Ecommerce marketing brings about an SMS renaissance

Ecommerce marketing brings about an SMS renaissance

Bonded Agency March 27, 2023

One of the oldest technologies on your phone has been making a quiet comeback.

When mobile phones boomed in the late 90s, SMS was king. But since the advent of the mobile internet, the likes of WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger and more meant that SMS was relegated to an app on many phones that didn’t get much love.

But it’s because of the fact that it’s an unexpected method of communication that brands are once again leveraging it for marketing. And now we’re finding that the older generation and younger generation are joining forces to revive it; according to Yotpo, Baby Boomers and Gen Z are the most responsive to the OG means of communication. Whilst each age group will have their own reasons for turning to text messages, the old kid on the block seems to be making a comeback, 2000s style.

SMS marketing had a good run in the early days of messaging before becoming a haven for spammers, and since then brands have put telephone numbers further down the list in terms of customer data collection. But brands should reconsider this. With the boom in DTC, SMS marketing is making a name for itself again. It might have seemed unlikely a decade ago, but the traditional way of engaging both existing and potential customers directly through their phone messages is back on the rise, with SMS marketing being a new (old) trend that definitely needs to be on your radar.

What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing covers every text sent from a company to a customer, regardless of its intended use. Rather than styling, designing and formatting ads for social media, email, or other channels, perhaps it’s time that brands should be focusing their energy on sending direct SMS messages.

SMS marketing takes on a variety of forms, from promotional text messages aimed at promoting sales (especially those with discounts), or building customer rapport and staying top of mind. A popular method which continues to resonate well with customers is automated order confirmation text messages, which continue to see high engagement rates.

While email quantity continues to increase, so do spam reporting rates. Yet rarely are text messages given the same treatment. According to SMS Comparison, 95% of texts are opened within the first 3 minutes of receiving them, making them an incredibly effective method of reaching a target demographic, even more so when it’s short and snappy. In a world of impersonal contact methods, SMS remain personal and direct.

The one requirement for SMS marketing is that customers subscribe to or enable a business to send them text messages and it’s really that simple. Much like you’d send a text as a conversational method of communication, marketing texts should follow the same format. Brands nowadays are talking to customers as if they’re friends anyway, with cheeky puns and slightly risqué language (and lots of emojis! 😂) thrown into emails and ads, so adopt this persona in a text and you’ll be on the road to ecommerce success.

How can you make SMS marketing work?

According to Yotpo, 37% of people would be likely to make a purchase after receiving a text message from a brand, with Gen Z leading the SMS saviour tribe at 40%. All generations can get involved with texting, making it almost demographic-agnostic, unlike email.

Add to that generational gaps in social media adoption, whereas mobile phone ownership continues to rise around the world, making SMS an accessible method that could even appeal to a bigger audience than related channels.

According to MailChimp, the average opening rate of an email sits at just 21%, a rate which has been fairly flat for years. SMS marks an opportunity that is both salient, timely, and attention-grabbing. Think of Deliveroo’s cheeky Friday 6PM SMS tempting you towards a takeaway, or fast fashions’ payday SMS playing on that new disposable income. Maybe SMS updates for restocks of unavailable items, or VIP announcements of new product drops can reach customers that might otherwise ignore a similar email.

With a little creativity, there are plenty of avenues to add SMS marketing into your brand. With that in mind, here are some other examples we liked:



If you’ve been neglecting SMS marketing as part of your marketing mix, and are unsure where to weave it into your strategy…

Sources and further reading/examples

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