5 Clear Signs It's Time to Add SMS Marketing to Your Store

SMS Marketing stands out this year because it’s fast, cost-efficient, and keeps the conversation going with your customers.

But with a low margin for error and how well it plays with other eCommerce marketing channels, it’s a surprise how the potential of SMS marketing still remains largely untapped. But not for long.

Why? Because the word is spreading fast. SMS marketing is quickly becoming one of the best options for brands that want to rise above the noise and reach their customers. 

Seriously, there’s no better way to get your message across and drive instant action.

Plus, with mobile commerce set to account for 54% of eCommerce sales this year, jumping on the SMS marketing bandwagon also means you’ll be meeting your customers where they prefer to shop. 

Before we dive right into the 5 telltale signs your store could benefit from the instant advantages of SMS, let’s first take a look at how it gives you the competitive edge you’re looking for.

The Benefits of SMS Marketing For Your Shopify Store 

Can SMS marketing grant you your Shopify success story in 2021? Yes, but only if you get it right. With online retail competition at an all time high, it’s even more important to stand out from the crowd. 

SMS Marketing is steadily growing into one of the best options that you can add to your marketing mix. But hold on, before you ditch your email marketing and paid channels, let’s first check out the highlights of what SMS has to offer.

SMS marketing has higher open rates and click-through rates than email

We don’t mean to toot our own horn here but the open rates of SMS guarantee almost 100% of the text messages you send will be opened by your shoppers. 

SMS open rates clock in at a whopping 98% compared to email at 20%. 

While emails can go unopened from 90 minutes to days in a customer’s inbox, text messages are generally opened within 90 seconds of delivery. It’s pretty awesome, so we summarised it in a neat graphic below for you. 

sms marketing

Source: Cartloop 

Comparing the average click-through rates, SMS comes out as the clear winner at a solid 19%. This beats email and the 2% average CTR of PPC ads

Build Better Relationships with Instant Engagement

Implementing an SMS channel for your Shopify store is a surefire way to increase the chances of your messages being seen by your customers, clinching that sale, and building stronger relationships with them.

98% in open rates— almost all the text messages you send will be opened by the recipient.

While high open rates do lend a compounding effect on deliverability and making sure your marketing messages get in front of your customers, does it provoke a response?

You bet. SMS boasts a 45% average response rate— and a 209% higher response rate compared to emails and phone calls. 

So you’re probably wondering about email or SMS, which should you choose? 

You don’t have to. Both channels complement each other perfectly to craft a highly effective two-punch marketing message your customers can’t ignore. 

5 Signs Your Shopify Store Needs SMS Marketing

With the benefits under our belts, let's look at five common challenges that can be overcome with the right SMS marketing strategy.

#1 Stubborn cart abandonment rates 

70% of eCommerce shopping carts get abandoned. And in 2020, the rate of cart abandonment was up at a shocking 88%. Yikes! 

Interestingly enough, we found that the top 3 reasons for cart abandonment out of 500k text conversations was: payment issues, unexpected fees, and technical issues. 

Here are 8-steps you can take for a more conversational approach to cart recovery texts: 

  1. Automate a cart recovery text message to trigger 30-minutes after a shopper abandons a cart
  2. Add some personalized touches to your message by introducing yourself, this alone already sets you apart from the usual bulk SMS sends ✨
  3. Remind them where you’re texting from 
  4. Establish yourself as a point of contact for further assistance 
  5. Offer to understand their situation, and you’re there to help them find a solution 
  6. Make it hard for them to say no by offering an incentive; a discount, free shipping, or alternative payment options 
  7. Send them a shortened branded link to the checkout page
  8. Guide them through the checkout process again 

Cart recovery texts don’t have to be strictly transactional, and it gives great results too. See how LEVO drove 28x in ROI in just one month by initiating real-time conversations after their shoppers abandon their carts.

Bonus: Sms marketing For Optimized Cart Recovery

So if you’re reeling from the revenue you lost from the last 30 days due to unrecovered abandoned shopping carts, try sending your abandoned shoppers a text instead.  

Here’s an optimized and conversational template of a cart recovery SMS that you can use:

sms marketing template

#2 Low ROI and Poor Email Marketing Performance

A clear diagnosis of lackluster email marketing performance is low opens, click-through rates, and conversions, and high unsubscription rates. In other words, you’re not hitting that 4400% in email ROI that was promised. 

Thanks to the combined power of an SMS marketing channel and Shopify’s seamless integrations, it’s easy for you to set up a two-pronged marketing strategy using email and SMS. 

The best part of this is, SMS doesn’t compete and cannibalize the efficacy of your email campaigns, but packs on the added urgency to provoke action from your customers. 

Here’s what a great omnichannel marketing campaign with email and SMS looks like:

  1. Day 1: Send a sales Email Campaign announcing a new product launch or limited sitewide sale
  2. 48 Hours Later: Customers get a text message to remind them of the ongoing discount and drive urgency
  3. 4-5 Days After: Shoppers receive a reminder text message to offer a step-up discount and further incite major FOMO (fear of missing out) 
  4. Day 7: Send a Last Day Email Campaign to notify them of the final days of the sale

It’s a strategic cross-channel way to heighten the sense of urgency and supercharge those conversions. 

Whether you choose to send a text-based or html email, you’ll know best what your customers prefer. If not, you can find out through rigorous AB testing or just reach out to them directly with two-way SMS campaigns

Having two different channels working hard for you to reach your customers anywhere is possible using Shopify’s platform and offers a great way to unify your customer’s data. Just remember to choose a complete and fully managed SMS marketing app for Shopify so you can easily measure and optimize your ROI. 

