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Exploring SMS for Ecommerce Marketing

5 min read

Join the Ecwid Ecommerce Show hosts Jesse and RichE as they chat with Ryan Wood, founder of a growth and media strategy firm Woodmill Strategy.

With 12 years of experience, Ryan’s primary job with Woodmill Strategy is partnering with brand owners, large and small, to figure out how to grow their business in a sustainable way.

Listen to Ryan talk about the importance of a charted-out vision for your business, the difference between email and SMS marketing, chatbots, and more. Tune in if you’re looking for new and simple ways to promote your business.

Developing a Vision for Your Business

People who are relatively new to e-commerce often don’t have a vision for their business. The first thing that Ryan encourages those business owners to do is to develop one. Growth strategies need something to anchor into. They need a target, whether that target is 12 or 24 months from now.

First things first, create some targets: number of customers, how many of those customers you want to come back and make repeat purchases. Different kinds of quantitative metrics will support your revenue target, such as acquisition or customer retention rates.

Email Marketing and SMS

When it comes to email marketing and SMS, it is a play of preference. People communicate in different ways, especially online.

Let’s say you have an email program going and you’re sending out emails consistently. You’ve got really good automated sequences, such as cart abandonment emails, welcome emails, etc. SMS does pretty much all of the same things, just in a different medium.

However, when you look at the performance metrics between the two platforms, SMS almost always adds value in addition to (not being a replacement for) email marketing.

Chatbots and SMS

SMS is on the rise, but chatbots are becoming less popular. The reason is that chatbots are dependent on third-party developers, unlike text messaging. Text message providers do not rely on platforms like Facebook, so are resistant in case something on those platforms abruptly changes.

Benefits of SMS Marketing

With the recent iOS update, marketers no longer get open rates (the percentage of subscribers who open a specific email out of your total number of subscribers) or click-through rates (the percentage of people who clicked on at least one link in your email) for iOS devices. That’s a problem for email marketers, but it is not applicable to SMS marketing–you still get all of that data from it.

Ryan shares some statistics on the podcast: it takes somebody 90 minutes to respond to an email. On average, it takes someone 90 seconds to respond to a text message. So with SMS, people are more likely to open their texts and respond to them.

Like with email, you can build cart abandonment flows and welcome flows with SMS. But you don’t have to create a bunch of graphics like you do with emails. You put the same effort into creating an SMS campaign as you do when writing a tweet.

The cost of SMS marketing can be as low as a penny per text message sent. For some of the biggest brands that have collected thousands of SMS numbers, that means a couple of hundred dollars a month. For most brands, it’s even cheaper. It takes a while to get there, but the revenue contribution from SMS marketing is significant.


  • “Subscription-based businesses are wonderful because they’re recurring revenue. But customers are discovering new things, things about themselves and about different products. So subscription businesses have to be unique in experience and fun, otherwise, they can go down the drain pretty quick.”
  • “A lot of times I’ve seen SMS get 80-85% open rates on some campaigns and 40% click-through rates, unlike email, which is kind of a slow build after the send. You can do a messenger campaign and you can have a massive hit of traffic and performance for the business.”
  • “I’ve launched about 15 or 20 different SMS marketing programs over the last couple of months. The click-to-purchase percentages, according to Google Analytics, is that 8 to 12% of them will convert or will transact. An average ecommerce conversion is 2%.”
  • “Chatbot still has a play in my book. I’ve seen some people do really creative stuff. Like using influencer pages for remarketing campaigns. Who doesn’t wanna be messaged by their favorite influencer they’ve been following for the last three years, telling them that they’ve left a product in their cart?”

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