Why You Should Be Using Text Messaging For your Bridal Shop
The new generation has arrived along with their own new set of tastes and preferences. You’ve probably noticed more of your brides openly discussing the other appointments they are going to and the data lines up with that. On average, brides are booking 3 appointments before saying ‘yes to the dress’ today. You’ve also likely noticed a trend of more no-shows and maybe you have considered requiring a credit card on file for appointments to put a stop to the no-show. Point is, the new generation, Generation Z, has some quirks to them and it’s time for you to incorporate a medium that they are very comfortable with into your marketing/operational outreach.
Before we get to that, I’d like to address the topic of requiring credit cards up-front for appointments. This will definitely vary depending on your area but, for the most part, requiring a credit card at the appointment process is going to negatively affect the # of appointments you are receiving online. Many of you might be muttering, ‘who cares’ as you would rather have less appointments than more appointments + more no-shows.
To find a happy medium, I’d like to make one recommendation. Consider implementing a two-step appointment process on your website; where, step 1 requires the bride to enter all their information and submit that to you, and step 2 requires the bride to enter their credit card. It’s important that these are on two different pages. (here’s an example). This two step process will allow you to capture the customers’ information as they are booking appointments in the event they see the credit card form and get cold feet. Remember people, putting explanation text on your website and putting explanation text that people actual read are two very different things. If you expect the person to read your disclaimer that says ‘your card is only charged in the event of a last minute appointment cancellation’ then you can expect many people to ‘not see that’ I digress… Capturing the brides information allows you to have one of your staff at least call back to explain why you’re taking the card, so that you can get it on the phone. If you do not capture their information first, and they leave once they see the credit card form, they’re gone.
Ok ok ok.. Back to generation Z and the medium you should start to incorporate into your marketing/operational outreach. You probably figured it out from the title, so yes…Today we are going to discuss Text Messaging and why it is so effective for bridal shops. Do you remember the last time you left a text message unopened? Me neither… No one gets a text from someone and does not even open it to see what it says…. Even if it’s from a number you do not recognize. So as long as you are relevant (i.e. you are reaching out to someone who booked an appointment with you), you are going to get an ‘open’ and you’re going to get a response. If you look at the open rate of the email blasts you’re sending you, you’re probably hovering around 20-30%. If you compare that to text messaging, with an open rate of 99%, it’s not even close. Here are a few use cases:
Use Case # 1: The Appointment Confirmation + Stylist Introduction
What better way to confirm an appointment than to send a quick text reminding your bride of the appointment date/time they scheduled? You can even use this as an opportunity to introduce your stylist and start building rapport. Remember… people buy from people they like, or trust (or both). So the intro is a great way for you to establish a quick connection, introduce the stylist, and confirm the appointment. Take a few seconds to confirm your appointments with text messages, today.
Use Case # 2: The Follow-up
Remember people… Brides are booking on average 3 appointments before buying today. You think your email follow-up, titled ‘just checking in’ is going to move the needle in your direction? How about instead, you send a quick text with a picture of a few of the gowns the bride tried on with a few potential follow-up appointment times? This does not take any time at all, and can be the deciding factor on why the bride came back to your shop, over one of the 2 others she’s going to.
Use Case #3: The Review Request
Everyone is familiar with the dilemma surrounding online reviews. Customers that receive great service and walk out of the store 100% happy with their purchase, do not seem to have a lot of incentive to write positive reviews. On the other side, anyone who has a less than ideal experience is quick to slam you online with a 1 star review claiming emotional battery. It can certainly be challenging to deal with this, but the best way for you to combat negative reviews is to flood your reputation with positive reviews. This is another area where text messaging shines! Send your brides a quick text, with a link to your Google My Business ‘write a review’ button, and watch the reviews come flooding in. If you make it as easy as clicking on one text message to write a review, you’ll get significantly more reviews.
So how do we manage this? Am I suggesting you get a cell phone that you dedicate to the store? Or am I saying your stylists should have to use their personal cell? No… Not at all.
Guess what? Google has a free service, called Google Voice, that gives you the ability to text! You even get to pick your own number – Oh what a world we live in.
Step 1.) go to voice.google.com and login with your gmail account
Step 2.) start sending your brides appointment confirmations/follow-ups via text.
Many of you already use text messaging, and some of you are fancy and even automate your messages. Just remember to keep it personal, as Generation Z knows the difference between an authentic ‘Hello my name is…’ to a generic, robo-text. Keep it short/sweet, make it personalized, and watch your closing ratio go up while your no-show rate goes down. Who can say no that that?