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The SMS Marketing for E-Commerce Guide

Everything you need to know about SMS marketing for e-commerce including resources, examples and success stories.

 The SMS Marketing for E-Commerce Guide
 The SMS Marketing for E-Commerce Guide

Text messages are personal, immediate, and always read–it’s why SMS marketing is the perfect way to diversify your marketing channels. 

As the battle for customer attention intensifies, texting allows you to connect directly with customers in a way that requires little effort to manage and maintain. 

This guide covers everything you need to know about e-commerce SMS marketing and provides you with additional resources on all the topics we cover.

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Why Is SMS Marketing For E-Commerce Effective?

The e in e-commerce stands for electronic. And what is the most used electronic device? The mobile phone.

If you’re in e-commerce, you already know the value of online purchasing. SMS marketing ensures your customers have direct access to use those deals, marketing offers and stock updates you’re sending them. 

With a 98% open rate, they’re more likely to be clicking on those text message links than in an email.

Still unsure about the effectiveness of SMS marketing in e-commerce? Let the stats speak for themselves: 

1. Email inboxes are flooded with promotional emails: it’s why email click-through rates (CTRs) declined by 45% between 2010 and 2019

2. M-commerce is more important than ever: mobile devices now account for 65% of all e-commerce website traffic and yet many e-commerce stores aren’t doing anything specifically with mobile in mind.

3. People prefer to text with businesses: 68% of people say that texting is the activity that they’re most engaged with on their phones throughout the day.

If you’re ready to take the next step and implement SMS marketing in your e-commerce strategy, here’s how to start.

How to Get Started With E-Commerce Text Message Marketing

If you’ve ever set up a marketing campaign, we understand why you’d be skeptical when we tell you SMS campaigns are easy to set up. 

However, here’s the proof of how quickly you can get up and running.

1. Choose a Phone Number for Your E-Commerce SMS Marketing Efforts

The first step in your e-commerce texting journey is to choose a phone number. When you sign up for a SimpleTexting account, you can register a 10-digit local number or select and verify a toll-free number that can send and receive messages.

We also offer help provisioning a dedicated short code.

2. Integrate Your E-Commerce Store Directly With SimpleTexting (Optional)

This step is optional but allows you to collect numbers at checkout and trigger SMS messages based on specific actions.

If you do want to set this up, you’ll need a Zapier account. If you’re unfamiliar with Zapier, it allows you to create “if this happens, then do this” flows.

For example, you could use Zapier to set up an abandoned cart text message when someone leaves your site without completing their purchase. Here’s how to connect SimpleTexting to the three most popular e-commerce platforms. 

3. Start Collecting Phone Numbers From Customers

Growing your text marketing list is crucial to your success with SMS. It’s a simple equation: more contacts + more texts = more effective text message marketing campaigns.

The good news is that there are a ton of ways you can do this.

First, if you already have an email form or pop-up on your site, you can add a phone number field to it. Here’s an example from Whisker Seeker.

There are other ways to collect phone numbers using a tactic known as text-to-join. This requires what’s known as a keyword: a word or phrase that people can text to your phone number to subscribe to future messages.

You can promote your keyword using an announcement bar like Plum.

You can also use our mobile sign-up widget. When someone clicks on it, their phone’s native messaging app opens with your phone number and keyword prefilled. All they have to do is click send and a website visitor is subscribed to your messages.

How to Use SMS Marketing in E-Commerce

SMS marketing gives you the power to engage customers at every stage of your sales funnel. You can:

Send SMS Promotions

The most common e-commerce SMS marketing use case involves sending contacts discounts, early access to sales, and coupon codes. This can either be in an initial welcome text or at any point after someone’s subscribed.

Image for sending MMS
Thanks for joining our text club! We’ll send you weekly skincare tips. Use code SMS10 to save 10% at checkout.

The benefit here is that text message campaigns don’t take days to create, approve, and execute. They’re quick to create and our customers report conversion rates north of 25%. 

"I would say that easily our conversion rate on a text is about 25%. That’s huge compared to any other channel."
Matt Davis
Matt Davis


Send Transactional Messages

We wrote an entire guide on the difference between promotional and transactional SMS

In short, transactional texts are triggered by events, interactions, or preferences within a service or application rather than by a company’s marketing campaign. 

Here are two of the most popular use cases.

Order Updates

40% of consumers report delivery is the single most important factor in an online purchase. That’s why one of the most popular applications of transactional messages for e-commerce texting is keeping customers updated on their orders or communicating a shipping delay.

Hi Drew, your order has just shipped. You can track its progress here:

Abandoned Cart Text Messages

There’s nothing more frustrating than when a customer abandons their cart. That’s why you should use SMS to capture sales before they disappear forever.

This article walks you through everything you need to know about sending abandoned cart text messages and includes ready-to-use templates.

