Ecommerce offers great opportunities for merchants. But with the massive growth of online selling – and, of course, shopping – ecommerce sellers face unique challenges.
Changing customer expectations and evolving marketing technologies all add to the obstacles in the way of ecommerce growth.
SMS marketing can be a powerful, affordable, and doable strategy here. But the question is, can SMS marketing boost ecommerce growth?
The short answer is yes. It can. In this article, we will discuss how.
Is SMS marketing still relevant?
SMS marketing involves sending your brand messages to your customers’ phone numbers. These messages are received in their SMS app inbox and promise to drive excellent results for brands that use them right.
But there’s one common concern here. Lots of marketers assume that with the rise of internet-driven messengers like WhatsApp, classic SMS is almost dead.
But is it?
SMS marketing for ecommerce
You may not be using an SMS app on your phone to chat with your friend, but believe it or not, this channel offers ripe opportunities for ecommerce sellers to reach their customers and drive their growth.
SMS has a massive 98% open rate (to compare, an average open rate for email is 19.66%). This proves that SMS, apart from being another customer interaction channel, also happens to be far more effective than its counterparts.
With an open rate as high as this, your message is sure to get across to the intended person instead of ending up in the promotion, or worse, spam folder. Learn more about email deliverability
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This potential is why 76% of brands plan to invest in SMS marketing in the near future. And these brands aren’t spending their money for naught. 62% of customers have subscribed to receive texts from at least one brand.
This implies that people may not be using SMS as a chatting medium, but they would sure like to see some valuable promotional messages there.
So, the next time someone asks you why you invest in SMS marketing, just ignore them and focus on building your SMS marketing campaign.
How can SMS marketing help ecommerce merchants?
Now we’re treading the land of tremendous opportunity.
Ecommerce retailers can use all the help they can get. The online selling ecosystem is becoming increasingly competitive. One missed opportunity, and you may have lots to regret later on.
SMS marketing offers an easy chance for ecommerce sellers to interact with their audience and reach them through a channel that some other brands are yet to arrive on.
Here are a few ways SMS marketing can help you up your ecommerce selling game:
1. Generate high customer engagement
SMS messages are hard to ignore. Unless your phone is on silent, these sneaky messages pierce through the calm that is your life and deliver the information they came bearing. And that’s not always a bad thing for brands.
90% of the text messages are opened in 3 minutes. It is a stark contrast to an email, which is opened in around 90 minutes, if not more.
Additionally, SMS demands attention. People have their phones with them at all times, and they check them multiple times a day.
A text message continues to sit on the smartphone’s home screen until the user takes action regarding it. It only goes away when someone either swipes it away or opens it.
Therefore, SMS enjoys an engagement rate 6-8x times higher than email. And ecommerce merchants dig engagement. Everyone does.
Once you have engaged your audience, they are more likely to buy from you, become your brand loyalists, and promote it on your behalf.
Engagement builds community, and community drives revenue. And SMS marketing can sow the seed of engagement that, if watered properly, can bloom into a highly profitable plant.
2. A massive reach
Most online marketing channels have highly segregated demographics. TikTok and Instagram are mostly crowded with the younger generation. Meanwhile, if you want to reach baby boomers, you will go for TV ads or Facebook marketing.
However, if you have a brand that caters to a wide demographic, you’d have to expand your social media presence and be equally active on all your handles.
Who’s got time for that?
Whopping 91.54% of people on earth have a mobile phone. This indicates just how wide the demographic would be for the SMS channel.
More interestingly, Americans check their phones 160 times. It is safe to assume that other nations show similar tendencies.
No other channel enjoys a reach as massive as SMS. If your business caters to a wide audience, SMS marketing can help you reach everyone and their grandma (quite literally) with customized messaging.
Budget is often one of the biggest challenges ecommerce merchants have to deal with. There’s a lot to manage. The economic pressure often shoots through the roof. And online sellers rarely have enough in their marketing spend to experiment with new tactics to see what works.
SMS marketing is cost-effective.
One SMS hardly costs a few cents. If you have an SMS list of 1000 subscribers, it would cost you $10 for weekly messages. If you send one message every week for two months, you’d be spending somewhere around $100 on the entire campaign!
Compare this to running Facebook ads that could leave you short of anywhere between $200 to $800 for just one month of the campaign.
And the results? Well, given the astounding stats surrounding SMS marketing, the results could be positively mind-blowing. Average CTR for SMS is around 80%.
But that’s not the only reason why SMS marketing is so cost-effective.
Creating a powerful marketing message to send via SMS does not require graphic designers, social media experts, SEOs, and whatnot. All it takes is a professional writer who can create simple yet compelling messages and an SMS automation tool. So you save money on resources as well!
