Go Back SMS Marketing Guide

Driving 1:1 Conversations to Deepen Relationships

Conversational commerce is the future of online shopping. This lesson offers tips for getting the conversation started.


Think about shopping in a physical store.

You are likely greeted when you walk in and asked if you need any help. If you have questions, someone is available to answer them in the moment. When you check out, you are asked if you found everything you needed, presented with the option to join a rewards program, and given a discount for a future purchase.

When shopping online, you typically don’t get that end-to-end customer experience. But many online brands are trying to change that — with conversational commerce.

What is conversational commerce?

Conversational commerce is the process by which brands use interactive media to communicate with customers and lead them to making a purchase. This isn’t just customer service — conversational commerce turns the buying journey into a conversation, rather than a one-way dialogue of promotional messaging for the customer to accept or reject.

Originally this concept began with social media messengers like Facebook Messenger, but it has expanded into SMS marketing. For brands who do it well, conversational commerce is becoming an integral and powerful part of the customer journey.

Why SMS works for conversational commerce

With SMS marketing, brands can get their messages across quickly and easily. The 160-character limit caters to short consumer attention spans, and the unmatched delivery speed and open rates enable brands to communicate in real time, quickly taking shoppers down the path to purchase.

Customers are eager to receive text messages from brands. In fact, 75% 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.

Delivering the messages that your customers want as part of a two-way conversation, rather than a strictly promotional one, is an effective way not only to increase sales, but also to create deeper connections, which leads to customer loyalty, word-of-mouth exposure, and a higher customer lifetime value.

How to make the most of conversational commerce

To create a true end-to-end conversational commerce experience, you need to integrate your SMS marketing with your onsite experience. For example, an on-site pop-up can greet a customer when they arrive on-site, giving them the opportunity to opt-in to SMS marketing.

Once a customer is opted in, brands can begin a 1:1 conversation with them from the very first welcome message, by inquiring about sizing, offering them discounts, and asking them directly about their product interests. If customers have questions about an item they were browsing, you can set up trigger responses for more prompt and personalized two-way communication. Once purchases are made, brands can then use SMS to solicit feedback, either through interactive polling or open-ended questions.

The most important thing in conversational commerce is to ensure you are giving customers all of the information they need at every stage of the buyer journey. Empower your customers to reach out to you directly, then provide assistance via text using a tool like Yotpo SMS’s personal chat feature, or integrate with your help desk solution to easily manage SMS replies so you never miss an opportunity to connect with your customers. Ultimately, you want a customer to feel supported and heard the same way they would in a retail store, with the added bonus of being able to shop from anywhere.

For customers, SMS can be a uniquely personal channel to communicate with a brand. For brands, the more open lines of communication you have with your customer, the better your relationship will be — ultimately helping your brand maximize lifetime value and build genuine, engaged customer advocacy.