How to effectively use SMS Marketing for eCommerce
Did you know that consumers answer SMS text messages at least 30x faster than an email and 48% of consumers prefer receiving brand updates via text messages over other channels? One thing is evident from these statistics, text messages are still a popular form of interaction among consumers, despite the explosion of the internet and social media platforms.
Most notably, SMS marketing is gaining prominence as a go-to interaction channel between eCommerce brands and their customers. You can note that SMS messages have the highest penetration because your customers can receive and read the texts almost instantly, without the need for an internet connection. Evidently, 78% of consumers check their text messages more than any other mobile-related activity daily.
But how do you leverage the full potential of SMS marketing eCommerce? Here is an expert guide on everything you need to know about eCommerce SMS marketing, strategies, how to get started, and where to get the best services. Keep reading to learn more.
Why You Should Leverage SMS Marketing Campaigns in eCommerce
Many eCommerce brands outside there, including yours, are probably using email marketing to generate leads. But have you thought about the huge potential or success that SMS campaigns could generate in your business? Ideally, SMS marketing should be at the top of your overall strategy, especially if you want to engage potential customers on the go.
Here are some of the reasons why you should implement SMS marketing for eCommerce in your business.
- You Can Target a Large Audience
Internet and smartphone technologies have indeed penetrated every corner of the globe. However, despite this, 96% of consumers still prefer to stay connected with friends, loved ones, and businesses through text messages. It’s even more intriguing because these users have access to Instant Messaging (IM) platforms but still prefer to go the traditional way of SMS texting.
From this trend, it’s possible to leverage SMS campaigns and target large demographics because everyone seems to love text messages.
- Text Messages Are Personal and Engaging
With a remarkable open rate of up to 99%, SMS campaigns offer an incredible level of engagement between consumers and eCommerce brands. This open rate is way higher than email campaigns, which can only garner between 12% to 25%, and that is only if consumers can read your emails on their smartphones.
Text messages have a higher open rate because they are personal and engaging. As a brand, you’re more like communicating to a friend instead of a customer. The bare-bones nurture is that eCommerce text messages are authentic and appealing, especially if customized to specific target audiences.
- This is What Your Customers Want
Your customers want you to connect with them through text messages since this is their most preferred medium of communication. It’s even more efficient if you’re targeting a certain demographic, say, teens, because 58% of them list text messages as their go-to channel of staying connected with friends and brands.
Text messaging eCommerce is not only ideal for teens. A majority of adults, aged between 18 to 24 send and respond to up to 128 text messages per day. That means they’ll obviously react to your weekend offer, especially if you send the text message at the opportune time.
- Ideal for Customer Service
Unlike emails and live chatting via automated bots, SMS messages provide direct real contact info to streamline customer services, whether before, during, or after a purchase. Moreover, drafting and sending text messages takes a relatively shorter duration than traditional emails. For customers, they can send a quick eCommerce SMS at their convenience. Similarly, brands can respond to such concerns swiftly and in real-time.
Even better, SMS messages are a good starting point for prolonged customer service. Look at it this way. A customer reaches out because their purchased equipment is faulty. Your sales representatives engage them via text message to find the problem, then shift to a call with a ready solution at hand.
- Build More Trust
The main challenge faced by eCommerce stores is building trust, thanks to the virtual barrier created by the underlying business model. This can hurt your business and potentially scare away potential customers who interact with the site for the first time. Even worse, consumers are not always willing to share their personal details with a brand that they can hardly trust.
Fortunately, you can use SMS marketing to overcome the virtual barrier between consumers and your eCommerce store. With text messaging campaigns, your target audience can feel welcomed and appreciated, even before making their first purchase. Ultimately, this builds a high level of trust that can culminate in repeat purchases.
- Text Messages Compliment Mobile-Friendly eCommerce Sites
A majority of eCommerce customers connect with online stores through their mobile phones. Moreover, 61% of Google traffic emanates from smartphones and other hand-held internet connecting devices, such as Android and iOS tablets.
Leveraging SMS campaigns translates to engaging customers on the go through their smartphones. In most cases, you can include product and discount links to redirect the recipients to your official eCommerce store. They’ll likely make a purchase, especially if the experience is great. Overall, this compliments a mobile-friendly user experience that drives customer satisfaction and repeats purchases.
SMS Marketing eCommerce Best Practices
SMS marketing in the eCommerce sector is often more successful than in other industries because online customers definitely want to hear from brands after a purchase. But the success of this strategy depends on what you do after the customer opts-in and accepts to receive certain types of notifications.
