6 ways retailers can use SMS

Topic: Retail, Uses of SMS

With a 94% open rate, SMS has overtaken email as one of the most effective communication channels. Many retailers have enjoyed success when delivering marketing and promotional offers via SMS – this case study illustrates how an e-commerce store used SMS to deliver coupon codes and generated a 17.44% purchase conversion rate (source).But there are so much more SMS can do for retailers. Here we look at a more detailed comparison of SMS and email, and the different ways retailers can use SMS.

First, why SMS?

Here are some statistics comparing how SMS and email performs against each other, and we think it clearly illustrates why retailers should harness the power of SMS. 

Email (averages) SMS (averages)
Open rate 32.4% 94%
Users’ response time 2.5 days 90 seconds
Click through rate 4.4% 19%
Conversions* 3.26% 32%
Messages received each month 1,216 178
Proportion that is spam 90% 1%

*Conversions are measured as recipients take the desired actions eg. a purchase, coupon use, form completion etc.Sources: Oracle | Litmus | Adobe | Esendex

So what can retailers use SMS for?

Here are some ways our customers are using this channel with great results:

number 1 Discount & special offersThe AIMIA Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index indicated that 51% of Australians are happy to receive offers on their mobile from their preferred brands. Use SMS to deliver your special offers; include a url link to a dedicated mobile optimised landing page to maximise conversions.

number 2Abandoned cart alertsAccording to a SAP study, 57% of Australian consumers discard their carts sometimes or all the time. While abandonment cart email generally has a 10% conversion rate, consider sending that as an SMS to take advantage of the much higher engagement rate.

number 3Delivery notifications53% of consumers now expect the estimated delivery time of their online purchase to be accurate and available within 3 hours of their order (Ipsos research). SMS is a great way to  deliver these notifications to ensure customers are updated with the status of their orders.


number 4Customer service 64% of consumers with texting capabilities prefer texting over voice for customer service channel (source). For retailers who’d like to provide better customer service, SMS might be a quick and easy win here.

number 5Stock alertsWhether it’s the new range of products that have just arrived or a back in stock item, SMS is a great way to keep your customers notified. Consider combining the alerts with some form of discount offer may help speed up the conversion too.

Number 6 SMS loyalty programA report from Bond Brand Loyalty revealed that 57% of members would like to engage with loyalty programs via a mobile device. Try sending your loyalty members exclusive offers or product previews via SMS to keep them engaged.


Complying with the Australian SMS marketing law

SMS that are sent to Australians are governed by the Spam Act 2003 which covers 3 key rules – consent from the recipients, sender identification and the ability to unsubscribe. You can refer to this article here for more details about these key rules.If you’d like to know more about how SMS can help grow your business, please get in touch on 1300 764 946 or email us at [email protected].  

Author Avatar
Prachi Bametha

Marketing Coordinator, Esendex Australia