The Future of eCommerce is SMS Marketing

As brands look for new strategies to connect with their consumers, SMS marketing has emerged as the top channel to drive revenue, fast. Deep dive into the past, present, and future of today's highest-converting marketing channel.
INTRO
SMS marketing is quietly taking over the eCommerce industry.

As mobile usage continues to skyrocket — five billion people around the world today are using mobile phones — text messaging has become a go-to means of communication. However, while consumers have been busy texting each other for years, brands have only just begun to catch on to the power of SMS.

Until now.

Today, SMS is the fastest growing marketing channel for brands around the world. Almost half (49%) of consumers have already signed up to receive SMS messages from their favorite brands, and statistics estimate that by the end of this year, 49 million consumers will agree to receive SMS notifications from brands.

So, what sparked the sudden turn to SMS? Seismic shifts in consumer behavior, brand marketing strategies, and technological innovations have paved the way for an SMS takeover — and it’s here to stay.

Read on to discover the fascinating evolution of SMS marketing, the revolutionary innovation that SMSBump, a Yotpo company, has spearheaded to create hyper-personalized customer experiences, and our predictions for the future of this groundbreaking channel.

Table of Contents
01
Innovation, fast tracked: How did we get here?
02
eCommerce was ready for a revolution
03
Infographic: SMS becomes the most powerful channel
04
Our predictions: The future of SMS marketing
01
Innovation, fast tracked: How did we get here?
02
eCommerce was ready for a revolution
03
Infographic: SMS becomes the most powerful channel
04
Our predictions: The future of SMS marketing
Innovation, fast tracked: How did we get here?
Chapter 01
Innovation, fast tracked: How did we get here?

Widespread cultural changes and technological advancements have taken place.

Consumers are on their phones more than ever. The average person now spends over five hours a day on their phone, and 90% of messages are read within three minutes

Number of smartphone users worldwide from 2016 – 2021.

Not so long ago, text messaging was a luxury. Early phone plans charged per text and allowed limited characters, making every message precious and sparking new, adaptive ways of communicating. Now, a phone plan with an unlimited number of texts seems commonplace; the average person sends at least 15 texts a day. 

As mobile phone usage has become more widespread, consumers have demanded more from their devices.

Not only is texting the norm, but mobile commerce has transformed the mobile phone into a personal shopping mall, giving consumers the power to buy from the palm of their hand, wherever they go. According to Shopify, 70% of Millennials spend over six hours per week shopping online, and they prefer text messages to emails in order to communicate with businesses on their phones; on mobile, shopping becomes more social, personal, and convenient.

Consumers have changed, too. 

As texting became the quick and engaging way to communicate between friends and family, consumers began to crave these experiences from brands as well. 

Today, consumers not only prefer to be able to engage in conversations with the brands they purchase from — they expect it. According to Chief Marketer, consumers desire both one-word answers (yes, no, help) and natural language feedback at the level of two-way communication with businesses, and 60% of Millennials prefer two-way text engagement because it’s easy to use, fast, and convenient. 

Short-form content, like texts, also easily caters to ever-shrinking consumer attention spans. Rather than viewing the messages they receive as spam, consumers actually want to receive texts from brands they like; the majority (68%) of consumers find SMS messages sent to them from a company to be valuable, rivaling email at 46%. With SMS marketing, brands can generate growth without gimmicks. They can be direct without distracting from brand identity.

Luckily, consumers’ desires to build connections opens a massive opportunity for brands to drive customer lifetime value with SMS anytime, anywhere. 

Brand marketing has evolved to keep up with demand. 

To reach customers in an expanding market, eCommerce brands have had to focus efforts on targeting shoppers more effectively.

“The ROI with SMS marketing is absolutely outstanding. You spend a little bit of money, you get a lot. It’s been consistently through the roof. We’re seeing positive results on both SMS and email. It proves that the growth is incremental and SMS isn’t cannibalizing our email marketing program.”

Lauren Lambert, Director of eCommerce, OWYN

 

Today, traditional marketing channels, like email, are saturated; nearly 269 billion emails are sent per day and approximately 50% are spam. Shoppers receive more messages than they know what to do with, making it more important than ever for brands to be able to cut through the noise to reach their customers.

SMS marketing presented itself as a highly effective channel. Today, texting drives 8x higher engagement rates than email.

eCommerce was ready for a revolution
Chapter 02
eCommerce was ready for a revolution

In 2015, brands were beginning to search for channels other than email to connect with customers and move the needle. How could marketing communications become even more effective? More personal? Further extend customer lifetime value?

SMSBump began running tests to understand exactly what brands needed in order to enable them to better communicate and engage with their customers. The results were clear: SMS marketing was the future.

