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Express leverages rich media messaging promotion to build mobile database

Specialty retailer Express is rewarding Valentine’s Day shoppers with free movie tickets in exchange for texting in themed keywords after they shop.

Express shoppers who spend $100 or more online, in-store or over the phone through Feb. 15 are eligible to participate in the “One Hot Date” campaign. Express worked with Iris Mobile to run the Valentine’s Day campaign.

“Rich Media Messaging allows us to visually bring a campaign to life without the text and character limitations imposed by traditional text-based SMS,” said Eric Gohs, director of digital marketing at Express, Columbus, OH.

“And our #OneHotDate campaign and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time with the strong visuals and unique offer with Fandango,” he said.

How it works
A call-to-action on the bottom of in-store and online receipts encourages consumers to text in keywords to specific short codes.

Shoppers who buy items over the phone are told the keywords and short codes when they order.

Different keywords correlate to how consumers choose to shop. The keywords are “DATE,” “HOT” and “LAVA.”

Consumers who text in the information will then be sent a rich media message with a code that can be redeemed on Fandango for two movie tickets. The code must be used to a see film during Valentine’s Day weekend.

After the campaign ends, consumers will receive one more message asking them to opt-in to Express’ mobile database.

“We’ve been pleased with the customer response including the activity that we’re seeing where customers are using the extensions of RMM, like save-to-Passbook and share-to-social,” Mr. Gohs said.

“Having the ability to move beyond a static text-based message and gain screen share on our customer’s phone is an exciting step,” he said.

Past initiatives
Express also leveraged rich media messaging for Black Friday.

During the holidays, consumers who were opted-in to Express’ mobile database received coupons that could be saved to Apple’s Passbook or a handset’s built-in calendar (see story).

Mobile messaging remains to be a key tool for retailers to push out time-sensitive messages to consumers, but is limited in the amount of consumer engagement.

By tying longer messages and media into message, the goal behind RMM is to take mobile messaging initiatives up a notch.

“Valentine’s Day is about the romantic aspect of life and about celebrating with loved ones and having this interaction with the brand and movie tickets — that’s a part of how relationships are created and maintained,” said Cezar Kolodziej, CEO/president of Iris Mobile, Chicago.

“You cannot do this over a simple text,” he said. “There interactions are much longer, you can’t do this in 160 characters.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York