Consumers Say ‘Text Me More, Please’

We are all becoming more and more reliant and dependent on our phone messaging apps for conducting important and mundane daily activities. The pandemic has only given fuel to this trend, which was well underway as we turned the page into this decade.

We don’t know about you individually, but we’d think most of us are more interested in exchanging texts than emails. And certainly more so than voice mail messages. Two years ago we posted this about the trends among SMBs and texting. 

SMBs: Do You Speak My Language?

The State of Texting 

So we thought we would take a look at things two years later — pandemic and all — to see how things have evolved since our last deep dive into the numbers. Luckily for us, Zipwhip does some outstanding research every year to uncover the important trends and challenges facing businesses. 

Zipwhip’s State of Texting 2021 report is chock full of interesting stuff. Here are some of the data nuggets we found most interesting. And we added our comments. 

  • 58 percent of consumers say texting is the fastest way to reach them. At the same time, 54 percent of businesses say they have a difficult time getting ahold of customers. We believe reaching consumers is only getting more difficult and texting seems to us as an important alternative to pounding the consumer with emails. 
  • 34 percent of businesses adopted SMS because of the pandemic, and 77% of them – or over 25% – say they’ll continue texting post-COVID. We are quite certain that once a business has success engaging with their customers and prospects via text, they’ll stay with it and increase the use cases and frequency. 
  • 36 percent of consumers say they sent more texts in 2020 because of, presumably, the pandemic. If these are quality experiences, we’d expect consumers to accelerate their desire and propensity to engage with businesses via text messaging. 
  • Three of the seven top reasons consumers were texting more were connected to local commerce situations. These were: 
    • Scheduling appointments, 44 percent. Importantly, 64 percent said the most valuable text received from a business in 2020 were appointment reminders
    • Delivers to home, 43 percent
    • Food deliveries and pick up, 39 percent.
Expect Acceleration

With small businesses adopting more and more texting applications and use cases, we’d expect this trend to accelerate considerably in the near term. 

  • 83 percent of businesses sent consumers a text in 2020. Yet at the same time, only 34 percent of consumers texted to a business. We see this as both a use case and education challenge and an easy one to overcome. As local businesses get more and more accustomed to texting valuable information that raises the customer experience, consumers will learn to reply and text with the business owner. This shift will be significant and will require businesses to learn how to appropriately use texting to add value and not fall into the trap of bombarding consumers with promotional texts. 
  • 58 percent of consumers said they received a text from a business “never, sporadically, once a month”. That suggests finding new and interesting ways to engage with customers is a great opportunity going forward. 
  • A net 15 percent of consumers said they now shop more with small and local businesses during the pandemic – that’s a good sign and a hopeful statistic. But it also means that small businesses that have evolved and adopted more technology because of the pandemic, should probably have a lead relative to their competitors as a new normal becomes more real later in 2021. 
What’s the TCPA?

Importantly, texting by businesses falls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). What’s interesting is that over 40 percent of businesses are unfamiliar with the implications and issues related to TCPA. This suggests business owners need some education to avoid getting involved in any costly regulatory process.

The largest companies in the world – read Amazon, Dominos – are helping pave the way. After all, we now expect messages from these companies, e.g., your package or pizza is arriving. 

A Wide World of Use Cases

We believe there’s a host of very engaging use cases yet to be rolled out. We’re curious about the opportunities you see in local, small business texting. Will we see a broad shift away from emails to texting? Will businesses successfully navigate the challenges of figuring out how texting adds value to the customer experience? And will there be consumer fatigue in light of the growing use of texting? Text us and let us know what you’re thinking 🙂

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