10 SMS Marketing Ideas to Boost eCommerce Sales

2 Feb
10 SMS Marketing Ideas to Boost eCommerce Sales

Imagine if we told you there is a marketing tactic most of your customers are interested in. 

This isn’t a fantasy. It’s what customers want right now. A study found that nearly 80% of consumers are interested in signing up for texts, but only some businesses offer it.

But why do they love it so much?

Well, SMS marketing is personal. It’s your brand talking straight to your customer. You can send them limited-time offers, shipping reminders and even a happy birthday message without getting lost in their inbox. It’s a unique way to reach out to customers with updates and discounts that they actually want to receive. 

In this article, we'll walk through 10 SMS marketing ideas you can add to your marketing strategy to win customers over—and boost sales. 

Let's get started 👇

1. Welcome subscribers with SMS

The first SMS campaign on any marketers list should be welcoming new customers. 

Welcome messages are among the most common automated SMS marketers send. And for good reason. SMS doesn't get lost in a subscriber's email inbox, and 90% of people will read and respond to a message within 30 minutes of receiving it.

Keep your welcome SMS campaigns short and sweet. A quick hello to welcome the new customer to your brand is enough, and if you’ve promised a discount code—make sure its included so you get off on the right foot. Here's an example:

Lifeboost's welcome SMS

This welcome SMS is like a warm hug. It greets the new Lifeboost customer and includes a (generous) coupon code to use on a product they like, which will be automatically applied at checkout. These types of welcome messages can be sent on autopilot with the right tool. With Sendlane’s welcome series, your brand can automatically send out a SMS to new subscribers to say hey. 

Sendlane welcome automation sequence

If you want to grab an early upsell from the new customer, you can even include a discount coupon or recommend a product. A welcome email can also be triggered after the SMS to ensure all your bases are covered. 

2. Send reminders and product updates

Launching new products is a big deal for eCommerce brands. But if the marketing falls flat, sales numbers will suffer. 

Sending promo texts about product releases is a great way to build excitement among your existing customer base as well as new subscribers. Like a product launch email, these messages will have to be manually created by your marketing team. As soon as you've done the design and copy work, these SMS are a great addition to a product launch campaign to support social media and email content. 

Here’s an example of a product update from Bones Coffee:

Beans Coffee new product promotional SMS

We love this message because it has an eye-catching image and a direct link to the new product line. But the best part about this SMS is it tells the customer what to expect—the new coffee still has everything they already love in terms of flavor, but it now comes with a sweet twist.

It’s a smart way to drive customers to a product landing page and build excitement around new items. 

3. Confirm product orders in real-time

Sending purchase confirmations and shipping updates to customers are now a must for eCommerce brands. 

48% of customers say receiving an update on the status of their item’s delivery and shipment is the most valuable SMS they receive from a business. Thankfully, you can meet customer expectations by automating these messages and including details like the order number, shipment details and estimated delivery time. 

Here's an example of an order confirmation text from Vans: 

Vans order confirmation SMS

The delivery window is clear, and there's a clickable link so the customer can track their delivery in real-time. It's a great example of keeping customers updated on their orders and building trust by keeping them in the loop. 

4. Improve your customer service game (and ask for feedback!)

Is a customer's delivery delayed? Do you just want some feedback on how a customer's checkout experience was?

Move over email. 

Gartner predicts that 80% of customer service orgs will communicate over SMS by 2025. In addition to being fast, SMS is a great way to talk with customers one-on-one about issues with their order or get feedback about if they are happy with their experience with your brand. 

With the right tools, SMS can add a personal feel to every interaction with a customer. For example, Sendlane’s two-way reply allows you to have conversations in real time with customers and build a real connection with them. If they have a problem with a discount code or a question about a shipment, they can reach out to a real customer service rep and get a response:

Sendlane two-way reply for SMS

Chat history goes back 30 days, so you can scroll up to see if they've had any issues in the past and get context for your conversation. Every customer will feel heard, and it's a great way to build trust and confidence in your brand. 


5. Nurture customers during the holidays

Holiday spending is the biggest opportunity for online retailers, but it’s also difficult not to get lost in the flood of discount codes and sales. 

Research from Adobe found US shoppers spent $200B+ over the 2021 holiday season, and a big chunk of it (65%) went on gifts. What's even more interesting is how much holiday shopping we're now doing on our mobiles. The same Adobe data uncovered that 43% of that $200B+ holiday shopping spree happened from smartphones.  

eCommerce marketers should capitalize on this trend and send customers personalized holiday messages to entice them to their checkouts. Send existing customers personalized messages based on their purchase history or include links to gift-giving guides to help them with ideas on what to buy. 

