The significant rise of SMS messaging in ecommerce

The significant rise of SMS messaging in ecommerce

We explore the benefits of text messaging and why it will likely dominate in 2023

As well as being a key theme at the Pulse Ecommerce Summit ‘22, we’ve seen increasingly more of our merchants integrate SMS into their marketing strategies this year and foresee an even bigger increase in 2023.

So why is SMS on the rise? What are its benefits, why haven’t more brands adopted it sooner, and how can you maximise its potential if you integrate SMS into your plans? We explore each of these topics in this article.

There is no doubt that the use of SMS in ecommerce is on the rise, especially outside of the UK where it is already a key component of many brands’ marketing strategies. 

Text message marketing is an under-utilised channel that can help your customers engage with your brand, drive masses of new sales, and even help your customer service efforts. So what exactly are its benefits?

What are the benefits of SMS?

During a panel discussion at the Pulse Ecommerce Summit ‘22, Senior Performance Marketing Manager at Astrid & Miyu, Lauren Charalambous, said that SMS is more effective than email marketing for the jewellery brand. 

And it comes as no surprise – there are so many possibilities with text messaging, from sending promotions, providing order updates, to offering customer service, it’s often the fastest and most effective way of reaching your customers.

1.Reach your audience instantly

According to Forbes magazine, 83 per cent of millennials open a new text message within 90 seconds of receiving it. Nearly 70 per cent of all age groups open within five minutes, increasing to 90 per cent within the first half an hour. That’s a lot, which is especially important if you have some time-sensitive news to communicate. 

Text messaging is therefore a fantastic way of letting your audience know urgent information such as a limited-time flash sale, an important update on an order, or to grant early access to a product.

2.Increase engagement

Loyal customers want to hear from brands they love. And if they’ve actively opted into your SMS marketing then they definitely want to hear from you – especially true when messages are reserved for VIPs or special promotions.

According to Simple Texting, the average open rate for SMS is 98 per cent compared to “the average email open rate of about 15-20 per cent.” Our Growth clients see higher email open rates than this, at around 30-40 per cent, but that’s still substantially lower compared to SMS rates.

So whilst many customers won’t even see your email, only around two per cent won’t see your text message. And just like email, texts offer the chance to send short, simple messages tailored to specific segments based on a whole array of factors. For these reasons alone SMS should not only be considered for your 2023 marketing strategy but arguably even prioritised over email.

And it’s not just open rates that are impressive in the world of SMS, it’s click-through rates too. According to SimpleTexting’s 2022 SMS Marketing Report, the majority of business owners reported average SMS click-through rates of 20-35 per cent.

Why are businesses reluctant to adopt SMS?

Reading all of these impressive statistics will make you wonder why more businesses haven’t already jumped on the SMS bandwagon. The truth is, the UK is behind the curve compared to other countries, and the main reason is fear – fear of being regarded as “spammy” or non-compliant. 

The key thing to remember is that you can only message customers who have opted into your SMS marketing, so they want to hear from you. In 2022, 70 per cent of consumers opted in to receive texts from businesses.

Plus many SMS technology companies offer built-in text message compliance, so you don’t have to worry so much. Klaviyo, for example, has a built-in tool designed to only send to the people that have explicitly said they want to hear from brands by text.

Even better, the technology is designed so that messages are only sent at appropriate times – default quiet hours are set based on region, and recipients who have recently been messaged will automatically be suppressed. 

This includes customers who have just been emailed, say to alert them that they have an abandoned item in their basket – rules can be created within the flow about which channel or combination of channels is best for that customer. You could set a rule to email first and if the email isn’t opened in say, 24 hours, a text message sends a follow-up message.

How can you maximise its effectiveness?

1.Grow your list

If you already use SMS or this article has convinced you to, you’re probably wondering how else to make the most of it. Well apart from using it in a considered way, the first thing you should do is think about growing your SMS list. 

Thankfully there is a range of tools available to make this easier for brands, including those created by Klaviyo, Yotpo and Attentive. Using targeted, customisable pop-ups and flyouts is a great start, as well as adding a consent box at checkout. Embedded forms, two-step forms and click-to-text email banners are also fantastic ways of growing your list.

2.Make it personal

One of the best ways you can maximise the potential of your text messaging is to make your communications as personal as possible. Over 54 per cent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if the messages they receive are personalised, and personalising your messages isn’t as hard as it might seem given the available technology. 

Much like with email your messages can include any data you have against your customers – for example, their name or a recent purchase they have made. Through web tracking you are also able to utilise this information and tailor a specific offer to a product you know they have previously browsed or added to their cart.

3.Use SMS marketing at every stage of the customer journey

So you’ve grown your subscriber list and are sending personalised messages. The final tip is to reach out to customers at every stage of the customer journey. 

As well as sending messages at peak times such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you should nudge those shoppers who have left items in their basket, retain loyal customers by rewarding them with exclusive access campaigns, and give sneak peeks to that customer who loves a particular type of product. 

Even after someone has purchased a product you can use SMS as part of your customer care – spark two-way conversations with conversational text automation, in-app SMS chat, and help desk integrations to maximise loyalty and engagement.

About By Association Only

By Association Only is the Shopify Plus agency for the world’s most design-conscious luxury brands. Get in touch to discover how our team of experts can support your brand’s Shopify ambitions.

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