Mobile commerce – which means shopping via a mobile device – is on the rise. Reports show that in the U.S. alone, retail mobile commerce sales reached $359.32 billion in 2021, up 15% from the previous year. By 2025, this figure is set to reach $728.28 billion (more than double the 2021 statistic) and will account for 44.2% of U.S. retail e-commerce sales.

If those figures weren't convincing enough, one of the most important mobile commerce stats to know is this: 79% of smartphone users have made an online purchase using their mobile device in the last six months.

As a business offering products or services online, you'll know how important it is to make ordering simple. By implementing an SMS ordering system, you can tap into the rising trend of mobile commerce and reduce friction for mobile shoppers at the same time. This article explains how.

What is an SMS order system?

As the name suggests, an SMS ordering system allows customers to send a text message to place an order with a business. The customer simply texts what they want to order, and the business requests contact, payment and shipping details. A confirmation text message is then sent to the customer to acknowledge receipt of the order.

SMS orders can be managed using automated text responses or through support staff, depending on the complexity of the products or services being offered. (Customised orders, for instance, may need a level of human interaction).

How to take orders via text message

There are two main ways to set up a text ordering system. The first and easiest method is where you send customers a link that takes them to your online POS system. In this case, the SMS merely prompts them to take action. The customer can see that their order, payment and checkout process all happens on your website.

The second option is where it looks like the entire order takes place via a text conversation. The customer doesn't need to leave their native SMS app at any point, thus creating a seamless, frictionless buying experience.

In both cases, the customer is required to opt-in to SMS ordering. Here are a couple of scenarios to demonstrate how text ordering might work with different businesses:

Scenario 1 - food delivery business

Rob runs a food delivery business. He advertises his text-to-order system via his Facebook page. To opt-in, customers can text the word 'FOOD' to a mobile number Rob has set up for SMS orders.

Whenever a new customer opts in, Rob sends an automated response welcoming the customer. He includes instructions on how to order online. The customer clicks the link, which takes them through to an online landing page with Rob's menu and the payment portal. The customer places their order and pays online, adding a note to say they don't want onions.

Rob receives the order through his website and payment portal. He then sends a personalised message with confirmation of the order, including the time window of when it'll be delivered. He then prepares the customer's meal and sends it out for delivery.

Text message example

Scenario 2 - fast fashion brand

An online fashion retailer enables text ordering for regular buyers. First, the customer creates an account online and stores their personal details, shipping and billing information. Then they opt into SMS marketing and SMS ordering for future orders.

The fashion retailer sends out special offers and new product details via text message. Each text has a call to action, such as 'reply YES to buy this item’. When the customer does this, they then receive an automated text message asking for the customer's size. When the customer responds, the fashion retailer processes the transaction using the customer's stored details.

Once payment is taken, the fashion retailer sends an automated response to confirm the order details and provide an estimated delivery date. The entire process occurs through SMS; the customer doesn't leave their text messaging app.

Why implement an SMS ordering system?

There are two major benefits to setting up SMS ordering:

  1. It offers convenience for both your business and your customers – the ordering process is quick, easy and smooth. Customers need only send a text message to order, and they'll do that from a native app on their phone using a cellular network.

  2. It'll improve customer satisfaction – a smooth ordering process and speedy responses lead to a better customer experience overall. One-to-one text conversations feel more personalised to the customer (even if they're automated). And, of course, any questions can be answered in real-time if human interaction is required.

Mobile commerce food delivery service concept

Improve online ordering and boost revenue with SMS

Mobile commerce is a trend to take advantage of as more and more people use their mobile devices to shop with a business.

By tapping into SMS, you can make ordering a quick, easy and seamless process, improving the customer experience as a result. Happy customers lead to more recommendations and, ultimately, more revenue for your business.

SMS is hugely convenient, giving you a reliable, accessible, additional channel for taking orders. You can even automate transactional text messages to save time, e.g. welcome notifications, order confirmations and shipping updates.

Setting up an SMS ordering system for your business is straightforward when you use a reliable platform like Messente. It allows you to:

  • Collect customer opt-ins (and sort them into different audience lists).

  • Create, preview, send and schedule text messages.

  • Create templates to save time on future SMS campaigns.

  • Send out a single SMS marketing message to hundreds, even thousands of subscribers simultaneously (ideal for when you need to boost orders).

  • Keep customers up to date with automated responses (you can do this by integrating Messente into one of many supported apps).

Learn more about Messente and how it can boost business revenue through SMS. Register for a free account.