Over 60% of global web traffic comes from mobile devices, and if we talk about the total internet traffic, this number jumps way higher to a whopping 92.3%.

Additionally, another report revealed that over 40% of eCommerce sales in the retail industry have been coming from mobile devices. This figure is expected to continue rising.

Successful mobile marketing strategies have captured the attention of huge global audiences.

If you're already using some form of mobile marketing for eCommerce target audiences, you might think that a single channel is enough for product promotion and building a powerful connection with your target audience. However, it's necessary to consider a more holistic approach to your eCommerce marketing strategy because every consumer has a different preferred communication method.

This article will share valuable insights about using SMS marketing for eCommerce. We will also go over a couple of other mobile channels you can adopt alongside eCommerce SMS marketing to build more effective omnichannel campaigns.

Adopting SMS marketing for eCommerce

The premise of SMS marketing is that you reach out to potential or existing customers via text messages. These are messages sent over the cell network, which means the recipient can get them without internet or mobile data on all types of SMS-enabled mobile devices—even feature phones!

As with other mobile advertising formats, a convenient subscriber opt-in and opt-out policy is a good business practice for eCommerce texting campaigns—in fact, it's mandatory for all kinds of promotional texts almost everywhere in the world. And you get bonus points for letting customers know in advance how often they can expect promotional text messages from your business.

You can send many types of SMS messages to your customers as part of your eCommerce marketing efforts.

Bulk text messages can comprise helpful information about products and new offerings. They tend to be more promotional in nature. Product features and benefits can be included and shared with massive local or global target markets in this way. You can also make important announcements through one-way texting.

Then there are transactional messages. These are usually automatically sent out when any new sales-related event or activity occurs. For example, suppose your customer just placed an order. You can send an SMS saying: “Thanks for placing an order with ABC Store. Your order total is $164.75. We'll send you an update as soon as it's shipped out.” Or, let's say, during the checkout process, a user did not pay for their purchase; you could text them a reminder about that. Similarly, prompt eCommerce SMS notifications can be sent out to all the customers whose orders have been dispatched and are on their way to them.

It's a good idea to use efficient SMS marketing software from a reputable provider for your text message campaigns. You can easily use such a platform for contact database management, text message scheduling and automation, reporting and analytics, and other features. Your provider will manage all the telecom-related technicalities so you can focus on running your campaign and achieving the best results. With a good SMS service for eCommerce, you can adjust your tactics to align with customer responses, conversion rates, and other crucial performance metrics.

Why brands need eCommerce SMS marketing

We've already seen how important it is to reach out to customers via mobile in this day and age.

The sky-high SMS open rates are another key reason many businesses quickly adopt SMS marketing for eCommerce. One recent survey found that up to 98% of SMS advertising campaign messages are definitely opened and read by recipients. Moreover, stats indicate that up to 95% of SMSes are opened quickly, too—within 5 minutes! These numbers are proof of the levels of efficacy of SMS as a valuable mobile marketing strategy.

SMS mobile marketing is cost-efficient, rapid, has an extensive reach, and is a highly personal communication technique. Response rates are high, so you must establish and properly segment your target market for the best results. Creating an informative message that appeals to people is necessary. Your copy should also include a call-to-action, inculcating a desire to purchase.

Overall, using SMS for eCommerce mobile marketing has proven successful in creating brand awareness, boosting sales, increasing customer engagement, and driving growth for a new business

All the studies and surveys we've cited so far don't lie. In fact, they're very tempting. But it's important to exercise caution.

Formulating and implementing effective SMS marketing strategies can be more challenging than you think because even consensual text messages can go two ways: they can make a customer fall in love with your company or kill their desire to use your products. So how do you create a brilliant strategy to promote your eCommerce business that will hit the sweet spot? Our five tips will help you design successful SMS campaigns and increase sales, so let's dive in.

5 tips for running effective eCommerce SMS marketing campaigns

Crafting the perfect SMS marketing messages, all while staying within a 160-character limit and keeping all your campaign goals in mind, is nothing short of art. Let's find out how you can master this art and get the most out of your SMS marketing efforts.

1. Know your audience

You can always write an excellent message, but your efforts will be in vain if you send it to the wrong person. For instance, a teenager is unlikely to buy a cream that targets wrinkles. So, it's necessary to gather defining information about your customers, such as their age, purchase history, interests, location, etc. Segment your audience according to these characteristics.

Accurate segmentation will target the right messages to the right people and help you personalise them so they resonate with each of your SMS subscribers and successfully attract them.

Young woman checking her smartphone for SMS messages

2. Be clear

You have a limited number of characters to describe your offer. That's why it's necessary to do your best and express your thoughts clearly when writing SMS copy. Your message shouldn't contain uncommon abbreviations, complicated terminology, or strange symbols. Don't overdo it with the emojis if you decide to include any. Also, avoid writing the entire text (or big chunks of it) in all caps; you don't want your subscribers to think you're yelling.

In trying to follow all these rules, don't forget to include the most pertinent information about your offer in the message. For instance, if you want to notify customers about an upcoming sale, mention when the event starts and how long it will last.

