SMS messaging is a powerful direct-to-consumer marketing tool for ecommerce brands. Here are 8 essential SMS messages to include in your marketing strategy.
As a direct-to-consumer channel, SMS is a great way for ecommerce brands to connect with customers. Texts grab people’s attention in a way that email simply doesn’t. (Just think about how many more emails than texts you receive in a day.)
In fact, SMS marketing messages have higher open rates and CTRs than emails overall. One study showed consumers were actually 35x more likely to open a branded SMS message than an email. Clearly, getting in the SMS game can get eyes on your ecommerce site.
So, how do you use SMS effectively as an ecommerce brand? Start with these 8 essential messages.
What it is: The message someone receives when they sign up for your SMS list.
Why it’s important: Just like with your email list, this message is important because it’s someone’s first point of contact with your brand.
Tips for sending Welcome SMS messages: Unlike emails, Welcome SMS messages don’t have a lot of room for extraneous content. Keep it simple: a quick sentence on what your customer can expect, a link or code for any promised discount, and maybe an emoji or two.
What it is: Messages someone receives after they add items to their cart (and in some cases, proceed to the checkout page) without completing their purchase.
Why it’s important: These messages serve as important reminders to customers who planned to make a purchase on your ecommerce site, but didn’t follow through. Their behavior shows an interest in your product. With a little encouragement, your business has a good chance of landing their sale.
Tips for sending Cart and Checkout Abandonment SMS messages: To win over these potential customers, create a multi-message strategy using a discount ladder. You might send the first message an hour after the customer abandons their cart on your site, as a friendly reminder their products are waiting for them. Then, follow up with a second message anywhere from a few hours to a day later, including a discount code for added encouragement to purchase. Abandonment messages are a good place to show off your brand’s flair and sense of humor, too. Don’t be afraid to include gifs and emojis here!
What it is: A message letting the customer know their order has been received.
Why it’s important: These messages serve as a customer’s receipt of purchase, and let them know your business is working to fulfill their order. They also help introduce the customer to the idea of receiving SMS messages from your brand, priming the pump for future promotional messages.
Tips for sending Order Confirmation SMS messages: Keep it short and simple. Clearly confirm the customer’s order, and maybe throw in an emoji to build some excitement for receiving their product in the near future.
What it is: Messages that update the customer on the shipping status of their package.
Why it’s important: Don’t leave your customers waiting at the door, wondering when their package will arrive. They want to know when they can expect the great new product they ordered from you, so make sure to keep them in the loop regarding the shipping process.
Tips for sending Shipping Confirmation SMS messages: Like Order Confirmations, Shipping Confirmation messages should stay short and to the point. Include the shipping status of the package, a tracking link or number, and (when possible) an estimated arrival window.
What it is: Regular promotional messages that let customers know about sales and special offers.
Why it’s important: Touching base with periodic sales messages reminds customers of your ecommerce site, while offering them an incentive to make a purchase.
Tips for sending Periodic Sales and Offers SMS messages: Watching your message frequency and adjusting it based on your company’s specific audience is key here. Some brands see great results from a weekly offer text; others see a big spike in opt-outs. Try experimenting with message frequency to see what appeals to your audience. You might even consider doing SMS-only sales to give customers who stay on your list the “VIP” treatment.
What it is: Promotional messages that inform customers of major sales or special flash sales.
Why it’s important: When you have a major sale on your ecommerce site, you want to spread the word as much as possible. SMS messages for these sales allow you to expand your reach and remind customers of their biggest and best chances to score discounted products. These are some of the most exciting messages customers can receive from you!
Tips for sending Major Sales and Flash Sale SMS messages: Telling customers on your SMS list about your biggest sales isn’t just acceptable - it’s pretty much expected. Again, message frequency is key here. You can’t message customers about your “biggest sale of the season” every single week, or they’ll be jaded by your many messages and stop feeling excited to receive your texts. But don’t ignore the opportunity to send an SMS when a big sale is happening. If you neglect to let your customers know, they will start to wonder why they’re on your list in the first place.
What it is: Messages that use a consumer’s purchase history to offer them personalized recommendations for other products on your site.
Why it’s important: Personalized cross-sells and upsells are a great way to drive more sales from your existing customers.
Tips for sending Personalized Cross-Sell and Upsell SMS messages: Don’t overload the customer with options. Choose one specific product or collection to highlight in your message. To improve your recommendation (and the likelihood that the consumer makes an additional purchase), segment your audience based on their past purchases and use analytics to determine what product they are most likely to buy next.
What it is: Messages exchanged on behalf of your ecommerce site between your customer service team and the consumer.
Why it’s important: Texting is a better medium for quick, back-and-forth conversations than email. By letting customers text your support team, you can answer their questions in real time. This will increase the likelihood that they complete their purchase, and it goes a long way towards building goodwill towards your brand.
Tips for sending Brand Building and Customer Services SMS messages: Keep messages friendly, clear, and to the point, and remember that a customer reaching out via SMS is likely to be looking for timely advice and assistance. While chatting with customers, you can also take the opportunity to let them know more about how to use or care for your products, and even suggest new products for them to buy next.
If you liked these tips, you'll love our complete, step-by-step guide to marketing in our free No-Brainer Marketing Ebook. Check it out for more tips on email, SMS, paid social, and paid search marketing. And if you're interested in moving beyond just the basics of SMS and implementing more data-driven campaigns, feel free to book a call with us to learn how.
Shanif Dhanani is the co-founder & CEO of Apteo. Prior to Apteo, Shanif was a data scientist and software engineer at Twitter, and prior to that he was the lead engineer and head of analytics at TapCommerce, a NYC-based ad tech startup acquired by Twitter. He has a passion for all things data and analytics, loves adventure traveling, and generally loves living in New York City.