Ever thought of SMS marketing as a bit of a hassle? Worried that sending texts from your brand may risk annoying your customers? If so, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for retailers to initially show a little hesitancy towards SMS marketing if they’re not familiar with the lucrative opportunity that surrounds it.
Yet there’s plenty of research that highlights this opportunity – some of which we’ll explore in this article.
Ultimately, SMS is taking the digital marketing world by storm. If you haven’t thought about weaving SMS into your marketing strategy, here are some compelling reasons to embrace SMS marketing.
What is SMS marketing?
With the majority of customers shopping on their smartphones, SMS is a great way to get your brand in front of them. As with email, customers have to explicitly opt in to receive SMS marketing, which means recipients are highly engaged and happy to receive your texts. However, unlike email marketing, SMS messages are short-form, with a single, clear call to action, and generally result in faster engagement times.
SMS can be used both for transactional messages – providing information on an order, payment, shipment, or subscription – or promotional messages – to let customers know about new offers and promotions.
Rather than being a burden for your marketing team, SMS marketing can be fully automated, with flows sending customised messages, triggered by specific events. These flows run in the background, providing seamless communication with your customers.
Still unsure about how effective SMS marketing will be for your business? Let’s take a closer look at some of the latest statistics on SMS marketing.
Top statistics to show the value of SMS marketing
1. Sky-high open rates
SMS messages have exceptionally high open rates, with recent research revealing that as many as 98% of people who receive a marketing SMS will open it.1 As such, your messages are more likely to be seen by your target audience on SMS compared to other communication channels.
The brevity and reliability of SMS messages makes them ideal for both regular and priority communication with your customers, such as cart abandonment messages, order confirmations or delivery reminders.
2. Immediate delivery and read
SMS messages are delivered instantly, and people tend to read them promptly. Incredibly, 97% of SMS messages are opened and read within 15 minutes of delivery.2 This makes SMS an effective channel for time-sensitive promotions, announcements, or critical information.
3. Direct and personalised communication
SMS allows for direct and personalised communication with your audience. You can tailor messages based on customer preferences, behaviour, or demographics, creating a more individualised and engaging experience.
What’s more, 37% of participants in a recent survey affirmed that receiving SMS messages from a brand would make them more likely to purchase from that brand again.3 With this in mind, why not consider personalised product recommendations or discounts based on customer interaction?
4. Wide reach
Nearly two thirds (65%) of the world’s population owns a mobile phone, with the number of global smartphone users estimated at 5.25 billion in 2023.4 That’s 98% more people than just seven years ago, and the numbers are ever-increasing.
SMS marketing is therefore a highly accessible channel. You can reach a broad and diverse audience, including those who may not have regular access to the Internet. If your brand is active in regions where Internet connections are less reliable, SMS could be a useful tool to keep customers informed.
5. Incredible engagement rates
SMS messages lead to higher engagement rates, with many consumers willing to take immediate action, such as clicking on links, making purchases, or participating in promotions.
In a recent Yotpo survey, more than 57% of consumers said they’d subscribe to SMS messages in order to receive information about promotions, offers and updates immediately. Additionally, 55% of respondents favour SMS over other marketing channels due to its immediacy and convenience.5
SMS marketing is typically permission-based, meaning customers opt-in to receive messages. This ensures that your messages are reaching an audience that is already interested in your products or services. Even so, it’s wise to segment your users according to their engagement – for example, those who have been inactive for over 30 or 60 days – and adjust your communication accordingly. This will avoid overloading unengaged users with content they don’t want and help to reduce unsubscribe rates.
Compared to some other marketing channels, SMS marketing can be very cost-effective. Whilst you pay per message, SMS doesn’t require extensive resources for content creation, and SMS campaigns can therefore be executed quickly. Unlike with email or social posts, there is often no need for visual styling of the message, so you won’t always require designers or developers to keep to your brand guidelines.
In terms of return on investment (ROI), SMS marketing platform Postscript cites an incredible 34x ROI average across all their customers.6 That said, the costs of sending your SMS can vary, so it’s important to weigh up the costs and ROI of every campaign. Some platforms offer monthly rates accompanied by a set number of messages, whilst with others you can pay per message. MMS generally cost more, depending on which service you use, and you will also need to pay for keywords. For example, if you ask subscribers to text FEDORA to 55734, you’ll need to pay for the use of FEDORA.
Email marketing is another highly cost-effective channel for ecommerce retailers. Take a look at our article discussing the ROI of email marketing for comparison.
7. First-party data
57% of brands have claimed that rising customer acquisition costs are posing a direct threat to their sales goals.7 Increased phasing out of third-party cookies by tech giants means that brands need to look for new ways to gather information about and reach their customers.
