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The Benefits of SMS Marketing for Retail

You’re probably already using email marketing in your retail business, cultivating lists of subscribers, telling your company’s story to new customers, and nurturing your relationship with existing ones.

But if you’re not also using SMS marketing, you might not be developing that relationship as effectively as you could. There are aspects of business communication that text messaging excels at and a whole generation of consumers who will never answer a phone call but will open texts within seconds. With that in mind, it stands to reason that both email and SMS marketing should be part of an omnichannel marketing plan. Incorporating SMS messaging into your marketing efforts could reap clear benefits for your business.

Benefit #1: People Read Texts

One of the biggest advantages to SMS marketing is its open rate. 98% of text messages are read, with 95% being read within three minutes of being received. Compare those numbers to email, where open rates hover around 25% and click-through rates are a dire 2%. This isn’t to say that email is useless, or that SMS campaigns should replace email campaigns. But it should be clear that text messaging has an advantage over email for urgent communication. Announcing limited-time offers or providing reminders are two powerful ways to drive traffic to your ecommerce site.

Benefit #2: Issuing Calls to Action

Since nearly all text messages are read and responded to almost instantly, it makes sense to harness this tool to announce promotions, sales, and other limited-time offers. Traditional advertising is useful for brand awareness and email is great for education and storytelling, but SMS marketing excels at creating a sense of urgency and eliciting a quick response. Flash sales, promo codes, product launches and preorders, and messages like “only one in stock” are all great uses of text messaging.

Text messaging removes obstacles from the buyer journey by making things quick and easy. Difficult to navigate websites, text-heavy emails, and lots of products to consider can prevent consumers from arriving at the end of their journey, which is choosing your product.

A quick text can also help increase email open and click-through rates. If you have an important message going out, you might also want to set up an SMS campaign reminding subscribers to look for something special in their email inbox.

Benefit #3: Solving Cart Abandonment Issues

Customers begin shopping online but fail to reach checkout for a number of reasons. Some intend to shop around for a better deal before coming back to complete the transaction, some were just browsing, and others simply forgot they had put the item in their cart. If they have already opted in to text messaging, you can send them a friendly reminder that they still have items in their cart. This reminder can also include a link to a live chat where customers can get help with any technical or payment issues that may have prevented them from checking out.

Benefit #4: Customer Service Made Easy

Waiting on hold, working through menus, and being passed from agent to agent…SMS messaging eliminates all of these frustrations. Need I say more?

Benefit #5: Ease of Use

On top of all the other benefits of SMS marketing, campaigns are easy to set up. They are not as text-heavy as email campaigns, so they don’t take as long to write, and they don’t require any additional graphic design or artistic elements—other than judicious emoji usage, of course.

Using SMS Marketing Effectively

If you already have a strong email list (or even if you don’t!), give subscribers the opportunity to opt in to receive text messages. There are legal hoops to jump through, of course: you must get unambiguous written consent, you can only send messages at certain hours of the day, and so on. But as long as you don’t spam subscribers and use text messaging sparingly and for the right reasons, you’ll have an effective tool for reaching consumers where they are: on their smartphones.

25% of smartphone users prefer getting business communication via text. That seems low, but it is second only to email, preferred by 46% of users. Among Millennial and Gen Z consumers, text is the preferred medium of communication. These consumers especially love receiving reminders and promotional offers via text message. It’s all part of an increasing preference for fast, personalized interaction with businesses. Keep those customers engaged through SMS marketing.