The Ultimate SMS Marketing Guide for Online Retailers & eCommerce Stores
The US retail e-commerce sector is setting new records, with $905 billion earned in 2022. Amid the market upturn, it’s getting more challenging for businesses to drive customers to their websites and even harder to convert them into buyers. And remember that competition is fierce, technology is rapidly evolving, order fulfillment can be tricky, and maintaining a return policy is a must.
No shocker here; 9.1 million retailers are just like you—scrambling to figure out how to outwit the cutthroat market. Unfortunately, not all customers are easy wins, and nearly 70% of shoppers don’t follow through with their purchases, leaving about $18 billion in lost sales each year.
So what are the top marketers doing differently? Are their products just that much more awesome than everyone else’s? Chances are, they don’t have better products than you. But if your messages don’t hit the mark, even the most fantastic items will go unnoticed.
Imagine what it would be like to have messages that are just as good as your competitors’ or even better. That could turn the tables in an instant. If you’re new to SMS marketing for ecommerce or striving to reach new heights, a little guidance can go a long way.
This article unravels the secrets to success with e-commerce SMS marketing: a 98% open rate is the most effective way to communicate your brand and offerings to customers. Get ready to learn the best practices and what truly works for retailers.
Why Do eCommerce Brands Need SMS Marketing?
By 2022, more than half of businesses had hopped on the SMS bandwagon – that’s a 27% increase from the previous year. If you’re yet to get on board, here’s why text message marketing can be beneficial for your business.
eCommerce businesses that want to see their SMS sales skyrocket must explore text message marketing to the fullest.
By sending targeted deals and discounts to your customers’ phones, you can guarantee that almost all your messages will be seen by your customers – translating to more sales and higher profits. With SMS marketing, it’s a 98% chance of success.
Building Customer Loyalty
Retail text message marketing can help you establish a connection with your customers through texting.
Not only can you keep users in the loop about new deals and products, but you can also cultivate a sense of community. And when customers stay engaged with your brand, you can rest easy knowing their loyalty is secure.
The modern customer loves it when they get personalized messages from brands, so SMS marketing for retailers is a great way to tailor their communication with customers.
You can increase customer involvement and conversion rates by sending personalized product suggestions, reminding them of what they left in their shopping cart, and delivering other carefully-targeted messages.
Retail SMS campaigns can be an affordable option for all kinds of businesses. Unlike other marketing channels, such as TV or print, SMS has a lower price tag and can be adjusted to fit your budget.
Whether you have a big budget or just a few pennies to spare, you can use SMS marketing to get in touch with your customers.
Understanding the Basics of Retail & E-Commerce SMS Marketing
Here are a few essentials you’ll need before embarking on SMS marketing.
- Phone number list: If you want to send SMS messages, you’ll need a list of phone numbers. You can collect these through your website or in-store opt-ins or get a list from a trustworthy provider.
- SMS platform: For the best results when sending multiple SMS messages, you will need an advanced SMS platform or bulk SMS for ecommerce service. This will enable you to reach your contacts, monitor analytics, and even customize messages for a unique flair.
- Strategy and Goals: Before sending those SMS messages, you’ll want to make sure you have a plan and clear objectives in mind for your SMS marketing efforts
- Budget: You can maximize your marketing results while keeping costs low. SMS campaigns can do the trick . Just make sure you plan and budget accordingly.
- Timing and frequency: Time your SMS marketing wisely. You want to send out only a few messages or risk overloading your customers. Pick the perfect moments and remember to keep the frequency tolerable.
- Segmentation: Split your customers into categories based on demography, purchase records, or other applicable factors. In doing so, you can deliver more accurate and efficient communications to different sections of your customers.
5 Tips on Building an Effective eCommerce SMS Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve got the basics sorted, you’ll need to build a solid strategy for your text campaigns. Check out these five SMS marketing tips that will help you plan right.
Tip #1. Define your audience
First, you’ve got to crack the code of who you’re targeting with your SMS marketing.
You’ll want to assess the demographics, past purchasing behavior, and anything else that might give you the scoop on the perfect people to reach out to.
When you’ve got those vital stats, you can create messages tailored to captivate and engage your customers.
Tip #2. Set Clear Goals
Setting crystal-clear ambitions for your SMS marketing efforts is a must. We’re talking about boosting sales, enhancing customer involvement, or generating website navigation.
Knowing what you’re striving for will direct your game plan and guarantee that you’re heading in the right direction.
Tip #3. A/B Testing
Put your promotional text messaging campaigns through their paces with A/B testing. Compare subject lines, message copy, and calls to action to determine which elements are getting you the best results.
With this data-driven approach, you can easily identify what works and needs to be tweaked.
Tip #4. Automation & AI
One of the top marketing trends predicted by Gartner is that AI will be at the forefront of all analytics efforts. You don’t have to spend your valuable time and resources on manual tasks.
Let automated SMS messages take over. You can easily set up notifications based on customer activity, like when they leave items in their cart or when their order is confirmed. It’s that simple.
Tip #5. Keep It Simple
Keep your SMS messages concise and straightforward. Utilize plain language instead of industry jargon, and spell out exactly what the recipient should do next.
Creative Text Marketing Campaigns to Inspire You
Over the years, we’ve learned about companies that used SMS-based advertising to boost sales. We thought these examples below will serve a great way to inspire your SMS marketing journey.
McDonald’s “Free Fries Friday” Campaign
McDonald’s rocked the fast-food world with a text message campaign in November 2022.
