The Complete Guide to Generating Fast ROI With SMS Marketing

Today’s consumers crave mobile experiences tailored to how they prefer to shop. The most successful eCommerce brands are looking to SMS marketing to directly engage their customers with hyper-targeted messages that drive higher conversion, fast.
Welcome to the era of SMS marketing.

The spectacular rise of mobile commerce has paved the way for consumers to do so much more from the palm of their hands — including shopping. Your customers are discovering and engaging with brands through more channels than ever before. 

To reach today’s consumers, your brand needs to leverage as many marketing channels as possible — and that means being where your customers already are: on their phones. 

SMS marketing provides an unprecedented opportunity for eCommerce brands to build a new top revenue channel. With a robust SMS strategy, brands can directly engage mobile shoppers with messages perfectly tailored to where they are in their buyer journey.

In this eBook, we’re sharing insights and statistics regarding the state of SMS marketing in the eCommerce industry, expert tips and best practices, and the winning three-step formula your brand needs to know to build the most powerful SMS marketing strategy, so you can target every shopper with ultra-personalized messages that convert.

Your mobile customers are waiting. It’s time to learn how to generate fast ROI with SMS marketing.

Table of Contents
The Mobile Consumer
Your Next Top Revenue Channel
How to Launch an SMS Marketing Strategy in 3 Simple Steps
SMS Marketing in an Omnichannel Era
The Mobile Consumer
Your Next Top Revenue Channel
How to Launch an SMS Marketing Strategy in 3 Simple Steps
SMS Marketing in an Omnichannel Era
The Mobile Consumer
Chapter 01
The Mobile Consumer

Now, more than ever, consumers are on their phones. 

Every day, the average person spends over 4 hours on a mobile device and checks their phone more than 150 times. These numbers are staggering — and they continue to rise. At any given moment, consumers use their mobile devices to communicate, work, browse, create, play, share, and, most importantly, shop

In fact, consumers not only expect to shop via mobile — they prefer it. Our recent survey revealed that more than 65% of online shoppers choose to browse or buy online from their mobile devices, as opposed to on a laptop or desktop computer. 

With mobile traffic on the rise, this new channel is changing how customers engage with their favorite brands. Because consumers are more active on mobile, brands are optimizing their messaging to provide top-notch experiences for online shoppers. 

Now, mobile is quickly on its way to becoming the dominant channel for online shopping. It’s predicted that over half (54%) of total eCommerce sales will be mobile by 2021, and currently over 81% of all traffic to Shopify stores comes from a mobile device

A new mobile buyer journey with SMS

The rise of mobile commerce means brands can communicate with customers in more ways than ever before. 

Shoppers are discovering brands across more channels and devices, and they’re shifting between them before finally committing to buying the product. Their traditional, linear path to purchase no longer exists; instead, each shopper’s buyer journey is even more complex and unique.

With this influx of channels, shoppers are inundated with opportunities to acquire information that might drive them to purchase; however, that also means there are more opportunities for shoppers to become distracted and disengaged throughout their journey as well. 

Brands need to be able to reach their consumers where they’re most active, but the channels they’ve traditionally used to reach customers, like email and social media, are no longer the most effective channels to reach mobile shoppers. Brands need to cut through the marketing noise and reach customers where they are: on their phones. 

SMS marketing is the solution. With SMS marketing, your brand can reach shoppers directly on the device they never stop checking. 

The power of SMS speaks for itself:

  • The average SMS open rate is a whopping 98%.
  • 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes
  • 51% of consumers are interested in being able to text with their favorite brands

 It’s clear that your shoppers love to text — and they’d love to text with you.

Get personal with each and every shopper

With the rise of mobile commerce, SMS marketing creates countless opportunities for brands to engage with customers like never before. But it’s providing a personalized mobile shopping experience that makes all the difference in creating a mobile buyer journey that keeps shoppers coming back.

For brands, that means creating the optimal, highly-targeted path to purchase for each and every customer. That targeted path might include custom product recommendations, exclusive discounts, targeted engagements based on customer behavior, and more. But, why is this level of personalization so important to SMS marketing?

Because shoppers crave experiences that are tailored to them. 

Over 41% of consumers are willing to share information with a brand in order to receive a more personalized SMS experience, and over 54% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if the messages they received are personalized. 

