Redbox short code. "The campaign was a huge success," Fenske says, "generating 1.5 million texts in only 10 days, increasing Redbox's SMS text subscriber list by 400,000 members."

Prior to starting a text program or campaign, retailers should set goals, Fenske says. "It's important to define how you're going to measure effectiveness prior to launching a campaign," he says.

At, Goldfarb monitors the number of consumers who unsubscribe. Though he would not divulge the rate, he says it has fallen since he decided this summer to limit messages to one per day. Before, subscribers received two or more texts a day and became fatigued, Goldfarb says. "We got immediate feedback that was too much."

Redbox also watches unsubscribe rates. "You'll see trends and understand when unsubscribes are out of the norm," Fenske says. Retailers also can measure effectiveness by the length of time a consumer subscribes to texts and how many messages they respond to, analyst Beccue says.

Whichever methods a retailer chooses to measure a text program's success, a fundamental starting point is to spread the word about it as much as possible. "The value is in sending and receiving personalized information between you and your customers," Beccue says. "It's a two-way conversation."

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