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SMS marketing for ecommerce: The recipe for success

Alia Paavola
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Step into the dynamic world of ecommerce, where every click holds the promise of a transaction, and every customer interaction can shape your brand's destiny. In this digital marketplace that never sleeps, carving out your slice of success requires innovative strategies that captivate customers and drive sales. Enter SMS marketing for ecommerce – a beacon of instant connection, heightened engagement, and unrivaled potential. 

Join us as we unveil the secrets and success stories that make SMS marketing the game-changer for online businesses. Get ready to supercharge your sales and forge lasting customer relationships.

7 key benefits of SMS marketing for ecommerce

There’s a reason more ecommerce stores are turning to text message marketing. Let’s look at seven of the top benefits of using SMS.

  • High open rate. One of the top benefits of texting is its high 98 percent open rate. This is nearly five times the open rate of emails.

  • Strong conversion rate. Brands using SMS marketing report high conversion rates from the channel. Considering multiple sources, the average conversion rate for ecommerce SMS is 29 percent. In comparison, ads on social media platforms like Facebook average a 9.2 percent conversion rate.

  • Improved click-through rate. Compared to email marketing, SMS marketing campaigns generate more robust click-through rates. On average, the CTR for SMS marketing campaigns is between 20 percent and 35 percent. Email marketing campaigns are closer to 1 percent to 10 percent.

  • Messages are read quickly. Most texts are read within five minutes of receipt. This allows your brand to send messages at the right time and ensure they’re read fast. This helps when you want to send time-sensitive messages and offers.

  • Boost customer loyalty. SMS marketing is a personal channel allowing you to communicate quickly and efficiently with customers. You can engage with them with two-way messaging, share exclusive deals, and make them feel appreciated.

  • Less competition. Currently, the SMS marketing landscape is less crowded than email marketing. As a result, you’re more likely to capture customers’ attention with a text message.

  • Top channel for mobile commerce. M-commerce is booming in popularity; it’s expected to account for 43.4 percent of total ecommerce sales in 2023. SMS marketing helps get your message to customers on the device they’re using to purchase products. 

Overcome common ecommerce challenges with SMS marketing

By boosting sales, modernizing customer service, and engaging customers, SMS marketing can help ecommerce businesses overcome top challenges. Let’s dive into some top challenges and how ecommerce SMS can help.

Cart abandonment

In 2023, research suggests that 70 percent of carts are abandoned. This equates to a lot of lost revenue for ecommerce stores. SMS marketing can help brands recover some lost carts. Here are some of the ways:

  • Cart abandonment reminders. Remind customers about their abandoned carts to persuade them to buy the items. You can let customers know the product is selling quickly to encourage urgency.

  • Targeted offers post-abandonment. Encourage customers to complete the purchase with incentives like a discount or free shipping.

Customer satisfaction

Thanks in part to ecommerce giants like Amazon, customers’ expectations for convenience, personalization, and speed are high. SMS is a great way to help meet customers' communication expectations as it’s a convenient, personal, quick way to keep in touch.

Using SMS for customer service can help your ecommerce business answer customer questions quickly and provide key updates on order status. Here are a few other ways it can help improve satisfaction:

  • It’s preferred. The reality is 61 percent of customers want to two-way text with businesses. Adding this communication tool helps meet those expectations
  • It’s fast. As previously mentioned, texting is immediate and built for quick two-way conversations. 
  • It’s personal. SMS can be personalized with ease when using an SMS platform. That’s because you can use variable fields and segment your audience list.

Customer retention

Fostering customer loyalty can be challenging in the competitive ecommerce landscape. However, having repeat buyers is vital to create a sustainable, thriving business. SMS can help brands build customer loyalty in a few ways:

  • Offer loyalty rewards. Attract and retain more customers with SMS loyalty programs. Offer your customers special incentives like rewards, discounts, or points to encourage repeat business. 

  • Provide helpful information. SMS is also a great way to get important information to customers quickly. Messages like order updates or links to helpful guides are valuable as they keep customers informed and learning.

  • Request feedback. You can also use SMS surveys to gather valuable customer feedback. You can then use this feedback to improve and show customers you listen.

