The SMS Marketing for E-Commerce Guide
Everything you need to know about e-commerce texting and links to extra resources on specific topics.
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 SMS marketing and provides you with additional resources on all the topics we cover.
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The Rise of E-Commerce Texting
Forrester Research predicts that in 2021 we’re going to see a 40% jump in marketing message volume. There are three reasons why:
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.
It’s why 61% of businesses and marketers plan to increase their text marketing budgets this year.
Those are the factors pushing brands to start texting. The reason they continue to invest in text message marketing is because of:
- Open rates close to 98%
- CTRs of 36%
- Conversion rates as high as 45%
How to Get Started With E-Commerce Texting
Have you ever spent a bunch of time brainstorming email subject lines only to be disappointed by the open rate? Or spent weeks on a social media strategy to be disappointed by engagement?
It’s no secret that most marketing campaigns take a lot of time and energy to execute–especially if you want them to work.
That’s why we understand if you’re skeptical when we tell you SMS campaigns are easy to set up. But here’s 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 get access to a complimentary 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.
- The Ultimate Guide to SMS Marketing for Shopify
- SMS Marketing for WooCommerce Guide
- Integrate BigCommerce with SimpleTexting
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 subscribers + 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.
Using SimpleTexting’s Mobile Sign-Up Widget to advertise a 10% discount, Toroe Eyewear generated an extra $7,028 in store revenue in a month. That’s a 156x return on its text marketing channel. READ MORE
Support the Entire Customer Journey With E-Commerce SMS Marketing
SMS marketing gives you the power to engage customers at every stage of your sales funnel. You can:
- Send SMS promotions to drive repeat purchases
- Offer a text-an-expert hotline for top-of-funnel brand marketing
- Provide SMS shipping updates to improve the customer experience
- Give customers the option to text you with SMS customer service
- Use SMS for customer retention
Send SMS Promotions
The most common e-commerce SMS marketing use case involves sending subscribers 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.
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."
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.
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 order or communicating a shipping delay.
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.
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 the audience that it can send text promotions.
It’s the same approach that Equal Parts has taken with its text-a-chef service.
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.)
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 customers you worked so hard to acquire.
You can use SMS to send SMS renewal reminders if you offer a subscription service.
You can also use SMS to set up a customer-win back series.
E-Commerce SMS Samples
If you’re looking for more e-commerce SMS examples, here are nine texts you can use for inspiration.
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.
- How To Write Texts Subscribers Want To Read
- What Can Ernest Hemingway Teach Us About Writing Text Messages With More Clarity?
- 6 Discount Message Examples and What They Teach Us
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.
For e-commerce stores, you want to ensure:
- You can text 1-on-1 with customers, send automated texts, and send mass texts. You want a platform like SimpleTexting that can do all three.
- If you plan on using a e-commerce texting service for two-way messaging with customers, you want an SMS inbox with the functionality to manage multiple conversations.
- Provides you with the tools you need to find out how much money SMS is making your e-commerce store.
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.
Try Our E-Commerce Texting Service for Free
No credit card required