SMS marketing is key to boosting the power of your company’s e-commerce. For the most part, consumers are looking to interact with their favorite brands over text. In a recent survey, we learned that 63 percent of respondents said they would actually switch to a company that offered text messaging as a communication channel.
And as e-commerce quickly morphs into m-commerce, or mobile commerce, more and more people are shopping right from their phones. In fact, 72.9 percent of all e-commerce sales worldwide will actually be m-commerce by 2021. This shift to mobile is no surprise when you know that 85 percent of people keep their phone within arms reach most of the time.
So why is reaching customers via SMS marketing a surefire way to boost your e-commerce sales? Text messaging brings your communication to your customers in real time, finding them exactly where they are. That, coupled with text messaging’s near-perfect open rate (98 percent), puts this channel in a new category over all other marketing channels. (Email’s average open rate is only 20 percent by comparison.)
To master SMS marketing for e-commerce, there are some basic strategies and some more creative approaches. Here are a few of both:
Shopping cart reminders
The shopping cart reminder is an e-commerce strategy almost as old as the shopping cart itself. A customer shops but abandons the cart before purchasing. Marketing steps in to gently remind them to finish their purchase. But imagine sending a reminder to your customer that they’ve left something in their cart and being confident they will see the message almost immediately. Nine out of 10 people read the texts they receive within the first three seconds. Three seconds. It’s hard to believe there was ever a time when we thought email was the best way to send shopping cart reminders with numbers like that.
Discounts for SMS subscribers
Another age-old strategy to supercharge e-commerce is to send a promotional code. SMS elevates this marketing strategy, too. You can reach customers with exclusive codes only valid for those who have opted into your SMS marketing communications. The exclusivity of this club is what makes it so powerful and so rewarding for customers on the receiving end.
Birthday and special messages
Sending messages with special deals that are perfectly tailored to a specific customer based on their preferences is one way to that customer’s heart. Birthday, and other special-occasion, deals are not uncommon as an email marketing strategy to boost e-commerce sales. And it makes perfect sense: Who doesn’t like a special treat on their birthday, especially if it includes a personalized deal? But your chances of eliciting a purchase are greater with text since nearly every single person is likely to open your text messages (and only one out of every five people is likely to open your email).
Shopping through text
Sometimes, it pays to get creative with your SMS marketing strategies. Allowing customers to purchase directly through SMS is one way to eliminate any purchasing friction whatsoever. Brook & Bull winery, for example, has created what they call "the easiest wine buying you've ever experienced” by letting customers order wine via text. And it pays off: Half of Brook & Bull’s purchases come from texts even though their SMS list is a tenth the size of their email list. Direct purchasing via text is creative, powerful and effective. You’re meeting customers exactly where they are and giving them exactly what they’re looking for: convenience.
Knowing your texts will probably be read within three seconds makes time-sensitive sales possible — and even more when your customers have push notifications turned on. Flash sales are a great way to amp up your e-commerce sales quickly and with a sense of urgency. Text gives you faster open times and faster responses to your campaign, especially since you have a high chance of reaching your audience quickly.
Fun, relevant content
Though sending content won’t be expected to lead directly to e-commerce sales, it’s a great way to build the relationships necessary to keep customers engaged and increase loyalty over time. Text messaging can be a powerful tool to reach customers who already value your products and to keep your brand top of mind.
When beverage brand Ghia began using SMS to have back-and-forth conversations with customers and create “moments of delight” for them by sending Spotify playlists and other content, the brand saw an instant positive response. The result, of course, is that loyal and engaged customers are more likely to think of your brand when they’re ready to shop.