  • Personalize recommendations. SMS can help you deliver personalized product recommendations to your customers at the right time. 

Low conversion rates

Ecommerce SMS can help companies boost conversions and revenue. Using promotional text messages can nudge customers to buy. Here are a few promotional SMS campaigns to take advantage of.

  • Targeted promotions. Segment your SMS list by purchase or website behavior and send targeted promotional offers. This will encourage customers to buy products they’re interested in or have looked at recently.

  • Discount codes. Share an exclusive discount code via text to your customers. This encourages customers to subscribe to SMS marketing from your brand because they get good deals.

  • Time-sensitive offers. Time-sensitive promotions like flash sales encourage customers to buy quickly. Encourage this urgency by using flash sales or last-chance discounts.

Increasing competition

Given technological advancements, the ecommerce space is growing more competitive. As a result, ecommerce stores need the ability to cut through the noise to stand out. SMS marketing for retail and ecommerce is a great strategy to help get messages to customers.

Many ecommerce and retail stores use email marketing, but customers’ inboxes are overflowing with promotional emails. The average person gets more than 100 emails daily, the majority promotional, which leads to email fatigue.

In comparison, SMS is a relatively new channel with high open and engagement rates. Getting in on the trend now can help you stand out from competitors. 

Cart value optimization

SMS can also encourage customers to spend more per transaction, helping businesses improve average order value. Let’s look at how ecommerce and retail SMS can help boost AOV.

  • Upsell or cross-sell. Use SMS to upsell or cross-sell to customers. You can encourage them to buy a more expensive product or related products.
  • Incentives to add more items. You can offer incentives via SMS to encourage customers to buy more. This could include offering free shipping or discounts on orders over a certain dollar amount.

10 examples of SMS marketing for ecommerce

Take a look at 10 SMS marketing examples from different ecommerce stores across the U.S.

1. A product launch from SKIMS

SKIMS informs customers about a new product offering in this text message marketing example. The message includes a photo, an SMS link, and a great call to action.

A product launch SMS marketing example.
A product launch SMS marketing example.

2. An abandoned cart text from Alphalete.

Alphalete encourages customers to continue with a purchase after they abandon their cart. This abandoned cart message even offers a discount to incentivize the purchase.

An abandoned cart SMS marketing text example.
An abandoned cart SMS marketing text example.

3. A flash sale text from Aerie

Flash sales help ecommerce companies increase sales with limited-time discounts. In this marketing text from Aerie, you see the company offers a discount for just 24 hours. 

An ecommerce flash sale SMS marketing example.
An ecommerce flash sale SMS marketing example.

🎉 Get 18 more flash sale SMS templates.

4. A product restock alert from Aerie

Another text message from Aerie shows a product restock. It encourages customers to buy a once-sold-out product.

An ecommerce restock text marketing example.
An ecommerce restock text marketing example.

5. A welcome offer from Outdoor Voices

In this example from Outdoor Voices, the retailer welcomes new SMS subscribers with a discount for joining.

A welcome offer marketing text example.
A welcome offer marketing text example.

6. A seasonal sale from Lovepop

Lovepop, an online greeting card provider, sends customers information about a limited-time sale. This sale is for Christmas in July.

A seasonal sale SMS marketing message.
A seasonal sale SMS marketing message.

7. A re-engagement campaign from Alphalete

In this marketing message, Alphalete reengages a customer who hasn’t made a purchase in a few months. This helps encourage customers to look at products and potentially purchase.

A re-engagement SMS marketing message example.
A re-engagement SMS marketing message example.

8. An order update from Wayfair

In this text message, Wayfair uses SMS to keep customers informed about their deliveries. This keeps customers in the loop to boost satisfaction.

An order update SMS marketing text for ecommerce.
An order update SMS marketing text for ecommerce.

9. SMS subscriber giveaway text from Crunchi

Crunchi, an online makeup store, encourages customers to sign up for SMS marketing texts in exchange for entrance into a giveaway. 


A SMS subscriber marketing campaign and giveaway example.
A SMS subscriber marketing campaign and giveaway example.

10. A purchase confirmation text from Wild Dove Boutique

This text message marketing example showcases a purchase confirmation and thank you from Wild Dove Boutique. Thank you messages can improve customer loyalty because it shows you care.