Open rates were skyrocketing and click-through rates were through the roof; the channel was able to build connections like never before.

“As marketers, we saw the opportunity for SMS marketing to solve a variety of pain points almost instantly. With this channel, brands could not only have a way to communicate with their shoppers, but to also build relationships with them — a shift that had the potential to change the course of eCommerce. We started SMSBump to drive that change.”

— Mihail Stoychev, CEO & Co-Founder, SMSBump

 

One thing was clear: The eCommerce industry was ready for SMS marketing.

Infographic: SMS becomes the most powerful channel
Chapter 03
Infographic: SMS becomes the most powerful channel

SMS marketing has evolved quickly throughout the years. We’ve partnered with brands as they’ve experimented with the channel, learned from their customers, and built their SMS marketing strategies from the ground up.

With SMSBump, brands are able to drive revenue quickly by sending hyper-tailored messages to engaged customers. Not only that, SMS empowers customers to respond, sparking conversations that drive conversion and lifetime value. In fact, 70% of brands view SMS as a top way to create personalized experiences for their shoppers.

“SMS marketing gives brands the opportunity to humanize themselves, engage, and create a one-to-one relationship. SMS bridges the gap between a brand and its customers — it drives better engagement between the two and creates a more convenient experience. The channel is conversational and direct, and it consistently leads to higher conversion.”

— Suhail Rivera, Co-Founder, Alkaline Herb Shop

 

SMS marketing is the top revenue-driving channel D2C brands need in today’s mobile-first eCommerce landscape. Here’s why.

sms infographic

Sources: Yotpo Consumer Survey, Yotpo SMS Marketing Guide, SMSBump, Mobile Marketing Watch, GSMA, LeadsBridge, Connect Mogul.

Our SMSBump team has been at the epicenter of SMS marketing innovations, making waves that have rippled throughout the eCommerce industry as a whole.

Over the years, we’ve strived to take a unique approach, ensuring we push the SMS market forward. We’ve made it our mission to live and breath SMS marketing since day one, working to help thousands of brands launch a top-notch SMS strategy and navigate changes as the channel continues to evolve.

Our predictions: The future of SMS marketing
Chapter 04
Our predictions: The future of SMS marketing

SMS is already the highest-performing marketing channel for brands, and it’s only just the beginning. 

Here are our predictions for where SMS marketing is headed. 

1. Text-to-buy is coming

The next big thing? eCommerce in your pocket. SMS marketing will become a tool where customers can shop simply by responding to the messages they receive. With text-to-buy, consumers’ shopping experiences will become more streamlined — the next step in conversational commerce.

2. Richer, engagement-centric experiences

Multimedia messages (MMS) are just the beginning of an engaging SMS strategy. New formats and design elements within texts will enable messages to become more brand-specific. 

Not only will brands be texting consumers on a first-name basis, but the messages will become more visually engaging, with on-brand elements that immediately build brand credibility and drive engagement.

3. Integrating SMS with every marketing channel

A channel is made only more powerful by its platform, and vice versa. We expect a shift toward more platform synergies in the future, where brands will build marketing strategies that leverage all of their efforts, including SMS, loyalty and referrals, reviews and ratings, email, social, and more, in an interconnected way.

For example, it will be easier than ever for shoppers to leave reviews, receive loyalty program updates and offers, send referrals, and more, all via text. SMS marketing will continue to establish itself as an integral component of a brand’s eCommerce marketing platform.

4. AI-powered smart texting

Brands will look to leverage artificial intelligence within their SMS strategy. They’ll be able to foster more concierge-style conversations, where they can provide more accurate response suggestions based on the conversation. 

With smart texting, brands can respond more easily to texts and initiate 1:1 chats with customers — making every shopper feel special.

5. Messages that customers appreciate

SMS compliance regulations are built to protect consumers; they keep messages to a minimum and ensure that brands can’t inundate shoppers with unwelcome texts, creating a unique customer experience with every message.

SMS won’t make the same mistakes as email when it comes to spam; instead, messages will remain exclusive. Customers will only receive the messages they want and engage with brands on their own terms. 

Looking ahead, tirelessly innovating

The growth of SMS marketing and the story of SMSBump are intrinsically linked. SMSBump has driven reputable growth for the channel and continues to innovate with every passing day — and that drive to create isn’t stopping anytime soon. 

“If you’re a growing brand, it’s time to double down on SMS marketing before your competitors do. I’m excited about what we can do for our customers to make SMS one of the most powerful channels for engagement and retention.”

— Tomer Tagrin, CEO, Yotpo

 

As the eCommerce industry evolves, SMSBump by Yotpo will be there, helping brands build engaging connections with their customers and drive lifetime value that lasts.

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