They encouraged people to participate by telling them ‘text us if you want to get a chance at something life-changing through the number 707-932-4826. After opting-in, users received automated SMS messages detailing the agreement, as well as an intro to the “soft drop” with a mysterious photo clue.
Starbucks’ “Frappuccino Fun All Summer Long” Campaign
Starbucks dropped the ball and launched their epic “Frappuccino Fun All Summer Long” SMS and MMS opt-in program.
On their Facebook page, they posted an image of a Frappuccino with eyes and a catchy caption: “What has a green straw and wishes it had thumbs? This guy” Just text STRAW to 22122 and you’re in.
As an added bonus, after opting in, customers received up to 6 messages each month and free Frappuccino.
Sephora’s “Beauty Insider” Campaign
Similarly, Sephora’s Beauty Insider program has seen great success by sending exclusive offers, personalized recommendations, early access to sales, and even birthday gifts through texting.
Reminders of upcoming birthdays always come in handy too. Sephora’s SMS marketing strategy was successful and helped the brand to increase its customer retention and sales.
Getting Started with SMS Marketing: 7 Easy Steps
If you’re ready to begin, here are seven simple steps to SMS marketing that are sure to get you going.
Step 1. Design Your Ideal Customer Profile: After deciding on the demographics, purchase history, and other pertinent criteria to identify your target audience, you should spend some time envisioning your ideal customer and creating a profile to target them better.
Step 2. Establish Campaign Objectives: Set specific goals for your SMS marketing campaigns, e.g., boosting customer engagement, increasing sms ROI, or driving website traffic.
Step 3. Build an SMS Contact List: Collect phone numbers through your website or in-store opt-ins, ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations concerning SMS marketing.
Step 4. Select an SMS Provider: Choose a reliable SMS platform or bulk SMS service that enables sending messages to a list of phone numbers, tracking metrics, and personalizing messages.
Step 5. Formulate a Strategy: Develop a plan outlining message content, frequency, and call-to-action.
Step 6. Test and Refine: Experiment with various elements of your SMS campaigns, such as subject lines, message copy, and calls to action, to determine the most effective approach.
Step 7. Utilize SMS Software to Launch and Track Analytics: Get your SMS marketing campaign underway and monitor its success using metrics including open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. You can optimize your campaigns for the greatest performance by leveraging the data.
What to Look for in an SMS Marketing Software?
Below are the key features of text messaging platforms you should keep an eye out for.
- Features: Opt for SMS marketing software with a comprehensive suite of features – such as bulk messaging, scheduling, personalization, and automation – to text message customers most effectively and efficiently.
- Scalability: Ensure that the software can manage the volume of messages you intend to send and adapts to your business growth.
- Analytics: Choose a program that provides extensive analytics and reporting, so you can evaluate the performance of your campaigns and make enlightened decisions to optimize them.
- Ease of use: The software should be user-friendly and easy to navigate, boasting a straightforward and intuitive interface.
- Support: Select software that offers top-notch customer support, so you can get the help you need whenever you need it.
- Flexibility: Pick a highly flexible and customizable program, so you can tweak it to suit your requirements and objectives.
SMS Marketing Ecommerce Best Practices
No doubt, navigating the ultra-competitive eCommerce SMS marketing space can be daunting. With these strategies in place, you’ll be ready to get ahead.
- Abandoned cart reminders
Nudge your customers who have added items to their cart but still need to complete the purchase. Send out a reminder so they can check their cart and encourage them to finish up their purchase.
- Order confirmation and delivery updates
Make sure your customers know when their products have been successfully bought, as well as keep them informed about the progress of their order on its way to them.
- Customer loyalty programs
Reward those customers that keep coming back to you with a loyalty program. Give them a coupon code they can use to get a discount or something special when they purchase something.
Studies show that 71% of customers view loyalty programs as an important part of their relationship with a brand, so make sure to keep them sweet.
- SMS-based customer service
Organizations now provide their customers with support services via a text-based medium, gathering feedback, conducting surveys, and responding to questions.
As SMS is a far speedier channel of communication than most others, businesses are embracing it as a go-to customer service option, enabling them to help customers resolve their problems promptly and with ease.
- Compliance with TCPA and other regulations
In addition to providing a healthy customer experience, companies should also adhere to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and other applicable rules & policies – this ensures that customers’ rights are properly respected.
It would help if you also considered putting measures in place to ensure Opt-ins, Unsubscribes, Transparency, Quiet hours, and avoid using foul language.
- Integration with other marketing channels
Gartner predicts that social media will be the primary way millennials and Gen Zers make purchases by 2026, so don’t rely solely on one option.
Make sure to leverage your marketing channels – from SMS to email, live chat, and Social media – for maximal success. It’s proven that if you text customers after engaging with them through other methods, you can expect a 113% boost in conversion rate.
- Call-To-Actions and Functional Links
Include actionable call-to-actions in each SMS message you send – a link to a landing page or a promo code – to increase your conversions and sales. Trust us, it works.
How BSG Helps Ecommerce Businesses & Retailers
BSG provides advanced features and an intuitive interface that allows e-commerce store owners and retailers to easily connect with their customers in real-time and streamline their sales process.
With our built-in SMS marketing tools, businesses can send targeted campaigns and promotions to specific customer segments to increase their share of voice, user engagement, and ROI.
We also ensure strict adherence to compliance laws and ensure that you are always kept in the loop about regulation updates.
When you partner with BSG, you’re putting your communication into the hands of one of the industry’s most trusted and secure platforms. And if you’re ready to take your retail or eСommerce to the next level, get started with our bulk SMS campaign, or simply contact us for further guidance.