A thank you for your purchase text from Wild Dove.
A thank you for your purchase text from Wild Dove.

🎉 Get more SMS marketing ecommerce campaign ideas.

How to get started with ecommerce SMS marketing

You can start an SMS marketing campaign for your ecommerce business in just a few steps. Let’s examine the key ones.

1. Build an SMS marketing strategy. The first step is to create your SMS marketing strategy. This includes understanding your audience, campaign goals, and use case.

Get Textline’s step-by-step guide on establishing a winning SMS marketing strategy.  

SMS marketing strategy guide

‍2. Pick the right SMS platform. The next step is to pick the best SMS marketing platform for your business. To help determine the right platform, look at the SMS provider’s features, scalability, pricing plans, and integrations. You should also read customer reviews to understand the SMS marketing platforms’ reputation and support strengths. Textline makes sending marketing texts easy with features like mass texting, automations, and built-in integrations.

3. Get SMS subscribers. The next step is to build your SMS contact list. You must get explicit opt-in from customers before you send marketing texts to them. Many deployable strategies exist to gain more SMS subscribers, including using text keywords and adding a consent checkbox to existing signup forms.

4. Craft your marketing messages. The next step is to write your promotional text. Keep it short, proofread, and include a call to action for best results. You should also decide whether you want to use SMS or MMS.

5. Send texts. Now you’re ready to send your marketing messages to your defined audience. You can then track results and optimize your content, send times, and audience lists.

12 ecommerce SMS marketing best practices and tips

Keep these tips in mind when executing your ecommerce SMS marketing strategy.

  • Get SMS opt-ins. You can’t just text any phone number you receive. To comply with the laws that regulate texting, you must get explicit consent to text customers. This consent is called an opt-in. It can be obtained digitally with a check box or in writing.

  • Make it easy to opt in. Like email marketing, you want to continue building your subscriber list. Make it easy for customers to opt into SMS and offer incentives like exclusive discounts in exchange for joining.

  • Respect opt-outs. If a contact replies with words like STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE, honor that request. This is a requirement of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

  • Keep it simple. Texting was built to exchange short, digestible messages. Keep this in mind when crafting promotional text messages. You want to keep them concise and to the point.

  • Personalize when possible. You’ll want to personalize and tailor messages to each contact. Include a first name when possible and send relevant promotional content to them.

  • Add a CTA. Include a call-to-action in your text message to ensure customers take the desired action. Consider easy CTAs like shop now, get yours now, or book today.

  • Use SMS links. Text message links help direct customers to the right webpage to shop or explore your products. Use them alongside your CTAs for optimal results.

  • Pay attention to timing and frequency. SMS marketing is no different from other digital campaigns: the timing and frequency of the message both matter. Optimal timing and frequency depend on your goals, use cases, and target audience. But some good practices include sending texts during business hours and not overwhelming customers with too many messages.

  • Get a plan in place for replies. Some customers will reply to your messages. Understand how you want to manage responses. It could mean setting up an automated message with instructions on reaching out or having a colleague designated to reply.

  • Introduce your company. Don’t forget to mention your company in your SMS message. While some customers may save your contact details, others won’t. Introducing yourself reduces the risk of unsubscribes and messages being marked as SPAM.

  • Set goals and track results. Don’t forget to set goals and KPIs for your SMS marketing campaigns. You’ll want to set these goals to align with your overall company goal and measure these results consistently.

  • Mix up message content and deals. Don’t repeatedly send flash sale text messages or the same 25 percent discount. Mix up your promotional messages and discount offerings to add variety and encourage customers to stay subscribed. 

Check out more SMS marketing best practices for stellar results.

Boost sales with Textline’s ecommerce SMS solution

With statistics to back its efficacy, there’s no question that SMS marketing can improve sales, brand awareness, and customer satisfaction. Are you ready to gain a competitive edge and grow your ecommerce business with SMS? Give Textline’s ecommerce SMS platform a try today.

Textline’s multi-user platform has features that make ecommerce SMS a breeze. You can manage mass text campaigns, schedule messages, two-way text, and measure metrics in one platform.

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