Retailers of all sizes need to be creative when it comes to keeping students’ attention for their back-to-school purchases. The Container Store (TCS) hopes to renew last year’s success with mobile engagement to help boost sales to college kids during its College 2023 campaign.
A key to keeping TCS at the head of the class for even younger students is using Vibes to tailor SMS, MMS, and in-app push messages. TCS also uses Mobile Wallet marketing to further incentivize college shoppers with money-saving discounts on back-to-school collegiate purchases.
Success from the retailer’s 2021 and 2022 college campaigns drove the decision to continue prioritizing mobile marketing during returning school season. Subscription selling also earned a high A in strengthening sales.
For instance, last year, The Container Store enrolled more than 121,000 subscribers, 61% higher than its 2021 college subscriber list, and in 2022, its mobile-attributed revenue was three times greater compared to 2021.
The specialty retailer is well-known for its inventory of organizing solutions, custom spaces, and in-home services. It opened for business with a unique concept in 1978, selling storage, organization products, and other solutions such as custom closets.
The store’s innovative marketing strategy is getting results. More than half of the subscribers acquired for their college 2022 campaign remain on their main SMS marketing list, where The Container Store continues to interact with them via promotional text messaging.
“The back-to-school season is a pivotal time for us. To stay ahead of the competition in this space, we focused on amplifying a digital-first strategy and updating our loyalty program to target college-aged students and parents,” Sydney Hamilton, senior director of digital marketing at The Container Store, told the E-Commerce Times.
She added that TCS decided to create an app to attract and retain more of these customers through push messaging and Mobile Wallet.
Mobile Marketing to Omnichannel Shoppers
Today, with locations nationwide, the retailer offers more than 10,000 products it says are designed to transform lives through “the power of organization.”
The marketing team wanted to enable mobile messaging to ensure customers would use the app and promotional offers during the three-month back-to-school campaign. Specifically, it looked to guarantee that the new app would be a channel for purchases and communication.
In addition, the popular retailer hoped to attract and retain omnichannel shoppers. The messaging strategy followed subscribers and app users from the device to the channel for in-store purchases.
“Overall, we wanted to elevate the mobile experience for college-aged students by expanding mobile channels and increasing mobile attributed revenue for its program,” Hamilton offered.
The nationwide marketing efforts seem resilient to morphing consumer attitudes and shopping trends in today’s difficult economy.
Personalization and the ability to tailor marketing communication are driving brands like TCS today, according to Hamilton.
“Mobile marketing is built to take into account personalization and targeting, helping brands create a better consumer experience,” she suggested.
Aligning the brand’s mobile messaging and omnichannel communications in the summer of 2021 was critical for the push and subscription plans to work effectively.
Partnering with Tier 1 messaging aggregator Vibes met TCS’s needs to mobilize its customer loyalty revenue-producing goals. Its approach got results in effectively targeting and engaging college-aged students and their parents during the back-to-school season, said Hamilton.
“Vibe’s intelligent mobile engagement platform enables marketers to seamlessly connect with their customers using an automated, data-rich platform that beautifully optimizes and unifies their SMS, MMS, and Mobile Wallet campaigns,” she explained.
The platform’s combination of physical and digital worlds helped TCS unify its marketing program under one comprehensive, real-time mobile marketing program all in one place. That approach scored high marks. TCS primarily targets parents shopping for their kids, and older college students, added Hamilton.
“Instead of sending out generalized mass messages, we could now tailor messages to be relevant to a college audience. With the help of Vibes, The Container Store put together a strategy to send relevant offers to the right people at the right time through SMS and MMS. SMS also makes it easy for customers to download its app and sign up to join its loyalty program,” she said about the impact on the customer experience (CX).
Balancing Privacy and Personalization
Vibes, founded in 1998, helps marketers across various retail and service industries. The firm’s software solution addresses both consumers’ concerns and marketers’ management needs in mobile advertising, according to Alex Campbell, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Vibes.
“First and foremost, consumers care about privacy, their data, and what marketers do with that data. This trend has only increased over the last few years and will be a constant focus for years to come,” he offered.
The major challenge in delivering mobile customer experiences for SMBs is ensuring you connect with customers when and how they want to be reached.
“To do this, the communication channel, like an SMS or push notification, must be fueled by data to make sure the marketing messages are personalized to the individual consumers,” Campbell suggested.