Consumers Prefer SMS, Push Notifications Equally When It Comes To Brand Communication

Research suggests that consumers are equally split between a variety of mobile options when it comes to how they like to receive loyalty-related communications.

Consumers today want more options when it comes to how they can interact with their loyalty programs: According to research from 3Cinteractive detailed in an eMarketer report, customers prefer to receive loyalty communication via SMS, push notifications, and in-app in nearly equal amounts.

In an omnichannel world, it isn’t surprising that customers prefer to have diverse options. What’s interesting is that the split between how customers want brands to communicate with them is so even; there is no true consensus. Just last year, in 2016, customers clearly preferred SMS and email for receiving loyalty-related brand communication. Today, 21 percent prefer SMS or push, and 18 percent prefer in-app or communication via mobile wallet.

What are marketers to make of this? First, that what all of these top methods have in common is mobile: It isn’t news, but if a business’ loyalty program itself isn’t mobile-first, consumers will move on. Mobile access is critical, and so is offering communication through the device — whether that’s in-app, via a messaging application, or simple SMS.

Second, it appears that it pays for brands to ask consumers how they want to receive communication and updates at the time that they join a loyalty program or download the app. Rather than assume that one method is superior, give them a choice: Push notifications or SMS? Or would they rather receive a simple email to the address on file? The best way to contact consumers is every way — just not every way at once.

And finally, while these stats may remind businesses of what they can be doing to improve their communication today, they also provide a glimpse into the future: In the survey, 10 percent of consumers said they prefer to receive loyalty-related communication through virtual assistants — a response option that didn’t even exist in 2016. In other words, the age of connected intelligence is on the horizon.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.