February’s Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents’ Day weekends are great opportunities to focus on personalizing SMS messages that meet your customer’s needs. At the end of the year, consumers slowed online and in-person shopping, but February brings three major shopping events to jumpstart 2022’s sales. With much of the country rebounding from a difficult 2020, 2021 brought a year of retail and food services growth, with sales rising by 19.3%. (1) Due to inventory, shipping, and pandemic-related concerns, the holiday sales season kicked off earlier than average in October. Still, sales declined 1.9% from the previous month by the end of the year. (1)
Consumer spending and expectations have changed during the pandemic. Inflation, supply chain shortages, and the latest Covid-19 variant mean that generic messaging and blanketed offers won’t cut it in the eyes of your customers. Looking back at each of these events and comparing them to pre-pandemic levels will give us a clearer picture of how consumers want to interact with your marketing, servicing and collections messaging. This guide will look at February 2020 and 2021 and break down what sending personalized SMS messages to your consumers means.
Super Bowl LVI
February kicks off with Super Bowl LVI on Sunday, February 13, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Super Bowl weekend is traditionally a big consumer weekend for food, beverage, game-related merchandise, televisions, and decorations.
- In 2021, 186.6 million adults, more than 50% of the country, tune in to the big game, making it one of the most significant sporting events in the world. 2A 30-second commercial during the broadcast cost $5.6 million in 2020. (2)
- Estimated spending for 2021’s Super Bowl weekend was $13.9 billion, a drop from 2020’s record-setting $17.2 billion likely caused by the pandemic. (2)
- Consumers planned to spend an average of $74.55 in 2021, with food and beverages (77%) being the most popular purchases, followed by team apparel (11%) and televisions (9%). (2)
Valentine’s Day 2021 also saw a drastic drop in sales, following the record-breaking levels of pre-pandemic 2020, but it was still the second-highest in history. (3) A shift in the holiday’s focus from romance to celebrating friendships, family, pets, and other people of importance has led to an increase in Valentine’s Day sales over the past few years. Many problems remain as the second Valentine’s Day of the ongoing pandemic arrives. Still, higher levels of vaccinated adults and children could lead to a return in celebrating outside of the home.
- Average spending was $165 per person, $32 less than the year before. (3)
- Of those planning to give gifts in 2020, 40% planned to include teachers and classmates, 51% coworkers, and 27% pets.(4)
- The first Covid-19 Valentine’s Day led to a 10% drop in planned evenings out, with 41% planning to have a special evening at home instead.(5)
Presidents’ Day is Monday, February 21 this year and is considered one of the first major retail events of the year. Tax season officially began on Monday, January 24, when the IRS began accepting and processing 2021 returns.(6) Taxpayers will start receiving their refunds just in time for Presidents’ Day sales, which could start as early as February 1 this year.
- Clothing has made up one-third of all sales for the past two years and will likely continue. (7)
- Home items are top sale items for Presidents’ Day, including major appliances, furniture, kitchen devices, and vacuums. (8)
- Presidents’ Day also includes tech deals. (8)
Understanding consumers’ needs and preferences are crucial in today’s sales environment. Consumers know that businesses have more data and knowledge about their purchases and behaviors. 63% of consumers in this study expect companies to understand their unique needs. (9) Sending offers out of left field are more likely to harm than gain an unexpected sale. Opportunities to create custom SMS messages for your customers does not have to be complicated. Here are four easy ways to begin customizing your messaging based on your customer’s needs and behaviors.
- Use their name. Email and social media inboxes are filled with targeted ads and unopened messages. While SMS has avoided this pitfall, it does not mean inboxes are free from distractions. Stand out by including the most basic personalization of all, your consumer’s name.
- Use keywords. Keywords are a powerful tool for segmenting your subscribers. Create keywords with segmentation in mind and send messages geared towards those opt-ins.
- Be relevant. Use customer behaviors and history to segment your list. Then send relevant offers, product suggestions, and helpful resources based on those segments. Previous SMS campaign participation can also provide beneficial segmentation for targeted messaging.
- Create conversation. Texting has the benefit of being a casual conversation platform. It does not have to contain the formality that is often seen in email and social media. Including relevant emojis in text messages with customers increases your level of approachability. Opening up Two-Way Texting capabilities for your team provides another opportunity for expanding personalization. Review our business emoji guide and Two-Way Texting guide for more ideas on using these tools for conversational experiences.
In summary, February has several opportunities to connect personally with your customers and meet their needs with SMS. One of the fastest and easiest ways to drive this connection is creating a personalized SMS campaign based on previous behaviors and data. The team of experts at Solutions by Text can help you create a custom SMS plan for your customers. Talk to an SMS expert today.