Consumers want personalized shopping experiences, and they want them via text. Over 50% of consumers are interested in being able to text and create a personal relationship with the brands they love. 

Your customers crave highly-targeted mobile experiences — and your brand needs to deliver.

Your Next Top Revenue Channel
Chapter 02
Your Next Top Revenue Channel

Engaging with your shoppers with an SMS marketing solution, like SMSBump, a Yotpo company, can have a huge impact on your bottom line, and it starts with effective messaging.

With SMS marketing, brands can get their (literally!) messages across quickly and easily. The 160 character limit caters to short consumer attention spans, enables your brand to be conversational, and quickly takes shoppers down the path to purchase. 

Striking up a conversation

Want shoppers to engage? Send messages they want to receive. Because consumers opt in to receive texts from your brand, they’re even more apt to engage with the messages you send.

Customers are eager to receive text messages from brands; in fact, 75% of consumers prefer to receive targeted offers via SMS, including sales and discounts. In addition to promotions, consumers are also interested in receiving personalized engagements, including order updates, recommendations, and new product announcements. 

Building a tailored journey for each and every shopper delivers measurable impact and quick results. In fact, on average, SMS marketing drives 25x+ ROI.

For customers, SMS can be a uniquely personal channel to communicate with a brand; some shoppers prefer to respond to brands’ texts directly to engage in conversation. For direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands especially, the more open lines of communication you can have with your customer, the better your relationship will be — ultimately helping your brand maximize lifetime value and build genuine, engaged customer advocacy. 

It’s essential to leverage a data-driven SMS solution, like SMSBump, that can deliver the right experience at the right time. 

The SMS Formula: Drive ROI with SMS in 3 simple steps

SMS marketing is the most impactful way to reach your mobile shoppers. The value is clear — all your brand has to do is get started.

Luckily, we have a simple, effective formula your brand can use to quickly drive ROI with SMS.

    How to Launch an SMS Marketing Strategy in 3 Simple Steps
    Chapter 03
    How to Launch an SMS Marketing Strategy in 3 Simple Steps

    SMS marketing can be the optimal revenue-driving channel for D2C brands. It’s easy to set up, and getting started only takes a few clicks. Let’s walk through every step of the winning formula, so you can start building an SMS strategy that converts.

    Step 1: Collect Subscribers

    With a powerful SMS solution like SMSBump, there are multiple ways to generate subscribers.

    Subscription forms like on-site pop-up windows, keyword messages, email subscriber opt-ins, and shareable subscriber links, fit seamlessly into your brand’s unique design identity, enabling your brand to build an SMS audience in no time.

    Below, learn how you can collect mobile subscribers on all your top marketing channels. 

    eCommerce Checkout

    Checkout is the most natural part of the shopping experience, and therefore, it has the highest success rate. Customers have already made their purchase decision; now, your brand just needs to also incentivize their decision to sign up for SMS messages in the most inviting way. 

    Place content on the checkout page to invite shoppers to sign up via text to receive special offers on their next orders. Brands that leverage an SMS opt-in directly at the time of checkout see over 45% higher mobile number capture rates. 

    On-Site Experience

    Capitalize on shoppers visiting your website by engaging them with a pop-up window and incentivize SMS subscription. Brands that use on-site SMS widgets and elements see, on average, 5% and higher conversion rates.

    Social Media

    Encourage your followers on social channels to text a keyword to opt in to receive texts from your brand. If they already follow your brand on social channels, they’re already engaged with your mobile content. Leverage this audience with SMS marketing to drive them from social media to your site. 

    Email Marketing

    Email subscribers may even be more eager to receive texts from your brand — they just might not yet be aware of SMS as an option. Engage shoppers already receiving communications from your brand via email, and encourage them to join another channel for special SMS-only discounts. Email and SMS work well together, so make sure to use them both to optimize shopper engagement. 


    Sign your customers up with SMS directly after they complete a purchase in store by asking them to provide their mobile number. Text them to opt in, and add in upcoming special offers or a discount to sweeten the SMS deal.

    Step 2: Send Messages

    Once your brand has generated a subscriber list, it’s time for the most important step of your brand’s SMS marketing strategy: creating the messages that will engage your customers.

    Automated, tailored SMS flows

    Similar to what you might see in your email service provider (ESP), automated SMS flows seamlessly nurture a shopper through to purchase. They’re automatically triggered by customer events and engagements so they’re sent, in the background, at the right time in the buyer journey — giving every customer a perfectly tailored experience and giving your brand the ability to scale.