Here are some of the best practices of eCommerce SMS marketing.
- Combine SMS Marketing with Other Channels
Any SMS marketing strategy will be powerful and more effective when combined with other marketing strategies. Like any business that succeeds through intense marketing, it will help if you have a cohesive multi-channel marketing approach for yours to succeed too.
That said, SMS messages can work in tandem with your marketing content in email campaigns, app push notifications, and even live chatbots. You only need to get a tool that seamlessly integrates with other channels and you’re good to go.
- Automate Communication with Consumers
Your SMS marketing strategy will yield tangible results if you can automate communication with your customers on all primary touchpoints of a typical eCommerce store. Probably one of the most important touchpoints is the checkout stage where customers expect to get notifications from brands on the go.
For instance, the customer will want to get an order confirmation immediately after they check out. They also want shipping communication with a valid tracking number so that they can rest at peace knowing their purchased product is on the way. On top of that, they want a notification, reminding them to review the product after say two or three weeks of purchase.
All these SMS notifications will work well if they are automated. However, don’t forget to inform the customer about these notifications, lest they opt out before their journey ends.
- SMS Giveaways
Your SMS campaigns will only be efficient and offer tangible results if the subscription list keeps growing. One of the best ways of encouraging customers to sign up for your campaigns is through SMS giveaways. With this strategy, customers are only eligible to get the giveaway if they send you a text message, which translates to opting in voluntarily.
You can place SMS giveaway banners on your official eCommerce website and other prevalent points of interaction, such as social media pages. Consumers always love free gifts and they’ll gladly sign up for your SMS campaign if you offer that.
- Have a Referral Program
As noted earlier, your SMS list is the most valuable asset of the overall SMS Marketing strategy. Growing it as much as possible is important if you’re going to target greater demographics and drive sales across new markets. With that in mind, you can launch a referral program and incentivize active subscribers to implement it.
For instance, you may give a free voucher or special discount to every customer on the SMS list who refers their friend to the campaign. An enticing SMS referral program will definitely yield greater success if the incentives are worth it.
- SMS for Cart Abandonment
Do you experience many customers abandoning their carts before making a complete purchase? This can be pretty frustrating, especially after spending vast resources to funnel the customer through all marketing channels. Fortunately, you can leverage text messages to solve this problem and experience more customers buying.
How? There is a high likelihood that you have the phone numbers of customers who abandon their carts on your list. In that case, you can send an automated text message to the customer immediately you find out they abandoned their cart. However, this will only be effective if there is a live customer service agent to engage the potential buyer once they respond.
You can then offer immediate solutions to the customer’s concerns and encourage them to complete their checkout process.
How to Get Started: Use SMS Marketing to Drive Sales
You already understand the benefits of leveraging SMS messages in your eCommerce campaigns. But how do you get started with this strategy? Well, it’s straightforward, especially if you know what you’re doing and have a solid plan of getting started. Here is how you can go about it.
- What Are Your SMS Priorities?
SMS campaigns are ideal for any type of marketing, whether it’s discount offers or new product launches. However, to some extent, this might not be true or practical for every business, with the underlying needs and preferences in mind. That said, define your SMS priority and start rolling out campaigns towards that, before implementing the strategy fully across the whole business, especially if you are a real estate agent.
For instance, if your other marketing strategies are failing to upsell events and products, these areas can be a perfect start for SMS messages. Alternatively, you can firstly launch SMS marketing as a way of getting customer feedback, especially if it’s a priority for your brand to know what consumers feel about it.
- Evaluate Your Success Metrics
Getting started with any project requires setting goals and vision so that you can track progress along the way. The same applies to implementing SMS marketing in your eCommerce brand for the first time. There are various metrics to reflect on when getting started with SMS for eCommerce marketing. For instance, how many more customers do you want to join your SMS list in the long haul? What level of customer service satisfaction do you plan to achieve with this new strategy? Is it ideal for event promotion?
Having answers to these questions will help you define the metrics that will measure the progress and results of your SMS campaigns. This will help you hit the ground running and improve on the strategy along the way. Eventually, the whole sales team will have a great experience with SMS marketing.
- Choosing Engagement Channels
Before getting started with SMS for general marketing, conduct an in-house survey to determine how your customers want to be engaged. Even with the higher open rate of text messages, it all boils down to the preferences of your demographic target audience. Some people want to receive SMS notifications, but just not through the traditional messaging app.
