When it comes to running a successful eCommerce business, new avenues of customer acquisition and conversions must be pursued constantly.
Sending out daily social media posts or flooding a prospect’s inbox with random newsletter notifications and promotions isn’t enough to drive consistent growth alone.
Instead, you need to connect with consumers on multiple levels that keep them interacting with your products and services 24/7. Yes, social media, email, and ads are all helpful, but why not tap right into the source of a customer’s life with SMS?
Success for your business relies on immediate communication, and with SMS, you can bypass a lot of downtime to get fast results. To help get you started on the right foot, here’s how you can leverage SMS to increase eCommerce sales in no time:
SMS Marketing: a Quick Rundown
Similar to email marketing strategies, SMS marketing focuses on sending updates, promotions, discounts, and reminders directly to a customer’s mobile phone number.
For example, whenever you order a package on Amazon and you finish confirming everything online, chances are that you’ll receive an SMS notification of the purchase. Or, if you order a pizza from Domino’s, you can arrange to have the delivery status of your pizza sent to you via SMS so you know exactly when your dinner is going to arrive.
This same concept works for a variety of notifications. Below are just some of the messages that companies can send to customers who enroll in SMS services:
- Purchase confirmations
- Welcome messages
- Birthday texts
- Industry updates
- Breaking news alerts
Plus, the user engagement rates for SMS have a clear advantage over email marketing that any eCommerce business owner can enjoy. Here are some important stats to know about SMS success and user engagement:
- 94% of all SMS messages are read within the first 5 minutes upon receiving them
- Open rates for SMS are up to 98%
- 45% of contacts respond to SMS messages they receive from brands
- 65% of brands have no strategy in place for SMS marketing
Based on these stats alone, you can easily see the potential for SMS marketing throughout your sales funnel. Not to mention, if you can develop an SMS strategy and be consistent with its efforts, you create a huge edge over your competitors who may have no strategy in place whatsoever.
In essence, all you need is a business SMS platform to help you launch a successful strategy. Once you have one in place, then you can start using SMS to drive eCommerce sales.
Successful Ways to Use SMS
With the basics out of the way, you can start targeting certain audiences with the right SMS strategies. Of course, you can be as creative as you want with SMS outreach, but to give you an idea of what works best, here are some successful ways to use SMS throughout your marketing efforts:
Seasonal or Time-Based Promotions
Essentially, these are promotions that only run for a period of time or they are normal promotions that are close to ending.
For instance, if your brand is hosting a flash sale online for a 48-hour period, then you can notify SMS subscribers about the start date and time and send them further messages about how much time is remaining.
On the other hand, if your regular Fall season sale is coming to a close with blowout prices, you can send SMS messages to customers with a special discount code to take advantage of the remaining sale days before it’s too late.
Either way, you can create urgency in your SMS campaign that invites the customer to get involved and brings them value by letting them know how much they can save on products and services they love.
Subscriptions Confirmations and Purchase Details
Along with promotions, SMS is the perfect way to send subscriptions confirmations and purchase details for customers.
Specifically for subscriptions, you can have text messages sent to customers who subscribe to your newsletter online and offer them a special link to a discounted item as a thank you gift for signing up. Then, once they make a purchase, you can support them even more by offering real-time updates via SMS of their purchase details. This may include a link to a virtual receipt, status updates of the item’s delivery, or a link to cancel the item if any problems arise.
SMS provides a chance to streamline the ordering process while giving customers peace of mind against the issues that online shipping sometimes causes.
Abandoned Cart Updates
One of the biggest issues that eCommerce businesses face is when a customer abandons their shopping cart in the middle of the buying process.
On average, the usual cart abandonment rate for online brands is between 60-80%. However, using SMS to send reminders to customers provides an impactful way to cut down on lost/forgotten revenue.
Once again, open rates for SMS or well over 90%, so you can almost guarantee that a customer is going to see your cart abandonment message and be forced to make a decision. That being said, make sure to send your SMS reminders at the right time.
If you wait too long, customers may consider your message as spam and decide to unsubscribe, and if you send one too soon, customers may find you pushy and decide not to buy from you altogether.
Try to find a happy medium of response times and position your SMS notifications as helpful reminders. You can even accompany your messages with a special discount to further entice customers to make a purchase.
Other Key SMS Abilities
Finally, there are some other key SMS abilities that your brand can take advantage of to increase eCommerce sales. These include:
Special Day Notices: Think birthdays and major holidays that allow you to send SMS messages with a personal touch and CTA for customers to interact with.
Customer Feedback: SMS creates a great opportunity for brands to quickly ask for customer feedback after a purchase is made online or even in-store. Simply send a message asking the customer to rate their overall experience. They can receive a discount code or perk for doing so, and you have a chance to improve your CSAT score in the process.
Cyclical Customer Purchases: These include targeted messages that you can send to certain segmented lists of people who purchase the same products and services on a routine basis. For instance, if you have a bulk of customers who always buy coffee after a two-week period, then once the two weeks are up, hit them with a targeted SMS message with a link to buy more coffee at a better price—it’s that simple!
Customer Support: This is critical to the success of any eCommerce business. SMS gives your support representatives the ability to communicate from anywhere at any time with customers. A customer can text in a question and support teams can respond from an email or phone.
Using Email and SMS Together
As successful as SMS is for generating eCommerce sales, you shouldn’t forget about the power of email marketing completely.
In the end, developing a holistic approach to your marketing strategy that uses email and SMS together will produce the best results.
After all, whenever inviting a customer to subscribe to your website or newsletter or points program, you should ask for a variety of information for them to fill out—their email address, phone number, city, age, etc.. With all of that information at hand, then you can target them as many ways as you want to get them to make a purchase.
About the Author
Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between businesses and more than 7,000 local Chambers of Commerce worldwide.