    SMSBump’s advanced Flow Builder provides brands with two types of automated SMS flows: they can create fully customized flows to match their unique needs, and they can choose from a robust library of out-of-the-box flows, including cart abandonment, customer win-backs, post-purchase up-sell or cross-sells, new subscriber welcomes, and more. 

    With both types of automated flows available, brands can build better SMS experiences that target customers at the right times in the buyer journey to drive conversion. With targeted experiences through automated SMS flows, brands see 4x higher ROI than any other SMS campaign.

    Below are a few examples of automated SMS flows that we recommend.

    Abandoned Cart Flow

    If a shopper recently visited a site, added a product to their cart, and then left without making a purchase, your brand can send a cart abandonment message encouraging the customer to return and purchase. Include additional incentives tailored to that shoppers’ preferences and habits to drive more engagement. Multi-step messages generate 2x ROI than single messages, so we recommend sending follow ups when customers don’t engage at first.

    Win-Back Campaign

    Send a series of targeted messages to lapsed customers to re-engage them with your brand’s content and calls-to-action. Choose the timeframe that works best based on your customers’ average repeat purchase rate so you can send messages at the exact right moment a customer needs to be engaged.

    It costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing, loyal customer, so win-back campaigns are vital to your brand’s SMS strategy.

    Welcome Flow

    Convert new subscribers into customers with an engaging welcome flow. Incentivize purchases with discounts, and add a link so engagement is easy. If you can convert new SMS subscribers, you can leverage the data you learn from their purchasing behavior to create more targeted flows in the future.

    Welcome Flow with 1:1 conversations

    Build and send customers personalized conversational flows that account for their past purchases, preferences, and your brand’s recommendations for what they might like next. Learn about your customers simply by asking them about themselves, and then make suggestions accordingly.

    Product Cross-Sell Flow

    Recommend a product to the customer based on what they’ve bought in the past. A cross-sell can maximize lifetime value by maximizing every purchase shoppers make, and encouraging one-time buyers to develop into repeat, higher-value customers. 

    Product Cross-Sell Flow with 1:1 Conversation

    A conversational cross-sell flow takes a potential cross-sell to the next level. With this automated flow, brands not only use purchase history data, but they can engage with customers at the right time to learn their product preferences, and then offer targeted recommendations in real-time to drive conversion.

    Transactional Flows 

    Transactional messages allow your brand to update customers about their recent orders directly via SMS, delivering top-notch customer care and service experiences. Messages in a transactional flow might include order confirmations, shipping updates, subscription notifications, and more.

    Send targeted campaigns to the right audience 

    Sometimes, your brand just needs to send out a blast of relevant, timely information. Maybe it’s a new product launch, a limited-time, site-wide sale, an update on a bestseller — the list goes on. 

    With the right audience segmentation and SMSBump’s robust campaign builder, your brand can send that update to the shoppers that will be most engaged, so you aren’t wasting your budget on shoppers that aren’t likely to purchase again. Your brand can even A/B test your message copy, so you can quickly find the winning content that boosts conversion.

    SMS-Only Offer

    Engage shoppers with discounts and promotions they can only get via SMS message, and leverage purchasing history to create truly tailored experiences. 

    New Product Announcements

    Engage shoppers with new product announcements they might be interested in based on purchases they’ve made in the past. Incentivize with discounts or offers to increase click-through rates!

    Targeted Promotions

    One of the most effective strategies when it comes to SMS marketing is leveraging the information you already know about your shoppers. From there, you can segment customers based on previous purchases, product interests, and overall purchasing trends so you can send your customers the optimal targeted promotions. 

    Experiential Promotions

    Invite your SMS subscribers to live online events, launch pop-up or in-store experiences, and announce new store openings. Use customer behavior and location segments to send messages to shoppers most likely to attend

    Flash Sales

    Run a promotion or a sale for a limited amount of time, from 2 to 48 hours, or even a special holiday promotion, to incentivize shoppers to purchase items before it ends. Segment based on past purchases,  and average order value, and more to drive quick revenue.

    Sending users the highest-converting messages requires a deep understanding of your customer audience. We’ve built the most advanced segmentation engine to help.

    Step 3: Understand Your Audience

    Segmentation is important in any marketing strategy, but advanced segmentation is especially essential in SMS marketing. 