SMS is a valuable channel for collecting first-party customer data that can be used to retarget shoppers across other channels. SMS surveys are the perfect tool to directly ask your customers for feedback about their shopping experience, preferences, and behaviours.
In this article, Swanky’s Data Strategist Millie Cheong explores how to leverage surveys throughout your customer journey to gather qualitative data about your shoppers.
8. Your competitors don’t do it (yet)
Recent data shows that 61% of marketers still don’t use SMS marketing, so implementing it as a strategy could gain you an advantage over your competitors.8 Being the first to drop into your customers’ SMS inboxes will give you the novelty factor and entice customers to engage.
That said, 73% of businesses plan to expand their budgets for text messaging marketing soon, so if you leave it too late, you may instead risk getting left behind!
9. Increased sales and revenue
92% of consumers shop on their smartphone, compared with 62% who shop on a desktop, so SMS meets your customers where they are.9 What’s more, nearly 3 in 4 consumers have made a purchase as a result of a text message sent from a brand.
With its ability to drive immediate action, direct from mobile, SMS marketing can have a significant impact on sales and revenue. Whether through promotions, discounts, or exclusive offers, SMS prompts immediate engagement from customers. Which means more transactions for your store.
How to get started with SMS marketing
Convinced by the numbers? If you’re thinking about using SMS marketing, but are unsure where to start, here are some of the ways our clients are leveraging SMS marketing to communicate with their customers.
1. Welcome new customers
Whether it’s a personalised welcome text or relevant product recommendations based on their previous purchases, SMS messages can be tailored to help your customer feel valued and connected.
Swanky’s SMS specialists introduced an automated welcome series for a prominent baby and kids retailer based in New York. SMS subscribers are sent a message immediately after subscribing, complete with a welcome discount code and link to the website. This welcome series has generated a 22.5% click rate and a 4.7% conversion rate, exceeding Klaviyo’s benchmarks.
2. Improve post-purchase experience
SMS order confirmation and delivery reminders will help to avoid missed deliveries and improve customer satisfaction. You can text customers on the day of their delivery, and provide a link to where they can reschedule the delivery if they won’t be at home.
3. Reduce abandoned cart rates
If a registered customer abandons a purchase, sending them a reminder by SMS is a quick and easy way to get that product back on their radar.
For a US-based baby product retailer, Swanky created an abandoned cart flow whereby SMS subscribers are sent a message reminding them of items left in their cart, including a dynamic link to take them to the website. Consumers can head straight to the checkout directly from their smartphone and complete their order. We saw a click rate of 13.6% and a conversion rate of 2%, for orders that otherwise might have been long forgotten.
4. Reduce subscriber churn rate
Communicating regularly with your subscribers helps to build trust and ensures they feel in control of their subscription. You can use SMS to remind them when their next order is due, tell them how to amend their order, or instruct them how to easily change their delivery details to keep their deliveries running smoothly.
Check out our article on how to boost retention amongst your subscribers using SMS to find out more on this.
5. Generate customer feedback
As discussed above, SMS is a great way to ask for product reviews, with minimum effort required from customers. Consider creating an SMS customer review flow following every order, with an initial text that is quick and easy for your customers to respond to. Plus, as they will already be on their mobile, you can encourage customers to take a photo or video to include in the review.
6. Check in with your loyal customers
If you already have an ecommerce loyalty program in place, SMS is a great way to check in regularly with your customers, to remind them of how many points they have and offer exclusive promotions. If you know a customer’s birthday, you could send them a birthday message with a surprise discount code.
7. Win back inactive customers
If customers have been inactive for a certain period, you can use SMS to entice them back with timely promotions. It could just be that their emails are sliding into their spam folder, whereas they’ll have a greater chance of seeing a text message. Include a link to your website that will automatically apply a discount to their next order.
8. Promote new products or holiday sales
Due to the immediate nature of SMS, you can use it to promote time-sensitive or seasonal promotions, or to make customers feel like they are among the first to know about an exciting new product launch.
Need help with your SMS marketing?
SMS marketing statistics demonstrate that this channel is not only effective but also essential for businesses aiming to maximise their reach and engagement.
The landscape of marketing is constantly evolving, and SMS marketing has emerged as a powerhouse in the digital realm. Swanky’s digital marketing team has years of experience helping brands stay ahead of the curve in their marketing efforts. If you’re unsure where to start with setting up your SMS marketing automation, our team can provide support.
Get in touch with our SMS marketing experts for help to maximise your revenue through SMS marketing.