4. Higher flexibility and easier customization
What is easier to customize: an email with a 200-word copy and a tailored graphic or a simple 10-word text message?
The latter, of course.
Again, you don’t need professional graphic designers and a team of specialists to create and customize your SMS marketing messages. You can get a writer to write one compelling text message and customize it to target different segments of your audience.
Additionally, SMS marketing also has flexibility in terms of its use cases.
We will talk more about that in the next section.
SMS marketing use cases in ecommerce
If the sections above have left you all hyped-up about SMS marketing, but you don’t know how to implement it in your marketing campaign, here are some use cases for your inspiration:
61% of customers believe that offers are an excellent way to engage them. SMS marketing already offers high engagement rates, so why not use this channel for promotions?
And if you think you are better off without it, know that 50% of customers expect texts from businesses about sales and promotions.
So, using SMS marketing for promoting your products, offers, deals, and discounts can actually do your business or a lot of good.
If you are looking for examples, an online eyewear store offered their SMS list subscribers a 10% discount when they opted in. A few simple words led to a whopping $7000 increase in their revenue and generated 156 times the ROI.
When launching a new product, your brand deserves some attention. You have invested so much in creating this product, so it needs to generate a return for all that you have put in. And for that, the word needs to get out about it.
25% of customers want to receive information about product launches. And since emails carrying product-launch offers may end up in the spam or promotions folder, SMS is an excellent channel to inform your customers about your awesome new offering.
The strong reach and high engagement that SMS marketing boasts are exactly what you need when launching a new product. Even if the recipient does not buy the product then and there, they would know you have it. And that’s a win in itself.
Customer surveys or feedback are critical for an ecommerce business’s growth.
You need surveys to improve your business and explore new growth opportunities. And you need good reviews for social proof to convince prospects that you’re good.
And while people are good at reaching out to you with complaints and negative reviews, they are rarely as eager to participate in a survey or leave a positive review.
It is your job to let them know you’re interested in their opinion! And the best channel to get this message across is an SMS.
72% of consumers respond to texts within 10 minutes. People have their mobiles with them all the time. And an SMS is hard to ignore. So, sending a survey or review request will most likely be received, and if you manage to frame it correctly, you might be able to get a response from them.
Additionally, customers are 295% more likely to reply to text messages than to pick up your call. So, while your feedback call may very well be ignored, an SMS might get you the response you are looking for.
Cart abandonment reminders
There aren’t many things quite as irritating to ecommerce merchants as abandoned carts.
SMS marketing offers a viable channel to let your customers know what they have left in the cart. And if you are smart about your words, you might be able to lure the customer back and get them to finish what they started and hit that checkout button.
One of the biggest reasons ecommerce took some time to catch up was trust issues. People didn’t trust the brands to deliver what they promised.
While the ecommerce industry has worked hard to eliminate this problem and has been successful so far, order confirmations take it a step further and let the customers know their order has been received.
This type of messages also contain tracking information and expected delivery. All of these factors work towards building a positive customer experience and winning you loyal customers.
Best Practices and strategies for ecommerce SMS Marketing
65% of brands don’t have an SMS marketing strategy. So, you have a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on the uncharted SMS marketing arena and gain a competitive advantage in one of the most competitive industries.
Here are some strategies and best practices to help you start your SMS marketing endeavors on the right foot:
- Don’t send too many messages. You want to be helpful, not annoying.
- Don’t share meaningless messages. Give your customers what they signed up for.
- Always identify your goals before you start with SMS marketing campaigns. You should start thinking about key questions – What do you want to get from this SMS marketing campaign? More web traffic? Increased leads? Higher revenue? This will help you send the right message and track your campaign performance.
- Make sure your customers understand and opt-in for text messages. Popping up in someone’s inbox without permission is often ineffective.
- You must have customer data if you are running an online business. Use it to segment your target audience and then tailor messages for each segment.
- Don’t forget to add a CTA and a link to your website in the message.
- SMS are displayed in the form of text blocks. You don’t have room to be wordy because no one likes to read a big block of text. Try to deliver your message in as few words as possible.
- Be extremely mindful of the timing. Nothing is more annoying than being woken up by a message beep, only to find out it’s a message from a brand informing you of a new product.
- Finally, track your SMS marketing campaigns. Your SMS automation tool will help you with that.
Customers want to receive offers from brands via SMS, but 70% say their favorite brands aren’t doing that.
SMS marketing offers ripe grounds for ecommerce startups to thrive. SMS campaigns are affordable, drive the right results, and are easy to create and implement with the right tools.
But of course, while SMS marketing is impactful, it won’t be able to do much on its own. Instead, it can become a powerful addition to your existing digital marketing toolkit.