How SMS Messaging Can Help Get Buyers Back
E-commerce businesses have a huge problem. Consumers fill up their shopping carts, then rudely abandon them before completing a purchase. Of course, they don’t mean to be rude, they have their reasons for leaving a full cart behind. But the trouble is that most people leave their carts behind. On average, about 67% of shoppers abandon their carts and cost retailers around $18 billion (approx. £12B) each year.
But what if it were possible to get some of those sales back?
What people do about it
Of course online retailers try to get those people to come back to their cart. I often get emails with the “Did you forget something?” subject lines. And it is commonplace to have email integration with the online shopping cart software. These emails get sent out automatically at some preset time after a shopper leaves.
But research shows that less than half of these reminder emails are ever opened. Even when they are, email conversion rates are in the low single digits. So if someone hasn’t already purchased the items somewhere else, they aren’t likely to click through and buy them based on an email either. Some small percentage will of course. And that’s better than nothing, but it could be better.
Another way retailers try to reach out to shoppers who leave their carts behind is using mobile notifications. If a shopper used their app to browse and fill up the cart, the app can send them a brief note asking them to come back and finish what they started. Of course not every online retailer will have an app. Even if they do though, 60% of people on iOS turn off or refuse app notifications. On Android, app notifications don’t require permission so users are overloaded with notification spam. Users of either mobile system just aren’t likely to see a notification.
SMS is different
SMS is the only form of communication that breaks through all the issues above you find with notifications and email (even voice calls don’t get the kind of response SMS does). This is true in general, but it can be especially powerful getting people back to their shopping carts.
Before we get much farther I wanted to share the reasons people abandon their carts in the first place.
A number of different sources say that high shipping cost is the number one reason shoppers fail to complete a purchase. Other reasons include time restraints, out of stock items, payment processing issues, or they are comparison shopping.
Given those reasons, you’d think that a quick reminder, or offer to help would bring most people back – if they saw the message.
SMS can deliver that message in the most direct way possible with today’s technology. People keep their mobiles within arms reach most of the time. Every time they hear that ding, ringtone, or song they look to see what the message is.
To make this more concrete let’s look at an example. Let’s say someone left their cart because they ran out of time when they were shopping. An hour or so after they left you send them a short SMS message asking if they need any help with their purchase and include a link to the cart. When they get the message, they’re sitting around with nothing to do for another 10 minutes so they go ahead and complete the checkout.
Now let’s say they left because shipping was too high. If that’s the case send the same message but offer them 10% off their purchase if they complete it using the link you provide in the message. That discount might make a difference in how the person perceives the total cost so they go ahead and finish the sale. If you have rampant abandonments due to shipping costs then consider sending a link with free shipping (you probably will have to do some testing to see what offers work best for you).
These are probably the same types of offers or content you’ve used or seen in email. The difference is how effective the message will be. With SMS, your customers are literally waiting for your message. Well, they’re ready to read every message they get, so it might as well be your message. With email or notifications they might see your message. They might not. And even if they do, it could be hours or days later.
Sending an SMS message around an hour after the cart is abandoned is what most ecommerce experts recommend. They also say that people who do return after seeing your message spend 55% more. It’s hard to imagine a better reason to start sending SMS reminders for abandoned carts!
SMS marketing is still one of the most effective marketing channels available to businesses but is often overlooked in the pursuit of newer, more digitised technologies. When you include SMS marketing as part of the marketing mix, you're in a far greater position to increase engagement with your campaign, helping you generate a greater return on your investment. As with all channels, there are certain ways you can ensure your campaign is more effective, by following these simple steps.
In many ways, SMS messaging is so commonplace people don’t think about it. They just do it. For example, using SMS for mobile marketing in retail is a fairly standard use case whether you’re a company or the consumer. But there are always exceptions – those who innovate when it seems there’s nothing new to be had. Here are two examples of companies from the US using SMS in ways no one else is – yet.
Businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B) are having trouble keeping up in the digital and mobile age. That’s according to a couple of eMarketer articles. The reasons for it are varied, but it may be mostly because they’ve been slow to acknowledge a change in culture.
The British Equestrian Trade Association’s findings from their National Equestrian Survey 2015 put the economic value of the equestrian sector at £4.3 billion of consumer spending across a wide range of goods and services, with the average spend per horse during the same year at £3600. It is an incredibly varied industry encompassing all types of businesses from sole traders making a living in remote areas to multinational companies. Their customer base typically tends to be busy people who lead largely outdoor lifestyles so the obvious and most effective means of communicating with them is by mobile phone, yet very few equestrian businesses appear to be utilising SMS text messaging marketing. So how could businesses in this sector benefit from this method of marketing?
Global brands are increasingly taking advantage of a Short Message Service (SMS) to connect to customers and improve customer communication and engagement. This trend is taking root amongst small companies too, as they grasp the potential to not only communicate effectively in real-time but use SMS to save time and money in their customer relations procedures.
If you aren’t seeing a positive response from your SMS marketing then your list may be thinking of it as spam and just ignoring it like they do much of their email. So take your latest marketing messages and examine them again with these four questions in mind.
With a ratio оf fоur mоbіlе devices tо еvеrу computer, іt’ѕ сlеаr where your сuѕtоmеrѕ аrе to be found. Mоbіlе mаrkеtіng is nо longer ѕоmеthіng уоu саn аffоrd to put оn the tо-dо-lіѕt fоr thе futurе; you need tо make sure your message is reaching people on mоbіlе dеvісеs nоw. SMS Mаrkеtіng is the perfect solution - it hаѕ proven to іnсrеаѕе сuѕtоmеr engagement tо unрrесеdеntеd levels and is incredibly low priced. Read on to discover 5 rеаѕоnѕ whу сuѕtоmеrѕ love SMS Mаrkеtіng.
Marketing messages, whether in print or electronic have many parts to them. In the beginning there’s the hook that entices someone to continue reading, and near the end is the call to action. That’s where you make it clear what you want someone to do after reading the message. There are many parts in between these two, but these are, arguably, the two most important.