Mobile Text Alerts Blog

8 Companies Ditching Email Marketing for Mass Text Alerts

Have you noticed how many big box brands are starting to send customers mass text alerts instead of emails lately?

While you may be skeptical at first of that being the better option for your company, today’s guide might change your opinion.

We’ll be checking out eight examples of successful brands crushing it by using SMS marketing to increase their customer retention and engagement rates.

Our case studies will help you put these same tactics to work for your business, even if you lack millions of marketing dollars.

To start, let’s see how this first brand encourages their customers to make repeat purchases without ever stepping foot into their stores.

#1: Kiehl’s

We can all agree customer retention is important no matter what business you’re in.

And Kiehl’s, a premium cosmetics company, understands this well.

In an effort to get their customers back for a repeat purchase, they used mass text alerts and text message marketing to remind their customers it was time to re-order their products.

Combined with artificial intelligence (AI) they were able to predict how much of their products their customers would have left based on their recent purchases.

Then, when the products hit a certain level, an automated text was sent out asking if the customer would like to go ahead and re-order.

Customers could respond back with “Yes” or set a snooze reminder by texting “RemindMe” if it was too soon[*].

Talk about genius!

Now, your business may not have the funds to use AI, but you can still learn from this strategy.

Keep a spreadsheet of your customers and track their recent purchases. Do they typically order within another two weeks? Two months?

You can send a similar text manually whenever your customers reach that threshold and may be due for a re-order. Don’t be surprised if you see a nice boost in sales as a result of your reminders.

The next company on our list experienced this same situation when they switched to text message marketing.

#2: North Face

North Face also struggled with luring their customers back into their stores for a repeat purchase.

And, just like with Kiehl’s, they turned to mass text alerts to solve the issue — and it paid off big time.

Here’s what they did[*]:

Using location-based ads, North Face targeted potential customers who happened to be within a certain proximity of their stores.

Once they entered into this geo-targeted zone, they were sent a text message with a promotional offer such as a free gift with purchase, new product arrival announcements, or seasonal and weather related updates.

Not only that, they made sure not to send coupons or try to sell people in that text message.

The whole goal was to get customers to step foot in the door and with texts like those, it was no trouble.

But, once again, how do you make this work for your business when you may not have money for geo-targeted ads?

Think about events happening near your business and consider sending texts that relate back to those local events.

For example, if there’s a wellness relay happening a few streets away and you run a juice bar, send your customers texts letting them know about the event and any specials you’re having in honor of it.

This cross promotion works so well at enticing customers to stop by your business because it comes off as authentic.

Being tied to the community motivates your customers to see you as if they were visiting an old friend.

The next four brands on our list used a similar approach.

#3-6: Abercrombie, Nordstrom, Kohl’s and Macy’s

During the crazy back-to-school season, Abercrombie, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, and Macy’s cleverly used text messages to get parents into their stores[*].

And they each took a different approach to doing so:

#3: Abercrombie

Abercrombie went the giveaway route and gave their customers an opportunity to win free clothes and discounts.

This is something your business can easily do with a valuable prize (think: a free month’s trial of your service or a gift basket of your bestsellers) or chance to win a modest discount (5%, 10%, or 20% off, for example).

Abercrombie mass text example

#4: Nordstrom

Nordstrom played on a sense of community by helping their customers share their latest fashion finds with their friends so they could both look stylish on the first day back to school.

Nordstrom mass text example

Think about how you could incorporate social media in your text message marketing. You could give customers 10% off their orders if they shout out your products on Facebook or Instagram one specific day, for instance.

#5: Kohl’s

Kohl’s also went with the giveaway route, but this time, customers had to spend at least $30 to be entered for a chance to win.

Not only that, Kohl’s also partnered with another popular store during back-to-school season to offer a $5 discount when parents spent $50 at Staples.

This cross promotion helped both brands increase their sales.

example mass text from Kohl's

Are there businesses in your area you could partner with during special seasons or local events? This extra boost in brand exposure may deliver a decent bump in sales during a typically slow time for your company.

#6: Macy’s

Targeting college students, Macy’s text message marketing campaign gave customers a chance to win a $500 gift card, which is perfect for their target market since going off to college doesn’t come cheap.

mass text example Macy's

Even if your brand doesn’t see any differences in sales during the back-to-school retail rush, you can still use a similar strategy in your approach.

Think about what’s going on in your customer’s world and try to come up with an enticing text offer or giveaway that’s too good to pass up.

You could also try this next idea.

#7: Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr. took their SMS marketing to the next level when they created an interactive trivia game via text[*].

In five of their restaurants, they had a TV showing two multiple choice trivia questions.

Customers simply had to text their answer to the number shown on the screen.

If customers answered the questions right, more were sent their way.

The more questions texters answered correctly, the bigger their prize became:

  • 8 correct guesses landed them a $5 gift card
  • 16 led to a $10 iTunes card
  • 32 would score you an iPod shuffle

Customers were also encouraged to keep coming back so they could increase their chances of winning more prizes.

So Carl’s Jr.’s goal of getting customers back in the door worked like a charm thanks to their solid SMS marketing strategy.  

Finally, let’s see how a Domino’s pizza store owner created a text message campaign any business would be envious of.

#8: Domino’s

It all started when a local franchise owner promoted an SMS campaign during a big rivalry basketball game.

Anyone watching the game just needed to text their email address to the number provided and they’d be entered in a giveaway for a chance to win free pizza.


The strategy brought in over 600 new opt-ins. It also added a few hundred new followers to their Facebook group[*].

Now that you know how these mega brands are using text message marketing to their advantage, the only question becomes:

How Will You Use Mass Text Alerts in Your Business?

Use the examples we talked about today as inspiration for your own SMS campaigns and you’ll start to create an engaged subscriber list that’s excited to hear what else you have to say.

This will not only help encourage customers back for a repeat purchase, it will improve your brand loyalty and audience-reach too.

To start a free trial and see how mass text alerts will help your business, check out this page now!

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