Successful ecommerce brands know that an omnichannel strategy is the foundation of an effective marketing strategy. Instead of focusing on a single platform, they broadcast their message wide and far, from sharing Instagram Stories and selling on TikTok Live to sending email newsletters. This type of marketing strategy allows businesses to reach a wider audience, build a more resilient community, and engage with customers in various formats that cater to different preferences and habits.
One channel that’s remarkably effective is SMS marketing, which involves sending a direct text message to potential and current customers.SMS marketing can cut through the digital noise, alerting customers to time-sensitive offers like flash sales, personalized promotions, and timely updates such as shipping notifications. This approach can build brand loyalty and increase response rates, making SMS marketing for ecommerce a powerful tool. Explore how to integrate SMS marketing into an ecommerce marketing strategy.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing, which stands for “short message service marketing,” is a direct communication strategy, where businesses send text messages to customers’ mobile devices. It’s used to promote products, offer discounts, and update customers on the status of their orders.
With permission from the recipient, ecommerce retailers can tailor messages to individual shopping behaviors and offer a personalized shopping experience. The immediacy and customization make SMS marketing a powerful tool for ecommerce stores to increase engagement and drive sales.
Benefits of using SMS marketing for ecommerce
- Direct and prompt communication
- Greater personalization
- Mobile-first marketing
- Quantifiable metrics
SMS marketing transforms how online stores engage with their customers. By creating a direct and personalized communication channel, SMS campaigns can offer the following benefits:
Direct and prompt communication
The key feature of SMS marketing is instantaneous message delivery to SMS subscribers. The speed at which SMS messages are opened and read makes SMS marketing campaigns crucial for time-sensitive offers and announcements. Because many recipients read text messages within a few minutes of delivery, ecommerce SMS marketing ensures your message lands in the right hands, ready for immediate attention.
Personalization is at the heart of successful SMS marketing strategies. Ecommerce businesses can use customer data to segment SMS subscribers and send tailored SMS marketing messages that reflect individual preferences and shopping habits. Personalization enhances the customer experience and increases the likelihood that recipients will make a purchase.
SMS marketing is inexpensive and effective for many ecommerce businesses. Compared to other marketing channels, SMS campaigns require a relatively modest initial investment. SMS marketing allows companies to start small, with texts each costing less than a cent to send. They can then scale up their SMS marketing budget as their subscriber list grows and their campaigns become more sophisticated.
Ecommerce SMS marketing aligns with today’s mobile commerce trends. Consumers are increasingly likely to engage with marketing and advertising through mobile devices, and SMS campaigns are a natural fit. By integrating SMS marketing into their overall strategy, ecommerce retailers can easily reach customers on the devices they use the most.
One of the key advantages of SMS marketing is the ability to track a campaign’s performance. Detailed analytics for SMS campaigns provide insights into open rates and ecommerce conversion rates for your SMS marketing messages. This data is useful for refining future campaigns and tailoring messages for the best results.
How to use SMS marketing for ecommerce
- Understand the legal requirements
- Choose the right SMS marketing platform
- Segment your audience
- Set clear goals and benchmarks
Implementing SMS marketing in your ecommerce business requires a strategic approach and an understanding of texting’s unique attributes. Here’s what to consider when embracing SMS marketing for your online store:
1. Understand the legal requirements
Before sending SMS marketing messages, understand the relevant laws. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the CAN-SPAM Act, and other regulations mandate businesses obtain explicit consent before adding anyone to an SMS list, whether those are transactional messages or promotional texts. It is generally illegal to send texts to numbers on a purchased list. Additionally, you must offer recipients a straightforward way to opt out of receiving text message campaigns, safeguarding their privacy and ensuring your business remains compliant.
For example, instruct recipients to text “STOP” if they would like to stop receiving text messages, and promptly take their number off your subscriber list if they reply to a text with the prompt.
Choose the right SMS marketing platform
The effectiveness of your SMS campaign can depend on the SMS marketing platform you choose. Good SMS marketing software should offer marketing automation, easy scheduling, and personalization options to cater to the needs of your existing customers. It’s also important the platform integrates with your current customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing systems, ensuring a unified approach to your digital marketing efforts.
Segment your audience
Segmentation is crucial to delivering relevant content to your SMS list. You can send SMS marketing messages tailored to existing customers based on their interactions, purchase history, or demographics. This targeted approach helps improve the performance of your text message campaigns, making them more focused and personal.
