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Cabela?s segmented SMS program gains 6pc weekly

LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ ? A Cabela?s executive at the Mobile Shopping Summit 2014 said that segmentation has driven exponential growth of its SMS program, which sees 71 percent of sign-ups take place in store. 

During the ?Tried But True ? How Cabela?s Is Utilizing SMS To Reach Its Customers? session, the executive looked at its pilot of six messages per month following opt-in. Messages were constructed based on each customer?s profile, created by previous purchases.

?We wanted to go back to the basics and lay a good foundation via text, and our efforts wouldn?t have a dependency on an app,? said Brad Dolian, mobile marketing manager at Cabela?s, Denver.

The Mobile Shopping Summit was organized by Worldwide Business Research.

Cabela?s aimed for SMS for numerous reasons.

Its core customer base is skewed to be older males, who are more prevalently texting today. 

SMS is also very cost efficient and personal, creating a one-on-one conversation. Furthermore, text messages are most often read very soon after received. 

Mr. Dolian and his mobile team began SMS efforts following full, cross-organizational support.

Beginning in June, the team?s efforts began to incorporate segmentation, utilizing different keywords for every channel, and learned that 71 percent of opt-ins were in-store shoppers and 8 percent was traffic on the Web site. 

These shoppers were met with ads that enticed users to opt-in. Following opt-in, they would receive 10 percent off a purchase of $50 or more.

The efforts? AOV turned out to be double the retailer?s retail average and tripled its demand goal. The retailer claims its opt-out rate is better than the industry average of 3.7 percent.

Users can opt-in by texting ?Cabelas? to 247365.

Mr. Dolian, who worked with SMS before moving to Cabela?s, has seen what works and what does not for SMS efforts.

?For anyone wanting to try text, I recommend firstly having an incentive and secondly having a retail presence,? Mr. Dolian said. ?I would also caution you as to how much messages you?re sending out.?

Continued efforts
In 2013, A Cabela?s executive at the Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus spoke on the retailer?s initial initiatives using SMS in 2009 that did not make it off the ground.

Cabela?s ran an SMS sweepstakes but never communicated with the database it acquired after the sweepstakes had ended. Those numbers eventually expired and the company had not capitalized on the database at all.

According to Cabela?s mobile marketing manager Greg Hickman at the time, Cabela?s was attempting to retry SMS and planned to initiate a pilot later in the year (see story).

Cabela?s hopes to continue its success in SMS.

?We want to improve our CTR in 2015,? Mr. Dolian said. ?We hope to keep the efforts fresh, do segmentation well and maybe experiment with MMS.?

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York