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Asda rolls out RCS messaging to its customers

Asda rolls out RCS messaging to its customers

Asda, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains in the United Kingdom, has just announced the launch of Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging to its customers. 

This move is aimed at providing an improved and seamless communication platform for Asda customers.

RCS messaging is the next generation of SMS messaging, offering a range of advanced features such as read receipts, typing indicators, high-quality media sharing, and more. 

RCS has been around since 2008 but has failed to gain any sort of traction with brands and organisations of all sizes.

RCS has bombed for a number of reasons but Asda’s take up of the message platform might just breathe life back into it. Possibly.

Asda’s Comms Product Manager, Martin Coates said,

Martin Coates - Asda

“Ensuring our customers receive exceptional customer service is a key focus for us and we’re excited to be the first retailer to offer this innovation to customers. The idea is that by providing customers with that additional peace of mind, we’ll boost customer engagement and reduce the number of failed deliveries.”

Here’s an example of what they’ll be sending customers.

Asda RCS message

Is it just me or is this just a wee bit underwhelming? I’m seeing the Asda logo which is great but the rest is just plain text, just like a normal SMS.

I would have hoped for more imagery in the message or button options to lift the message above a normal text. Maybe even a video to spice things up a little.

I suspect the reason for the dull execution is that Asda has to accommodate iPhone users who can’t receive RCS messages. So they need to be able to create a consistent customer experience whether you’re an IOS or Android user.

This problem lies at the heart of why RCS is struggling to take off. Brands need to communicate in the same way for all customers, not just ones that happen to have an Android phone.

The complication of having to run two services one for each phone type makes RCS unappealing as well as wildly impractical.

I do hope that Asda’s initiative is successful and that it tempts a few other major brands to test RCS.

SMS is remarkably resilient and still the most effective messaging channel but it’s horribly clunky and basic, consisting of just 160 plain text characters.

SMS could certainly do with an upgrade but I’m not sure that RCS is the right tool for the job.

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Henry Cazalet Managing Director
Co-founder and Director of The SMS Works, a low cost and powerful SMS API for developers. About Henry