These days, eCommerce businesses use SMS marketing as an additional touchpoint throughout their sales funnel. And the results are looking pretty dang good for eCommerce. Consumers now prefer SMS updates more than any other marketing channel.
But, like any marketing strategy, SMS needs to evolve to whatever the consumer wants. To get the most out of texting, you’ll need a solid grasp of the latest SMS marketing trends.
This article will take you through four of the most popular SMS marketing trends in 2023. To give you a hint, it’s ALL about personalization now.
Let’s dive in!
1. Offering customer support in real-time
Customer support, in our opinion, is the fastest-growing SMS marketing trend. And for good reason! Most customer service software—chatbots, email, and toll-free numbers—make customers go out of their way to get answers.
SMS marketing, on the other hand, can deliver updates and answers straight to your hands.
Typical ways to offer SMS support include shipping notifications, subscription refills, and order confirmations. But Empathy Wines takes customer service a step further with an on-call wine expert.
Empathy Wines rewards members with Nora, their wine concierge. Nora helps customers order high-quality and affordable wines through their company.
Something to note is how Empathy Wines exclusively offers this service to paying members. Throwing in a top-quality membership perk is a great way to upsell customers.
Of course, you’ll also want to add a customer support feature for all customers.
Sendlane’s two-way conversation feature can help you out with customer support. Using this feature, you can answer questions and concerns in real-time. Imagine live chat, but over text instead!
We recommend personalizing your two-way conversations by saying your customer’s name and using conversational texts. In other words, don’t sound like a robot.
But customer service isn’t the only way to send SMS messages. Another trend to take advantage of is promoting sales and exclusive deals.
Check out these 5 SMS Marketing Strategies for Flawless Customer Service to get some others ideas!
2. Promoting your eCommerce store
When it comes to conversion rates, SMS marketing campaigns takes the cake.
Cellit studied 1,180 SMS retail campaigns and how they perform in redemption, data collection, and brand awareness.
And the results?
Text messages have six to eight times more engagement than email marketing normally achieves. David Wachs, the senior vice president of Cellit, shares, “With eight times the response rate of email,”, mobile marketing is too powerful to pass up.”
Our advice? Capitalize on SMS marketing’s powerful conversion rates and send promotions, deals, and sales.
It can be as simple as sending a product image and a limited-time offer.
You might be thinking, “If SMS has better conversion rates, why bother with email marketing?”
Sure, email may achieve lower conversion rates. But it’s helped hundreds of brands personalize their sales funnels and retain customers.
Janna Land, the co-founder and COO of FarmFoods, actually used SMS to reengage their email list. When FarmFoods texted a list of disengaged email subscribers, they drove $4000 worth of sales in less than a day.
Our point: Email and SMS marketing work in tandem, not against each other.
Here are two ways to integrate email and SMS into your promotion strategy:
- Send limited-time offers over text: The average person opens their phone 96 times a day. Take advantage of this by sending limited-time deals and promos.
- Send long-term promos over email: Create a drip campaign and hype your users up for future product launches, sales, and events.
If you want to increase sales conversions AND build customer relationships, consider combining special events and promotions into one SMS message.
3. Personalizing your SMS efforts with special events
Another SMS marketing trend to look out for is sending special event text messages. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays all count as special events.
In the retail world, a popular time of year to cash in is Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Pilothouse helped one of their clients achieve a 60 percent “Black Friday Cyber Monday” conversion rate using special event SMS messaging.
They share on their podcast, “One of the click-through rates on one of our SMS sends for a particular brand was in the 60th percentile. It’s so timely and you get access to it right away. You’re not sifting through 50 emails for access. It's delivered right to your phone.”
So what does a special event text look like?
Julep rewards subscribers with a New Year deal—50 percent off all products.
In most cases, event marketing messages are simple like Julep’s. Sending short messages avoids driving up costs with multiple messages. And besides, texts are supposed to be short!
Other than sending short messages, we also recommend:
- Promoting events your audience cares about: Use Sendlane and identify when your customers are most active throughout the year. Maybe it’s Black Friday, or perhaps Christmas!
- Getting personal: Collect your subscribers’ birthdays and send a shout-out and freebie on their special day. Customize this even more and use past-purchase data to send discounts off your customer’s favorite products.
Practicing these SMS marketing tips makes your audience feel like a valued member of your company and simultaneously builds relationships and brand loyalty!
4. Strengthening brand loyalty with educational text messages
Constant promotions and offers can be off-putting. And not to mention, spammy! By adding educational texts to the mix, subscribers will gain valuable info and will look to you as an authoritative source.
But what does an educational text look like? Let’s explore Aura Bora’s SMS campaign.
Aura Bora, an herbal sparkling water brand, sends both cocktail and mocktail recipes every Thursday via text.
Unlike most SMS campaigns, this one doesn’t aim to increase sales, but brand loyalty.
“The campaign is absent of direct calls to action or any upsells, “ Cameron, the director of eCommerce at Aura Bora, shares with Sendlane. “It’s meant to be a 100% value add to our most valuable customers in our SMS segment.”
Versed does something similar. Their “Skincare hotline” answers all questions about skin.
Instead of Googling skincare questions, users can now rely on Versed! Sure, users aren’t buying from Versed now–but they probably will in the long run.
So, how can you apply this SMS marketing trend to your eCommerce store?
- Encourage users to send you questions with Sendlane’s two-way conversation feature
- Teach users about topics related to your brand with a separate SMS campaign
Think of brand loyalty as a content marketing strategy. You won’t get results right away. But your efforts will build a more trusting and engaged audience.
SMS marketing is here to stay
As our world shifts online, more people want to connect with their brands.
SMS marketing is an innovative way to chat with your audience, receive feedback, and build a relationship that lasts longer than a sale.
One crucial takeaway from these SMS marketing trends is to personalize, personalize, personalize. Customers don’t want to receive random promos. They’re looking for support, customized offers, and education.
The good news is that personalization is a core pillar of Sendlane. Some ways we deliver personable SMS content is by:
- Integrating your email marketing data with SMS
- Responding to customers on the spot with a two-way reply
- Connecting your SMS strategy with popular eCommerce platforms, like Shopify and Big Commerce
Check out this article about Sendlane’s SMS/MMS Marketing for more information, and these 11 Easy Ways to Make Your SMS Marketing More Powerful.
If personalized SMS marketing sounds up your alley, try us out for a free test run and see how Sendlane can uplevel your SMS game.
SMS marketing trends FAQ
1. How fast is SMS marketing growing?
SMS marketing is only gaining popularity, especially in the eCommerce space. Out of the following industries, people are more likely to subscribe to eCommerce and retail.
This same study showed that 75% of people suggest they’d be happy to get an offer from a text message!
If you’re in eCommerce, you can assume that SMS isn’t going anywhere for now.
Check out our eight SMS marketing benefits for more reasons why this strategy is growing.
2. What is the future of SMS marketing?
Providing optimal customer support is the most requested feature of SMS marketing. Just look at the chart below! Almost every answer has something to do with customer support.
Cash in on this SMS marketing trend and:
- Remind your customers about upcoming appointments, shipments, or confirmations
- Refill subscriptions
- Answer questions in real-time
Other than providing customer support, SMS is also great for promoting limited-time offers:
- Wish your customer a happy birthday and discount
- Capture abandoned cart sales
- Send exclusive offers to your VIP or rewards list
3. How can I grow my SMS marketing list?
Two simple ways to grow your SMS list are 1) creating SMS-exclusive opt-in forms and 2) advertising your campaign via email.
Both of these methods utilize the audience you already have!
Overall, the future is looking bright for SMS marketing—especially in the eCommerce space!