Just Send It: How to Win More Shoppers with Personalized SMS

March 3, 2022
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Source: Statista

What’s more—shoppers are not new to interacting with brands through texts. About 75% of them would like to have offers sent to them through SMS[*]. Brands also saw conversions, with 66% of subscribers purchasing as a result of receiving a text message[*].  

What Benefits Does SMS Marketing Offer?

SMS allows you to consistently get your messages in front of your customers. Of the many means to reach shoppers, texting is considered to be the fastest and most direct path. However, SMS marketing can do more than just notifying shoppers of your latest brand offers. The following are more of its advantages.

  1. Strengthen customer loyalty and relationships. Brands can nurture deeper connections through SMS by keeping in touch with customers not only about new products and offers but also about personal occasions like birthdays and holidays.
  2. Increase conversion rates. SMS sees better conversion rates than many channels, including email. The more intent-based the messages and offers are, the more successful conversions you can get.
  3. Deliver continuous customer journeys. Having SMS at your disposal ensures shopping experiences that never stop. When you get the timing right, messages can reach shoppers when they need or want it the most.
  4. Stay top of mind with customers. You can count on consumers to always have access to their mobile phones. Even a short message can prompt them to check out your website or social media accounts.
  5. Reach a wider audience. Ninety-seven percent of Americans[*] own a mobile; globally, smartphone users are estimated at 6.4 billion[*]. Brands can cast a wider net, reach new shoppers, and retain them as customers with the right mobile strategy.
  6. Boost engagement of shoppers. Customers are more likely to open an SMS than an email, increasing the chances of successful delivery of your messages. Sending and receiving SMS, being more personal and ubiquitous, also gives the impression of your accessibility as a business.
  7. Reduce cart abandonment. Remarketing through text can be less obtrusive than email, when done right. It’s usually short and sweet, making it less likely to be ignored if you want to recapture customer interest.
  8. Personalize customer interactions. SMS is a powerful tool that can highlight your customers’ unique preferences. By leveraging data on their individual behavior and intent, you can make the shopping experience consistent and relevant for them even through mobile.

Best Practices for Implementing SMS Marketing and Engaging Shoppers 

Almost everybody has a phone, keeping it within arm’s reach and checking it dozens of times a day. As such, the opportunities to connect are boundless. To ensure success, the key approach is to prepare and send information that will provide real value to customers while also considering frequency and privacy.

The Do’s of Text Messaging Marketing

  • Start the conversation with a welcome message. Do not jump on your customers with a prompt to spend immediately. Instead, thank them for their continued interest and remind them of what they signed up for. You can inform them of what they will receive, the frequency of your messages, or any data rates that might apply.
  • Push shoppers down the funnel with relevant promotions. Have exclusive rewards for being a loyal customer? Or maybe discounts that would urge them to finally check out? Texting gets across your message and encouragement to engage quickly.
  • Gather post-purchase follow-up and feedback. Brands can open the line for communication through SMS. Besides chatbots and email, SMS allows customers to communicate their satisfaction or issues to you. You can also acknowledge that their message is received and considered, which can help your customer service.
  • Nurture loyalty with individualized messages. You are more likely to see responses and conversions when texts are tailored to the person you are contacting. Let them know you value them—addressing them by their name goes a long way or mentioning something unique about their interactions with your brand. Keep your tone friendly and polite, as one would expect from close acquaintances.
  • Keep shoppers in the loop. Have items that are back in stock, new products to launch, or delivery updates? Take advantage of the immediacy of texting by sending customers the relevant details as soon as you can.
  • Save abandoned shopping carts. You can entice customers who opt-in for text messaging campaigns with instant coupons and discounts related to the items they already showed interest in, just as you would with email reminders.
  • Write copy that reflects your brand, and keep it concise. Showcasing your brand personality in a few words takes skill. Make sure you stand out. Using emojis when necessary is also not out of the question. 
  • Deliver locally. While SMS marketing gives you access to customers around the globe, brands will have to make sure that messages are delivered to local numbers at an acceptable time within their time zone.
  • Always include CTA. Prompt your customers to act with an irresistible offer, be it discounts or exclusive items. You can create a sense of urgency with time-based activities that can prompt shoppers’ fear of missing out.
  • Pay attention to performance. You must measure the performance of your SMS campaigns not only to prove return on investment, but also to optimize your messages to drive more conversions.

The Don’ts of Text Messaging Marketing

  • Send a message every day. Space out your touches and give shoppers time to digest and act on the information you’ve already sent them.
  • Violate privacy and opt-out rules. Do not abuse the trust of your customers—opting in means they are trusting your brand with their data. Space in their inboxes is also given in exchange for clear instructions in unsubscribing and adherence to regulations.
  • Disregard the alignment between SMS and email campaigns. Make sure your processes are in sync and that shoppers see the value in subscribing to your SMS channel in addition to email.

4 Brand Examples that Utilize SMS Marketing

What does SMS marketing when implemented look like? Here are four examples of brands to get inspiration from. 

1. West Elm

West Elm shoppers are encouraged to enroll in The Key Reward, a simplified loyalty rewards program that covers all its seven brands. On the subscription form, the phone number is asked after email. SMS can be more personal for shoppers, so the brand secures first an account through email, before asking for their phone number. Once customers sign up, they will receive exclusive or early access deals, and marketing messages on new products and offers through SMS.


Image source: West Elm

2. Uniqlo

Uniqlo’s text messages are direct to the point while still letting its brand personality shine with a short and sweet copy. The brand gives customers a peek of what they have in store for them with a link preview that has an image.

In case shoppers missed the pop-up on the website, instructions on how to sign up for text alerts are easily visible. Uniqlo also clearly details how to unsubscribe from the SMS program should customers change their minds.

Image source: Uniqlo

3. PrettyLittleThing

Signing up for PrettyLittleThing’s SMS program is highly encouraged by the brand through the use of a website banner. On its opt-in page, it immediately assures shoppers that they will receive all their deals as well as maintain their privacy. If customers want to stop being subscribers, they can just follow the messages they receive on their phones. PrettyLittleThing guarantees a smooth experience after signing up with clear instructions right on the first SMS.

Image source: PrettyLittleThing

4. Chipotle

The Mexican restaurant employs SMS marketing and has fun with the medium every time. SMS promotions vary from giving customers a chance of winning a trip to Denver for AT&T Major League Soccer All-Star Week to rewarding them with free guacamole by participating in a text-based game. Besides promoting its very own Chipotle Rewards, the brand also encourages interacting with its social media accounts and other channels through SMS, ensuring a multichannel experience.

Image source: Chipotle

Tap into the Power of SMS Marketing

There are many ways to keep the communication ongoing with shoppers, including SMS marketing. In a fast-paced world with a lot of noise, succinct yet valuable texts based on intent can enable you to strengthen and own your relationship with customers. If shoppers opt-in, they will never miss out on an update from your brand. The market is continually evolving, and soon enough, it’s possible that users can shop just as easily through SMS as with other platforms—might as well get started and get great at it soon.