Set clear goals and benchmarks
Setting objectives for your SMS campaign is crucial for measuring its success. Decide what your ecommerce business aims to achieve, whether it’s increasing repeat purchases, driving promotion awareness, or improving customer service. Use these goals to determine the metrics you’ll track, such as conversion rates or click-through rates. Regularly review these against your benchmarks and revise your strategy as needed, including testing different messages and different send times.
SMS marketing tips for ecommerce
- Develop a strategic opt-in process
- Leverage real-time updates
- Personalize your messages
- Create exclusive SMS promotions
- Keep messages concise and clear
- Maintain a consistent sending schedule
- Address shopping cart abandonment
- Measure and analyze results
Because mobile phones are an integral part of consumers’ lives, text messaging offers a direct and personal channel to reach and engage customers. Ecommerce businesses can improve their customer engagement and retention with these SMS marketing tips:
Develop a strategic opt-in process
A clear opt-in process is essential for increasing your SMS list. Use your ecommerce business’s touchpoints, such as the ecommerce checkout process, email marketing, and social media platforms to encourage customers to engage with the SMS tools you use to send and receive texts from shoppers. Offer an opt-in benefit, like exclusive discounts and new product alerts. Make these incentives clear so customers understand the value of giving their consent to receive SMS messages.
For example, Gymshark, a fitness apparel and accessories brand, obtains clear SMS opt-in consent from customers and incentivizes subscriptions by offering a 10% discount on orders for email and SMS subscribers.
Leverage real-time updates
Real-time updates via SMS can keep your customers informed and engaged with your brand. Use an SMS tool to send instant notifications about order confirmations, shipping updates, and delivery tracking to provide a seamless shopping experience. This level of communication can increase customer satisfaction and encourage repeat business.
Fashion Nova, a leading online fashion retailer, engages customers by sending timely order updates via SMS about their recent purchases.
Personalize your messages
Personalization is a powerful way to connect with customers on their mobile phones. Use data from your SMS marketing list to customize messages with the recipient’s name, recommendations based on past purchases, or updates on items they’ve shown interest in. Personalized promotional messages can make customers feel valued and more likely to engage with your brand.
Create exclusive SMS promotions
Craft exclusive promotions for your SMS marketing list subscribers to make them feel special and valued. These promotional SMS messages can include one-time discounts, early access to sales, or exclusive content. This strategy not only rewards subscribers but also incentivizes others to join your SMS marketing list.
Lashify, a luxury at-home eyelash extension brand, entices new SMS subscribers with a $20 discount coupon and then provides useful product information about its Control Kit, using an attention-grabbing GIF.
Keep messages concise and clear
SMS marketing is most effective when your business delivers concise and clear messages. Craft your text messaging with a direct call-to-action (CTA) that prompts the customer to take the next step, improving the chances of your texts leading to an action.
Maintain a consistent sending schedule
Consistently sending SMS messages helps build a reliable image for your ecommerce business. Schedule your promotional messages so they don’t overlap with other communications to ensure customers aren’t bombarded with texts. By striking the right balance, you can keep customers informed without becoming a nuisance.
Address shopping cart abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment is a challenge for many ecommerce businesses, but SMS automation can help tackle it. Implement an SMS strategy that triggers a promotional SMS message to remind customers about the items they’ve left behind. A well-timed message with a special offer or a simple reminder can nudge customers to complete their purchases, increasing your conversion rates.
Measure and analyze results
To refine your SMS marketing strategy, measure and analyze the results of your campaigns. Use the analytics dashboard in your SMS marketing platform to track metrics such as delivery rates, open rates, and click-through rates. Regular analysis can inform your SMS strategy, helping you understand what works and where to make improvements.
SMS marketing for ecommerce FAQ
Can you do SMS marketing on Shopify?
Yes. You can do SMS marketing on Shopify by using various SMS marketing platforms that integrate with your Shopify store to send promotional messages and updates.
Is SMS marketing legal?
Yes. SMS marketing is legal, as long as you comply with regulations—such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the CAN-SPAM Act in the US—obtain explicit consent from recipients before sending messages, and make it easy for them to opt out.
How much does SMS marketing cost per SMS?
The cost of SMS marketing per message varies depending on your provider and the volume of texts you plan to send, though the cost typically ranges from a fraction of a cent to several cents per SMS message.