In that case, it will define the best marketing channels where your SMS notifications can likely trigger high levels of engagement. Is it Facebook messenger or the native SMS application that comes with every mobile? Well, your research will point you in the right direction.
- Go with the Best SMS Tool
It will help if you go for an end-to-end SMS tool that streamlines the overall SMS marketing strategy through automation and compliance. This will allow your sales team to focus more on curating customized lending SMS content for every customer instead of juggling compliance and list management issues.
The tool should also filter out spam numbers in your SMS list so that you don’t roll out campaigns in vain. In other words, the right SMS tool makes eCommerce marketing as effortless as possible, while generating tangible results at the same time. Ensure you, scout, all options in the market to find a solution that maps seamlessly onto your already laid marketing channels.
- Expand Your SMS List
After defining your priorities, right channels, and metrics, you can now start to grow your SMS list base to target greater demographics. There are many ways of doing this, and they all depend on your business and customer preferences. However, pop-ups remain a great way of growing the SMS list because they invite consumers to opt into the subscription list voluntarily.
That means placing simple but intuitive SMS subscription opt-in banners on strategic pages on your website. Alternatively, you can ask consumers to share their phone numbers at the check-out stage and offer them an incentive to do that.
Tips for SMS Marketing Messages for eCommerce
Armed with SMS strategies and a solid plan of getting started with automotive, how do you keep it going? Which insider tips will help you attain the best possible ROI as far as eCommerce SMS marketing is concerned? Here are some tips that will enhance the relevance and effectiveness of your brand text messages:
- Precede Welcome Emails with a Text
Automated welcome email campaigns make customers feel more appreciated even before they make their first purchase at your eCommerce store. Besides offering solutions to onboard the customer as seamlessly as possible, welcome emails can likely increase engagement rates with the customer throughout their journey with your online store. And preceding welcome emails with SMS campaigns will eventually boost their success and the end-user experience.
Just ensure that you reinforce the benefits of joining the SMS subscription list alongside email campaigns and your newly acquired customers will readily embrace both.
- Send Your Text Messages on Time
Customers want a fast-rate experience to continue buying from your eCommerce stores. That’s where text messages step in. You can send instant notifications for order confirmations and complete deliveries. You can also send shipping status notifications mid-way, especially if the whole delivery takes a relatively long time.
Prompt and timely SMS updates will help anchor your overall SMS marketing strategy. It will also increase the open rate for future brand text messages.
- New Arrival Notifications
Do you have upcoming new arrivals? Leverage text message communication to drive purchases. If the offer is worth it, some customers will even pre-order the products, such that you ship them directly from the supplier to the end-user. This is even more practical for products that sell out faster because SMS messages have a higher open rate than emails.
- Date-Triggered SMS Automation
Businesses always compete for customer attention. By leveraging SMS marketing, you can engage your customers during the moments that matter to them the most. It will even be better if you offer discounts, free shipping, or even vouchers to complement these moments.
For instance, does your customer have an upcoming birthday or appointment? Are holidays around the corner? Mark these dates on your subscription list and automate text messages to be rolled out on specific days and times. Think of this as personalization, which can inspire fitness to stay on the SMS list as long as necessary.
- Allow Your Customers to Opt-Out
While SMS messages allow brands to engage their customers on the go, they can be pretty annoying on the consumer side, especially if they no longer want to receive staffing notifications. That said, offer your subscription list a seamless opt-out option, preferably free of charge and without any conditions, whatsoever. Getting out should be as easy as opting in. Moreover, the customer will still re-subscribe if they want to continue purchasing from your store.
Best Services for eCommerce SMS
Smarter Contact is the best converting SMS platform for your marketing needs. Our platform allows you to customize SMS messaging campaigns that will build and nurture long-lasting relationships with your customers. With exemplary automation features, in-built CRMs, and a reliable two-way SMS system, our solution is ideal for businesses across all industries, including staffing and real estate investing.
We help you grab the attention of your target audience on the go with rich SMS personalization features. Even better, our skip-trace feature ensures that you only contact valid numbers that can yield quality leads. Check our pricing models to find a solution that matches your budget to get started today.
Over to you
SMS messages are arguably the best way of connecting with your eCommerce customers. From high open rates, and wide acceptance, to our innovative SMS platform tool, you have all the reasons to leverage this guide and hit the ground running with your SMS campaigns. But most importantly, the strategy is more powerful if you integrate it with the right SMS marketing partner. Contact us today to book a free demo and visualize how SMS marketing can transform your eCommerce brand for the better. SMS messages are here to stay, so should your eCommerce business be.
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