Josh, we didn’t want you to forget about these awesome items. Click this link and complete your purchase

We recommend that you read up on the policies surrounding these texts as you’ll need to have customers double opt-in. (Here’s an overview of T-mobile’s policy, it should give you a good idea of what to do.)

Use SMS as a Brand Marketing Channel

Sometimes to feel the rush of new sales, e-commerce marketers and business owners dismiss the importance of the long game.

That’s especially true when it comes to a channel that can deliver impressive results in a short timeframe. But as much as we like hearing about the revenue of promotional campaigns, we’re also fascinated by the power of top-of-funnel e-commerce texting.

For example, the DTC beauty brand Versed offers a skincare hotline. It aims to answer consumers’ questions about all things related to their beauty routines.

It’s an excellent tactic that builds Versed’s credentials in the skincare space and provides value to its audience along the way. Plus, with this approach, the company is growing an audience that it can send text promotions. 

Provide Text-Based Customer Support

Many e-commerce stores use business texting to answer more complicated customer questions that require a human response. 

It’s even better than phone calls for this as most people prefer SMS. (Back in 2018 70% of people chose a ‘message us’ button over a ‘call us’ button on a company website or app.)

I need helping picking out a dress for a friend’s winter Florida wedding. No long sleeves and no purple. Can you help?
Sure, let me pull together some suggestions, one moment
How are these?

Text messages have a reputation for being more instant and personal than emails or webchat, so we recommend making your team only available to answer questions for a select number of hours a week.

Here are some more tips on using SMS to improve your e-commerce shop’s customer care.

Use SMS for Customer Retention

Bringing in new customers is hard, but losing them is easy (and costly). That’s why you should use the 98% open rates of text messages to reduce customer effort and hold on to the customers you worked so hard to acquire.

You can use SMS to send SMS renewal reminders if you offer a subscription service. 

Your Dollar Shave Club subscription is about to expire. To ensure you still get the cleanest shave possible at the best price, renew your membership here:

You can also use SMS to set up a customer-win-back series.

We know how much you love a room-brightening print. Enter code BOGOPRINT at checkout before 11/15 for a BOGO 8”x10” print on us!I

E-Commerce SMS Samples

If you’re looking for more e-commerce SMS examples, here are nine texts you can use for inspiration, or check out our free SMS template generator tool.

Hi Emma! We noticed you left a few items in your cart. We think they’d look great on you, so here’s a code for 10% off! Enter CART10 at checkout to activate.
Hi there! Thanks for your purchase of our Filet Mignon kibble. We hope it made your dog go nuts. (In a good way.) Reply with your feedback.
Thanks for your order! Your items will be delivered by 4/10. You can also track your shipment here:
Shop the Drop! A new collection of Limited Edition Signature Carriers are live on!
Ring in the New Year in style! Save $20 on your $100 purchase, $50 on your $200 purchase. All day in-store and online!
Go Sherry, it’s your birthday! Come shop in the next week and receive 20% off any item!
Your FruitBox membership is up for renewal within a few days. We’d love you to stay with us. You qualify for our $25 monthly membership! Call us on +1 800-796-6009 to renew your membership today, or renew here:
Hi Molly! It’s been a while since we’ve seen you at Wayfair. Just a reminder we’re dropping our holiday decor collection this week. Happy shopping! 🎄
Homesick Candle crew, what would you most like to see from our text messages? A. Deals and discounts B. Styling Tips C. Votes on future scents

Looking for more advice on how to write texts? Check out these articles.

Combine Email and SMS

When SMS started to increase in popularity there was a concern about how SMS would fit in with email. The fear was text messages would compete with emails, reducing the effectiveness of both.

The opposite has happened. Email is still a hugely important marketing tool, but there’s no denying that people are increasingly desensitized to an inbox that often receives this kind of treatment.

For many brands texting is an extension of their email strategy, i.e., it’s a new channel for those who are no longer interested or not engaging with their emails.

In other words, by leveraging both the broad reach of your email lists and the high engagement with SMS, brands can use both channels in parallel to drive more conversions.

Choosing an E-Commerce SMS Service

Hopefully, you’ve guessed by now that we’re an e-commerce SMS service provider.

We encourage you to do your research. Be sure to find a platform with plenty of reviews on third-party sites. 

You’ll also want to double-check that they offer all the features you need, have a responsive support team, and an extensive library of resources.

For e-commerce stores, you want to ensure: 

The final consideration is the cost of e-commerce texting. The per-message price is a huge factor. It’s also worth understanding if credits roll over from one month to the next.

The Next Step

That’s it—everything you need to know about e-commerce text marketing in one straightforward guide. The next step is to sign up for a 14-day free trial and try it for yourself.

If you have more questions, you can also request a demo. Alternatively, you can text or call us at (866) 450-4185 or use the chat at the bottom of your screen.

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