    With data-driven segmentation, brands can better understand their audience, and from there, tailor every shoppers’ experience with perfectly-targeted messages. 

    Over 54% of consumers said they are more likely to make a purchase if the texts they receive from a brand are tailored for them, so it’s essential that each and every shopper receives the right message based on where they are in the buyer journey.

    Without segments that help to build those targeted SMS experiences, brands lose the purpose of the channel — and run the risk of turning shoppers away.

    Slice, Dice, Segment

    Consumers want messages that matter to them. For eCommerce brands, using information like shopper behavior, customer attributes, and data from across tech tools and platforms is integral to understanding — and shaping — shopper intent. 

    With a robust segmentation engine like SMSBump, your brand can create hyper-targeted segments based on advanced behavioral and transactional data, including purchasing activity, SMS engagement data, and AI-powered predictive segments — just to name a few. 

    Below is a breakdown of information your brand can use to build segments.

    Superpowered SMS Segments 

    A large audience is only half the battle when it comes to SMS. Your brand also needs segmentation that’s robust and seamless, so you can analyze your customer data fast. The sky’s the limit when it comes to building segments that drive retention, conversion, and ultimately, sales. 

    Below are several examples of successful segments we recommend trying out, but your brand can create any segment you want.

    Segmentation powered by integration

    Powerful data shouldn’t sit in silos. In fact, your brand should actively integrate your SMS marketing solution with the rest of your marketing tech stack, including your eCommerce marketing platform and the rest of your apps, like your email service provider, CRM, loyalty program, cart checkouts, and more, so you can create the most detailed, data-driven segments possible.

    With all of your data points from across your tech stack, your brand can more accurately personalize every customer engagement, creating the ultimate shopping experience. 

    The SMS marketing formula is powered by robust data

    As with any marketing effort, the journey doesn’t end when a shopper converts. With SMS especially, diving into the performance analytics of every flow, campaign, and message makes all the difference between an effective SMS marketing strategy and a powerful, retention-driving strategy that boosts ROI.

    It’s essential to leverage analytics dashboards that enable your brand to drill down to every single message you send, so your brand can better understand your growth analytics, revenue drivers, ROI performance, and dynamic cost metrics. And, with features like A/B testing, your brand can also leverage real-time insights to optimize and craft each message to boost engagement across the buyer journey.

    SMS Marketing in Action

    Here are three brands who have created hyper-personalized and effective SMS strategies that inspired us.

    Recovering Abandoned Cart Sales: Salt Beachwear + Advanced Flow Builder

    A leading beachwear brand was looking to increase conversion after seeing high bounce rates once a shopper added products to their cart. In an effort to decrease those abandoned shopping carts, they looked to the SMS Flow Builder to build tailored journeys for each shopper that would lead them back to purchase. 

    Brands that use multi-step SMS flows, such as campaigns that send messages 15 minutes post-purchase and again after 24 hours, see 2x ROI than any other SMS campaign.

    So what did we recommend? 

    • Trigger a new flow every time a customer abandons a cart
    • Check if the user is a first-time shopper or a high-value repeat purchaser. Does the shopper have more than your AOV in their cart?
    • 15 minutes after the user abandons the cart, send a series of 3 messages reminding the shopper about their forgotten items.
    • Tailor the message content, including discounts and incentives, based on the segmentation of the audience. Offer first-time shoppers higher discounts than repeat purchasers. 

    With this flow, the brand could tailor the perfect journey for each customer to bring them back to purchase. With targeted incentives and engagements for every type of shopper, brands can move the needle and drive quick ROI.

    Up-selling with VIP Tier Achievements: Greenie Juice + Loyalty SMS Flows

    One of our health beverage brands had a robust Yotpo Loyalty & Referrals program, but they wanted to increase program adoption and engage their loyal customers on an even more personal level with SMS. We knew that creating a unique shopping experience means streamlining customer engagement across an entire purchase journey — that’s why SMSBump comes integrated with the Yotpo eCommerce marketing platform.

    To get their loyalty program members more involved with the program, what did we recommend? Send tailored flows to congratulate shoppers on their VIP Tier achievement.

    Creating a unique experience is also streamlining your customer actions across the whole purchase journey. SMSbump integrates with your Yotpo user generated content and loyalty platforms so you can build seamless mobile experiences for your customers.

