Marketing through SMS campaigns? Businesses still do that?
Yes, yes they do! And in fact, marketing through text messages is gaining momentum again. Now, in 2021, SMS marketing seems to be more relevant than ever. There are currently around 6.4 billion mobile users globally, according to Statista. Therefore, text message marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your new customers.
As competition in e-commerce is rapidly growing, there comes the need for differentiation in one’s marketing strategy in order to stand out. And mobile SMS marketing might be just the solution.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced over 750,000 retail businesses to close their doors under lockdown restrictions, but more than 850,000, in turn, have launched their ecommerce shops or joined online marketplaces, according to research by a digital marketing agency Growth Intelligence. Online is facing fierce competition at the moment, but you can still succeed – as long as you have a relevant and innovative marketing strategy in place.
This is where SMS marketing can do the job. With mobile commerce sales forecasted to reach $3.56 trillion by the end of 2021, according to Statista, online store owners should consider incorporating SMS into their strategy.
It is too good of a distribution channel to neglect in order to grow your sales.
Promoting your business through text messages can be extremely effective for ecommerce stores, due to its highly targeted and engaging nature. Even though email and paid social media ads can be great for business growth, SMS campaigns have got way higher engagement rates and ROI, with open-and-read rates at 98%!
For example, in ecommerce, if you want to encourage repeat purchases or increase your average order value (AOV), SMS campaigns are an excellent way to up-sell and cross-sell, according to a bulk SMS service provider VertexSMS.
For example, SMS campaigns allow e-retail companies to promote their products or services or share delivery updates. When communicating through texts, you can also share some educational content about the product or service you are selling. Instead of offering a 50% discount, you could indirectly promote your brand by sharing information about your products or services. You could also customize your SMS messages according to “buyer personas” to offer a more personalized approach.
This way you are not only selling things, but you are also promoting your ethos and brand story around these products – customers nowadays don’t only buy into products, they also buy into the story around these products.
No matter the industry you are operating in, or the size of your company, SMS marketing can massively improve your marketing metrics and performance. Some of the key statistics from SMS Benchmark report 2021 by Postscript shows that SMS marketing can be extremely effective.
- Text messaging has got one of the highest conversion rates that can reach as high as 9.1% (range is between 1.5% – 9.1%).
- Clickthrough rates are usually somewhere between 7.5% and can go as high as 30.3%.
- Earnings can be as much as $8.11 per message.
- Average consumers check their phone as much as 96 times a day.
- Average SMS open rates are 98%, much higher than around 20% for email.
- Average response rates are 45% vs at 6% for emails.
With the increased competition online, it is important to find ways to improve key performance indicators (KPIs) and increase sales. Either when there is a slow sales period, or peak sales period, SMS marketing can help to optimize sales. Each business has their peaks and lows, therefore it is important to come up with clever ways to either promote or manage these tricky periods.
Below we have brought out some of the key ways to promote your ecommerce business through SMS marketing.
SMS marketing for ecommerce can include:
- Share educating content around your products or services
- Promotions and discounts: % offers or value-based offers
- Deals: buy-1-get-1-free (BOGO) or 2-for-1 deals
- Occasion offers: Black Friday deals, Christmas sales
- Exclusive offers: new product launches, back-in-stock announcements
- Include a call to action to encourage higher engagement
- Drive traffic to your shop page or social media sites
- Promote content on your website
- Send delivery updates and order confirmations
- Encourage your customers to leave feedback and reviews
1. Tommy Hilfiger
Tommy Hilfiger is an American clothing brand that designs and manufacturers branded mens, womens and kids clothing, shoes and accessories. Tommy has been using text message marketing for years. They use SMS notifications to send updates about new exclusive offers, new products or discount offers to their customers under “Tommy Texts” messaging campaigns.
Tommy Hilfiger USA sends out updates each week. The messages usually contain product and sale offers. For example, by adding a link to Tommy Hilfiger web shop they get more traffic to the online shop page, and by offering discounts they encourage customers to not only land on their page, but also to make a purchase.
Macy’s is a very well-known large American department store chain founded in 1858. Macy’s is actually one of the largest department store chains in the US. Their umbrella company also owns the largest retail stores such as Bloomingdales and Bluemercury, which are all very well known internationally for their long history.
Due to their wide target audience – 79% of the shoppers are aged 18 – 49 years, according to Statista, it only makes sense that they use SMS marketing in their communication strategy to reach all consumers across all age categories and demographics.
