News | March 13, 2019

Texting As The Future Of Retail – Lamps Plus Offers Customers The Ability To Text Stores

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Lamps Plus is introducing an initiative to offer enhanced service and convenience, allowing customers to send texts with questions to their local store to receive immediate answers from store sales associates. Available today, customers can send texts to any Lamps Plus store to ask about product availability, product details and other lighting and home furnishing questions to receive quick answers from a store associate.

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Lamps Plus offers the ability for customers to text all its stores without requiring an additional a ...

Lamps Plus offers the ability for customers to text all its stores without requiring an additional app. This texting exchange is based on similar text conversations. (Photo: Lamps Plus)

Lamps Plus is the first U.S. retailer to offer customers the ability to interact by texting directly with any of the company’s stores without requiring an additional app. (Lamps Plus has a mobile website instead of an app.)

Customers can send a question from their phone’s SMS app to any of the 37 Lamps Plus stores. (Message and data rates may apply.) In each store, the store manager or assistant store manager carries a dedicated company iPhone® during store hours to respond to customers’ texts. Texting a Lamps Plus store for guidance, like calling, is a free service.

The local store can be reached by customers in store areas once they tap the “Check Store Availability” option from every mobile product website page, leading to a page where a “Text Store for Availability” prompt generates an initial SMS message about that product. Customers can also find stores’ text numbers on store pages, in customer marketing emails and inside printed catalogs.

The most frequently sent customer texts are about product availability, sizes, colors and other design features. Customers can also send photos to ask about adding products to their home’s interior design or they can request product photos and videos from the store. Products can be reserved through text for purchase and pick-up in-store.

Developed by Lamps Plus and tested since late December 2018, the innovative option has grown to thousands of customer texts to stores per week. While the frequency and volume of text message conversations has doubled from the number of store calls, the amount of calls has remained the same.

“We consider customer-to-store texting to be important for the future of brick-and-mortar customer service. Customers have shown they want the convenience of reaching their local Lamps Plus store through texting. While we prioritize all in-bound store phone calls, texting adds another level of ease for customers to get answers and details through one-to-one interaction,” said Dennis Swanson, founder and CEO of Lamps Plus. “Our store employees receive hundreds of online training sessions per year and are knowledgeable about the products we carry and what other customers are asking so they are the perfect resource to answer customers’ questions through texting.”

Texting responses from store employees can include photos of products or parts of products, like switches or chandelier bulbs, depending on customer requests. A product’s functionality or a three-dimensional view can be shared through video by the store associate. Unlike a call, customers can respond to the store’s text at their convenience.

Typically, text message conversations last for several exchanges before ending, often with a customer making a product reservation or a transition to a phone call for a purchase. Lamps Plus only accepts purchases by phone call – credit card information is not accepted over SMS because of security concerns with that platform.

“Some retailers offer the ability for customers to text customer service representatives in a call center and similarly, we offer online chat with our center. That’s a good option to get information but doesn’t offer the same experience as connecting with a sales associate in a nearby store to get insight about a product that is in front of the employee responding to the text,” said Terre Wellington, Senior Vice President of Store Operations, Internet and Human Resources, Lamps Plus. “We also see customers not only getting product answers but developing an initial sales relationship with the store associate that can carry into a store visit.”

Lamps Plus uses customer mobile numbers only for text conversations with the store. Customers can opt out of text communications with a request.

The innovative texting stores feature was recently recognized by the eTail Best-in-Class Awards 2019, which named Lamps Plus the Best Omnichannel Retailer.

Lamps Plus has already been at the forefront of store innovation. The company was among the first retailers to offer in-store online kiosks for customers, bringing the online catalog into store locations in 2003.

About Lamps Plus
Family-owned and operated, for over 40 years Lamps Plus has been a leader in the retail lighting industry. Established in 1976 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the company is the nation's largest specialty lighting retailer, operating a thriving e-commerce business, along with more than three dozen stores in the western United States. Lamps Plus carries a full range of lighting and home furnishings, including exclusive patented designs and artisan-made customizable shades and lamps that offer comfort and value to help our customers love their everyday spaces. To assist consumers, our American Lighting Association-trained staff provides expert advice.

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