#3 Struggling to Keep Up with Customer Support Tickets 

96% of consumers have said that the deciding factor when purchasing and completing an order is hinged on the quality of customer service of your Shopify Store. 

But adding the human factor to personalize your customers’ shopping experience doesn’t have to be rocket science. It’s as easy as striking up a conversation. 

This is why 25 eCommerce experts have shared why conversational marketing could be the next big thing this 2021

Here’s what separates great customer experience from the bad: 

  • Avail multiple touchpoints needed for resolution
  • Offering an effective solution in the first contact
  • Timely resolution of the problem
  • Valuing customers time and feedback
  • Positive customer service etiquette
  • Providing accurate and honest information
  • Personalized communication: No automated bots

See some prime examples below of how SMS marketing with a conversational approach can help save your team from drowning in customer support tickets: 

sms marketing

If you feel as if these responses were from a real person, you’re absolutely right! Which brings us to our next point. 

#4 Disengaged Customers and High Churn 

Visualize your brand’s customer journey. Can you pinpoint the crucial touchpoints where your customers are most likely to drop off from your sales funnel? 

We don’t mean to scare you but a bad customer experience will cost you and impact your overall brand. Here’s what it can look like:

  1. High customer churn rate: One bad experience can be just the thing for a customer to buy from someone else
  2. Poor business sustainability: Losing your loyal customers? Customer lifetime value (CLTV) is a strong predictor of long-term viability, and loyalty and brand image go hand in hand.
  3. Higher customer acquisition costs: When one customer walks out, another walks in right? Not so much. A new customer costs up to five times more than retaining an existing one.

With its high open rates and instant engagement over the other channels, SMS is a key player in closing the gaps in your customer journey and humanizing your customer-brand interaction.

The instances where customers really need your undivided attention in customer support can be surmised in two succinct words: pre-purchase and post-purchase. 

Let’s narrow it down for you. These are the 3 critical instances when your customers will reach out to you and the corresponding text message you should send:

  1. Pre-Purchase: Product-specific questions, payment issues, or choice paralysis - Send a cart recovery text to guide them back to the checkout to complete their purchase
  1. Post-purchase: Shipment and tracking updates, or order cancellation - Message shoppers using a dedicated phone number so that shoppers can reach out with questions at any moment within a single conversation. 
  1. Late/Post-Purchase: Order arrived did not meet their expectations, you haven’t heard from them in a while - Send a two-way SMS campaign to re-engage inactive customers, verify an item’s delivery, or a kind reminder that a product is back in stock 

Crafting personalized customer experiences is a solid business strategy to drive more shoppers to your business and keep customers returning. Get some ideas from these conversational SMS marketing examples that got it right. 

#5 Underperforming BFCM/Seasonal Campaigns 

We saved the best for last here. The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are the biggest eCommerce holiday of the year aside from Boxing Day and Thanksgiving. 

It’s time to roll out your best discounts and best practices. But because you only have 7 days to capitalize on the trillions in BFCM sales revenue, you’d want to make it count. 

Here’s what a great seasonal strategy using an omnichannel, multi-step approach with email and SMS looks like:

  • Day 1: Send out a Sales Announcement email campaign to notify your customers a week before the sales start. A sale will perform better when you create hype prior to launch.
  • Day 3: Follow up your email announcement with a Sales Announcement SMS, here you can drive a sense of urgency by counting down the days left to the start of your sales
  • Day 5: Send a Pre-Sales Countdown SMS to incite FOMO, drive urgency and notify them they can standby for the sales starting in 2 days and start adding items to cart.

If it works for your brand, you can launch an early bird sale here with an accompanying well-designed email to encourage them to start buying now even before the main sales day

  • Day 7: Send out a Start of Sales Email and SMS to announce the start of the sales and guide them to your website
  • Day 8: Send a Sales Closing SMS to thank them for their support and opens up a channel for shoppers to text back with any questions

And this strategy doesn’t just apply to the BFCM sales holiday, feel free to test it out during any upcoming sales and watch how hard SMS works for your Shopify store. 

Wrap Up: How to Use SMS for Your Shopify Store

So have you figured out if your Shopify store needs to add-on an SMS marketing channel? Let’s recap the 5 clear signs you should look out for: 

  1. Stubborn cart abandonment rates
  2. Low ROI from Poor email marketing performance 
  3. Struggling to keep up with mounting customer support tickets 
  4. Disengaged customers and high churn rates
  5. Lackluster BFCM and seasonal campaigns

Do take note that when you’re building your SMS mailing list, there is the subject of TCPA and CTIA compliance. Not to worry, we’ve covered it here complete with a free 10-step checklist for SMS compliance here.

Start a Conversation via SMS Marketing Today

Conversational SMS marketing is about creating lasting experiences from fleeting transactions. So if you haven't explored the possibilities of SMS marketing this year, why not take a conversational approach? 

Here’s how you can make your text messages sound more human:

👋 Say hi and include your customer's name

❓ Directly address their questions

🕺 Don't be afraid to show your brand's personality

💡 Ask if there's anything else you can do to help

💬 Let them know you're only a text away

This is just step 5 from a step-by-step guide we wrote on: How to get SMS marketing right in 2021. Explore all 5 steps today to get your SMS marketing game off the ground for your Shopify store this 2020!  

With the right frequency and message, SMS marketing can quickly go from intrusive to effective.

Author Bio:

Jun-Li Yong is a content marketer at Cartloop. Cartloop helps Shopify brands recover 31% more abandoned carts with 24/7 live experts who are texting customers in real-time. Humanize your entire customer lifecycle with a conversational text marketing platform that specializes in recovering those "annoying" abandoned carts.

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