    Recommending the Right Products with the Right Questions: Younify + Conversational Flows

    An exciting personal care and wellness brand was looking for ways to not only connect with customers, but to get to know them in a way where they’d feel comfortable, too. With a line of personal and sensitive products, the brand wanted to ensure their customers could trust them with their health information, preferences, and questions so they could suggest the right product for each and every customer based on their needs.

    So, we recommended they send automated conversational SMS flows asking shoppers their personal preferences, and then recommending products based on their answers in real-time.

    By asking customers about their preferences and goals, brands can suggest the best course of action for them, building trust and driving conversion.

    SMS Marketing in an Omnichannel Era
    Chapter 04
    SMS Marketing in an Omnichannel Era

    SMS marketing is not a replacement for any of your existing channels — it’s the additional missing puzzle piece your brand needs to create a more complete omnichannel marketing strategy.

    SMS & Email: The Power Duo

    SMS marketing is powerful. With the winning formula, brands can send hyper-targeted messages to each and every customer at the perfect time, maximizing ROI and lifetime value. Plus, SMS plays nicely with your brand’s other marketing channels, including your email efforts. When it comes to building out an SMS marketing strategy, a common misconception is that brands will duplicate efforts with both SMS and email. Rest assured, this isn’t true; in fact, each channel is more powerful when they work as companions.

    We found that 24% of consumers prefer to receive communications from a brand via both SMS and email, as opposed to one or the other. And, almost half (41%) of consumers prefer being able to text with their favorite brands directly to build personal relationships over any other engagement channel. 

    Every customer prefers to engage with brands in different ways. Your brand should be able to create a strategy that aligns with every customer preference to maximize the success of every engagement on every channel — and drive incremental revenue.

    To drive the most ROI, your brand should launch marketing campaigns to communicate with shoppers via both email and SMS; simply tailor the message to best fit the channel and the customer. 

    Your SMS subscriber list is typically a highly-engaged group of customers; because SMS requires users to opt-in, the audience typically prefers to receive messages from a brand via text. By leveraging both the broad reach of your email lists, and the high engagement with SMS, brands can use both channels in parallel to drive more conversion.

    The majority of customers need more than 3.5 touchpoints to convert, or to even pay attention to a brand. So, if your brand is present on more channels, you can target shoppers more powerfully and from more angles, increasing their likelihood to engage with your messages.

    A typical buyer journey with email & SMS working together might look like the following.

    SMS, part of a complete marketing strategy

    For brands looking to leverage SMS with the most impact as quickly as possible, it’s a best practice to integrate your SMS strategy within your eCommerce marketing platform, like Yotpo.

    Luckily, SMSBump comes fully integrated with Yotpo’s data-driven solutions for reviews, ratings, loyalty, and referrals, so your brand can build brand advocacy, customer loyalty, and ultimately maximize lifetime value with each SMS engagement.

    SMS + User-Generated Content

    Almost all (98%) of shoppers say authentic reviews are the most important factor influencing their purchase decisionstake advantage of higher engagement rates on SMS to collect even more reviews, photos, and videos via text. 

    Request reviews via SMS to generate more influential user-generated content for your brand. Over half (56%) of consumers would be interested in sharing their product feedback with their favorite brands directly through text. 

    Review requests via SMS convert 66% higher compared to reviews requested via email due to the SMS’s high engagement rates. 

    SMS + Loyalty & Referrals

    Over 76% of loyalty program members will opt-in to communicate with their favorite brand through SMS, making SMS the ultimate channel of communication with your most loyal customers. 

    Engage loyalty members directly through SMS to drive engagement with your loyalty program. With automated flows, including loyalty status updates, promotions, and exclusive offers, brands have a direct line of communication to their most engaged customers. 

    Congratulate VIP Tier achievements, send targeted messages to specific VIP Tier members, create birthday rewards, and maximize loyalty engagement so your brand can drive longer-lasting lifetime value. Returning customers spend nearly 3x more than one-time shoppers.

    The most advanced eCommerce marketing platform

    Yotpo is the only company to offer a single-platform approach to eCommerce marketing, providing integrated solutions for reviews, visual UGC, loyalty, referrals, and SMS all in one place. Yotpo and SMSBump give brands the unique ability to engage customers with personalized, higher-converting experiences for each and every shopper.

    To get started with SMS marketing today, head here.

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