To be honest, there is nothing too innovative in Macy’s SMS marketing strategy, but it works. Macy’s updates their customers regularly about exclusive sales, flash sales, promotions & offers or special deals on their products. However, what sets them apart is consistency in their communication – Macy’s sends SMS messages twice a week to engage with their audience and therefore is always in their customers’ minds.
But you don’t want to overwhelm your customers – therefore, always track your opt-out and opt-in and engagement statistics, and change how often you send out updates accordingly!
IKEA,very well-known for each one of us, is a large Swedish furniture retailer selling ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen appliances, home & living accessories, lamps and everything that comes with it. IKEA was founded in 1943 and has held the title of largest furniture retailer since 2008.
Home and living sector experienced significant growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, and so did Swedish furniture retailer IKEA. They have expanded with their ecommerce operations – new online stores in the Philippines and Mexico, as well as their brick-and-mortar shops – looking at new store space on Oxford Street.
Due to their wide audience and large demographics, SMS marketing has been a crucial communication channel to reach customers in each country across every age group.
IKEA has not only achieved the status of biggest SMS marketing success story, but has also taken up innovative strategies that go beyond promotions and offers. IKEA leverages SMS notifications to grow sales viacontests and loyalty programs.Loyalty programs are key to motivate existing customers to return, according to a customer service solutions provider HelpCenter.
For example, each month they run mobile contests for a chance to win a $500 IKEA gift card, by texting keyword “WINNER” to short code 62345.
IKEA promotes their loyalty programs by urging customers to opt-in via SMS.
Shein operates out of China, but is largely known in the US with the highest market share. Fast fashion clothing retailer Shein started their operations as an online pure-player. Due to huge success with their online sales, they have recently also launched physical pop-up store locations in larger cities and hubs.
Their target market is mostly Gen-Z and Millennials, which is why using SMS marketing is a clever choice. SMS can be a powerful tool to reach the younger generations – 78% of Gen-Z and 74% of Millennials have said mobile is their most important device for online activities, according to a research conducted by Snapchat.
Shein leverages SMS in their marketing campaigns to distribute sales offers and promotions, always also sharing the link to their page to increase traffic. By offering discounts and sharing a link to their page via SMS messages, Shein encourages browsing and increased spending.
This strategy can be very effective to reach higher conversion rates – 79% of leads never get converted to sales, according to a survey by a digital marketing company Attrock.
Goodwill operates an online thrift store marketplace, as well as several brick-and-mortar thrift shops across the US. Goodwill is a nonprofit organization that provides employment help and community-based programs to help people find jobs.
Goodwill takes a slightly different approach to their SMS strategy. Their SMS marketing program combines sending SMS notifications about their goodwill services, combining the messages with promotions, discounts and rewards in order to thank their loyal customers for donations and support. Their subscribers get extra offers and special discounts to promote spending in their stores or online.
Quay is an Australian sunglasses brand that also sells accessories and jewelry. Taking inspiration from the sunny Australian coast, their sunglasses reflect the beach lifestyle, which also comes across in their SMS marketing strategy.
Quays’ focus is on online promotions and exclusive offers distribution through SMS notifications. What is more, they incorporate colorful images to visualize their special deals in order to engage more with their customers.
Quay seems to promote their products through SMS especially through buy-1-get-1-free (BOGO) deals, a free pair of frames or 2-for-1 offers. With these kinds of deals, they also always share a link to their page to increase traffic and encourage further spending.
With constant changes in the retail and ecommerce industry, it is hard to keep up with the consumer preferences. However, to maintain and grow sales, SMS notifications are a great way to catch the attention of new audiences, as well as maintain your loyal customer base.
Texting is more than relevant in 2021, due to declining performance and rising costs of other digital marketing channels such as paid social media ads. For example, Facebook ad cost has been consistently rising since 2018, however, the performance has declined. This can be due to an oversaturated market and more ecommerce businesses investing heavily in PPC marketing.
Therefore, it is time to get innovative in order to stay ahead of the competition – incorporating SMS marketing into your marketing strategy can help to do just that. While it is impossible to predict what will happen over the course of next few years, it does seem like SMS marketing is gaining more momentum and is worth investing in.
About the Author
Kadi Arula is a Content Writer with extensive knowledge and background in the e-commerce industry. She has got several years of experience in working at large Fashion & Retail companies in the UK and Germany. She loves finding ways to help customers grow and enjoys contributing with helpful content and thought leadership articles.