Staying ahead of the competition in retail means embracing innovative marketing strategies. One such strategy that has proven to be highly effective is text marketing or SMS marketing. Let's explore how this tool can be a game-changer for retail businesses.

1. What is SMS Marketing? SMS marketing is the use of text messages to send campaigns or promotional messages to customers. Unlike emails that might go unopened, 98% of SMS marketing campaigns are read, making it an incredibly effective channel for retailers. With a character limit of 160, these messages are short and appear on subscribers' smartphones within seconds of being sent.

2. Benefits of SMS Marketing for Retailers

  • Higher Engagement Rates: SMS open rates can be as high as 98%, with a click-through rate (CTR) of around 19%, far surpassing email marketing.
  • Personalized Campaigns: Retailers like Handheld Handmade have built their business model on SMS marketing, creating hyper-personalized campaigns based on user preferences.
  • Compliance and Regulations: Being SMS compliant is crucial, and retailers must adhere to regulations like 10DLC or the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States.
  • Sales and Customer Engagement: According to MobileMonkey, consumers receiving SMS marketing messages are 40% more likely to convert. SMS can also boost engagement by reaching customers where they spend a significant amount of time - on their phones.

3. SMS Marketing Best Practices

  • Get Permission: Like email marketing, SMS marketing is permission-based. Retailers must ensure that customers have opted in.
  • Use Short Codes and Long Codes: Short codes are five to six-digit numbers used nationwide, while long codes are 10-digit phone numbers bound to an area code. Each has specific applications and regulations.
  • Deliver Locally: Find an SMS marketing platform that allows localized and global numbers, ensuring messages are delivered at the right time in the right time zone.
  • Align with Email Campaigns: SMS can amplify other marketing campaigns, aligning with email strategies but adapting for text messages.

4. Retail SMS Marketing Campaign Types

  • Text to Pay Integration: Integrated with a Pay By Text provider, text messaging can yield up to 4x more customer payments and pre-payments.
  • Welcome Series: Introduce new subscribers with one or a series of text messages.
  • Abandoned Cart Recovery: Remind shoppers about products left in their cart.
  • Reply to Purchase: Allow customers to reply with “Yes” or “Buy” to make a purchase directly from a text message.
  • Customer Service: Integrate SMS with customer service software to develop two-way text messaging conversations.
  • Special Offers: Use SMS to announce events, products back in stock, new arrivals, and special discounts.

Text marketing for retail businesses is not just a trend; it's a powerful tool that can significantly impact sales and customer engagement. With its high open rates, personalized campaigns, and versatile applications, SMS marketing is a must-have in the retail marketing toolkit.

By understanding the fundamentals, benefits, best practices, and various campaign types, retailers can leverage text marketing to stay connected with their customers, promote products, and drive sales.


Shopify: Retail SMS Marketing: Benefits, Best Practices, & Examples of Customer Texting Done Well

Constant Contact: What Is SMS for Retail and How Can You Use It?