3. Use call-to-action phrases

A call-to-action phrase incorporated into your message will engage the recipient and influence their decision to take the intended action. Use terms containing prompts to make the reader pay attention to your offer. Your text should invite the recipient to perform a specific action, such as using a coupon, visiting the sales section on your site, or purchasing your product.

Here are some words and phrases that can help drive conversion.

  • Buy Now

  • Shop Now

  • Click Here

  • Join

  • Text

  • Limited Time Offer

  • Enjoy

  • Save

  • Unlock

  • Best Price

  • Drop Us A Line

  • Sign Me Up

  • Exclusive

  • Flash Sale

4. Pick the perfect timing

According to statistics, over 90% of messages are opened by recipients within three minutes of successful delivery. To get on that level, you must design the most effective eCommerce SMS marketing strategy possible by promptly answering your customers' needs. And to do that, you must create a schedule for sending messages such that the delivery coincides with the times when recipients would be most receptive to your suggestions.

For example, if your sale starts in the afternoon, it'll be better to send an SMS in the morning but not the day before. Or if you sell clothes at special prices every Friday night, inform or remind your customers about it on Friday afternoons.

It’s also necessary to consider what time people read messages most actively. For example, in the 6.30-9.00 am and 5.00-7.00 pm slots, people usually don’t check messages because they’re rushing to get to work or get back home. To choose the best timing for your SMS marketing strategy, analyse users’ previous interactions with your messages and use this data to tap into the right sending time.

5. Provide users with valuable content

Inform your target audience about exclusive offers, premium membership benefits, special events, and discounts. It’ll be even better if this is content that’s not available through any other marketing channel of yours. You can also send out invites to participate in a giveaway or some limited sale via text. This SMS strategy will give you two main benefits. First, it will help boost your subscribers’ interest in getting more promotional messages from you. Secondly, it will also encourage more people to sign up for SMS updates from your brand.

Ideas for a more comprehensive eCommerce mobile marketing strategy

Let's explore two more channels that could add value for online stores when used in conjunction with SMS marketing for eCommerce audiences.

Here's how supplementing your mobile marketing campaigns with emails and display ads can help maximise their efficiency and effectiveness.

Email campaigns

The first step of email marketing is to build your email list from your customer database and get their opt-in permission before sending them any promotional or transactional messages. To get a positive response to your request for subscriptions, you can couple it with discount offers or other free value-add offerings.

Ensure your email title, i.e., the subject line, is short, crisp, and easy to read on mobile devices. Keep your keywords at the start of the subject to immediately catch the recipient’s attention.

The number of eCommerce customers has multiplied over time, and so has the use of smartphones to access emails. Therefore, it is essential to take a mobile-first approach towards designing your marketing emails. 

In fact, email designs should be responsive for easy viewing on all types of devices. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, too, so that mobile users from your emails are facilitated further. Choose font styles and sizes, button sizes, text lengths, colours, and other design elements wisely.

Emails give you a much bigger canvas than SMS to showcase your products. You can not only write long-form content such as newsletters within the email but also add attractive product images to help boost sales.

It is a great idea to include social proof, i.e., link your social media or platforms where past customers have reviewed your eCommerce brand. You can add their logos at the end of your email, along with one for your own website URL.

Lastly, add a solid call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your message. Optimise your CTAs for touchscreens. Special offers, discounts, and coupons are also excellent promotional tools for driving conversion.

Display ads

Display ads appear as banners or short videos on websites, mobile apps, and social media. They can be very appealing and effective for mobile users when correctly designed. Some of them, e.g., basic game demos, even allow viewers to interact with them.

Google is one of the most popular platforms offering a channel for publishing display ads called the Google Display Network. It provides tons of mobile ad opportunities and aims to help you drive traffic to your website. It offers a range of pricing models to enable you to manage your advertising budget.

No matter which platform you choose, your investment will go to waste if your ads don’t conform to basic small-screen viewability requirements. So, optimise your ads for mobile screen display, and you can incorporate this advertising method into your mobile strategy.

As is the case with any other marketing strategy, display ads also rely on target audience segmentation according to various factors such as demographic or geographical data. If you do it wrong, the ad platform will keep showing your ad to the wrong people, and it could cost you heavily, wasting your entire budget.

Then comes the ad copy. Professional copywriters recommend keeping display ads concise and using attractive fonts and imagery. Also, always ensure convenient clickable icons are in place to link with important web pages. Be extra careful with your CTAs, since they are crucial to your display ads.

The use of GPS tech in apps such as Moasis has now taken this form of advertising to an entirely new level. Targeting is now so precise with this tool that you can isolate a customer's position if near or in a competitor store. You can then send them your own advertising message to draw them away from that store and encourage them to purchase comparable products from your eCommerce store.

Display advertising holds massive opportunities and advantages for the future of innovative mobile marketing.

Using SMS for eCommerce: Final thoughts

Accurately segmented audiences, creatively crafted content, and well-suited delivery timings can help you promote your business with the help of the perfect eCommerce SMS marketing campaign.

Research your audience, use potent calls-to-action and power words, choose the right SMS-based mobile marketing platforms, and create exclusive content to get closer to your potential customers at all stages of their journey.