When it comes to making a purchase or booking today, businesses only have a brief second to influence consumers’ minds. Google have a term for this, and it might just be the most important insight you’ll read all year…

Google introduced us to the idea of ‘micro-moments’ a little while back. In case you’re new to this concept, it usually occurs just before you tap the ‘checkout’ button on your smartphone, or when you consider whether to call a business and enquire about their services. In other words, it’s that tiny window of thought where people evaluate purchase decisions in-the-moment.

The problem for many small to medium sized businesses nowadays, is that smartphones are one big procrastination tool.

As a consumer, how often are you at the point of taking action and you’re stopped by an unwanted distraction? A Facebook Messenger notification pops up, a friend calls, an app sends you an untimely alert, or your Dad is sending you pointless images of his new garden shed on WhatsApp. (I’m joking Dad, it looks very nice.) They are all cutting into these ‘micro-moments’ – which is bad news for SMEs.

Why are ‘micro-moments’ pivotal for businesses today?

You can either profit from ‘micro-moments’, or not. This in itself presents businesses in every sector with a unique opportunity to increase revenue and footfall. But first, it starts with getting a basic grip on consumer behaviour.

According to Google, 82% of smartphone users turn to their phone to influence a purchase decision while in a store or on the go. Unfortunately, whether you’re promoting your MOT services, beauty appointments or the latest high-tech gadget, your would-be customers are a perceptive bunch. They will actively look for cheaper deals on your competitor’s website or in-store. After all, it’s just a swipe, click or drive away. Google call this a ‘is it worth it moment’.

And then there are the customers who solve unexpected problems in the moment. 62% of smartphone users are more likely to take action right away toward solving an unexpected problem or new task because they have a smartphone.

This is particularly useful knowledge for businesses that offer services (as opposed to products). For example, if the pipes burst in poor John’s bathroom, he won’t pop on his speedos and hope for the best. He’ll immediately use his smartphone to find a local plumber on the internet.

You’ll also find that 91% of smartphone users turn to their phone for ideas while completing a given task. So, if they’re out walking the dog, the chances are they’ll be on their phones surfing the net.

Despite these factors, many businesses are still failing to tap into the mannerisms and behaviours of these ‘micro-moments’. It’s just a matter of getting your message and brand recognised and remembered amidst the anarchy of smartphone distractions.

The solution?

There are many platforms available to shape and influence your consumers’ ‘micro-moments’. But one in particular, outperforms the others. This of course, is the humble and proven means of text messaging.

Unlike any other channel, SMS boasts a 98% open rate, with 90% of those being read within the first three minutes. The average response rate is also extremely impressive as well, standing at 32% for a promotional message.

When you pair these striking stats with Google’s concept of ‘micro-moments’, it really is a match made in heaven. You can eradicate any doubts or distractions consumers might have during this period, and turn them into more business.

In the retail industry, abandoned baskets are an ongoing issue, which could be solved with SMS. Last year at the Drapers Fashion Forum, the International Business Development Manager at Klarna, Dan Horlor, stated that “abandoned baskets cost the UK retail industry some £5.5bn in lost sales.”

One of the major factors behind this, is the attitude of customers. In fact, 30% of them that change their minds before buying online, is down to the fact that they can’t physically try the product on.

However, by sending out a simple SMS with an added incentive (such as free delivery), a personalised discount voucher, or the location of your nearest shop; you can help significantly reduce the number of abandoned baskets and even increase footfall.

This applies to service lead businesses as well. By including an enticing offer via text or in the form of a personalised SMS voucher, you could instantly increase the number of sign-ups and bookings generated.

Appointment ‘no-shows’ is also a growing issue in the dentistry, automotive and beauty industries. Yet, a simple reminder text message is the proven method to significantly reduce the likelihood of this occurring. It worked for Beautology.

Just send an SMS to your patient or customer the night before with the time of their appointment, and it will help to reduce any doubts they may experience during their ‘micro-moment’.

See for yourself

Text messaging isn’t the UK’s fastest growing marketing channel for no reason. It’s instant, direct, and is proven to break through the noise and distractions of other apps.

My advice to you: the next time your potential customer experiences a ‘micro-moment’, don’t give them an excuse to look elsewhere, have second thoughts, or get distracted. Try SMS.

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