Check out how BÉIS promotes its holiday gift guide to customers: 

BEIS Travel gift guide SMS

The link directs customers to a gift guide where products are segmented based on style, spending amounts and sale prices. These campaigns are also a great way to offer product bundles to increase a customer’s average order value and boost sales. 

6. Win back abandoned carts

We all know the stats around abandoned carts—nearly 70% of all online shoppers make it to the checkout but never complete their purchase. 

This is the reality of eCommerce, but sending an abandoned cart SMS is a unique way to engage customers outside the usual triggered abandoned cart email. One way to win customers over with a message like this is to start a conversation. Don’t beg them to come back to the checkout. Instead, let them know what they’re missing out on. Here’s an example: 

The message is instantly personable and gives the customer a chance to ask questions about the product. Thanks to two-way messaging, the brand can instantly answer them and (hopefully!) get them back to the checkout. 

7. Upsell and cross-sell similar products

Customers love buying stuff from their phones—73% of all eCommerce sales happen from our mobile devices. 

Don't sleep on your chance to cross-sell and upsell similar products to customers who have recently purchased something. Send out a message to customers on their morning commute or lunch break and include a link to a product they might like to try and increase their average order value (AOV). 

In early 2022, British online skincare brand Skin&Me gave existing customers first dibs on getting their hands on their new cleanser and moisturizer combo. This was the message customers received: 

Skin & Me upsell SMS

The product combo usually costs £30, but customers could order a sample for free. If they liked it, the campaign would pay off and increase the AOV of the existing customer by over 100%!

8. Talk about your loyalty program

Loyal customers are an eCommerce store’s bread and butter—they spend 67% more in their overall lifetime value (LTV). And plugging a loyalty program by offering customers discounts, free gifts and loyalty points is one of the best ways to grow an SMS subscriber list. 

Once subscribers are on the list, they may get updates on VIP offers and early access to sales. 

One of the best examples of a brand capitalizing on a loyalty program over SMS Blenders’ rewards and referral program. Customers receive points each time they buy something, which can then be cashed in for a discount the next time they shop:  

Blenders loyalty rewards SMS

And there’s a chance to earn more money off their eyewear through Blenders’ refer-a-friend program. When a customer signs up, they’ll get a referral link to send to family or a friend and—if they buy something—both will get a discount based on rewards points. 

Blenders refer  friend SMS

9. Send subscribers a birthday discount code

Try to grab subscriber information like their birthday when they sign up for your SMS list, as it’ll come in handy to boost sales. 

Send out a happy birthday SMS to make them feel special and include an offer that’s good enough to get them to the checkout. Here’s an example of what a simple birthday SMS looks like: 

It's personalized with the customer's name, and the offer is time-limited to add a sense of urgency to the message. 

10. Lock in early-bird sales during product launches

Finally, SMS campaigns are a great way to lock in sales before a product launch. 

Not only can you secure some pre-launch revenue, but sneak peeks at a product launch make customers feel like VIPs. We absolutely love this early access campaign from Natalie Borton: 

Natalie Borton early access SMS

This campaign adds a sense of urgency and exclusivity as it’s still closed to the public, but SMS subscribers get access thanks to a password included in the text. It also includes a link that sends the customer straight to the product launch landing page so they can get shopping before anyone else, adding to the sense that they’re getting in on the action before everyone else. 

Use SMS marketing to drive eCommerce revenue

SMS marketing is the perfect tool to use alongside any email or social media campaign to drive revenue to your store. 

It can open up a conversation with customers, make them feel like VIPs and keep them updated about a recent purchase in real time. But what's really great about SMS marketing is that most customers want to hear from brands over text messages. 

SMS marketing has come full circle. More customers are shopping and buying from their mobile phones. Marketers can use text messages to keep customers in the loop about product launches, delivery times or even send them a holiday gift guide right to their pocket. 

And if your SMS content is done right, it’s now one of the best tools in a marketers toolbox to drive website traffic and boost sales.

Thanks to automated SMS marketing tools like Sendlane, personalized text messages and offers can be added to existing sequences with just a couple of clicks. Take Sendlane for a test drive with our 60-day free trial here.

SMS marketing ideas FAQs:

How can SMS Marketing help to grow a business?
Which is better, SMS marketing or email marketing?

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