SMS Conversion: The Retailers Secret Tool for Boosting Revenue

Learn more about SMS conversion strategies you can implement to increase revenue




October 13, 2023


James Anderson
Product Designer @ Instant

Remember that cool new thing you saw online a few weeks ago? You added it to your shopping cart, but then life got in the way and you forgot all about it. Now it's sitting in abandonment limbo, wondering if it will ever find a home — don't worry though, it’s got plenty of company. 

Around 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned before checkout, leaving potential sales opportunities dangling in the wind — but, we have some good news!

Instant SMS is a powerful tool for retailers that can help engage and convert shoppers and bring them back to your store (and forgotten carts!) with some well timed, creatively crafted marketing messaging and strategies. For example, Instant identifies the shopper, and the shopper is sent an SMS with an Instant Checkout link for them to instantly purchase the product they left behind.

Instant SMS in action

Let’s explore further.

What is SMS conversion?

SMS (short message service) conversion simply means using text messages to encourage potential customers to complete a desired action — this can be finalising an abandoned purchase, signing up for a newsletter or even redeeming a coupon. 

A retailer using SMS conversion strategies will typically initiate a series of short, enticing text messages to customers who have performed a particular action, for example leaving an unpurchased item in their cart. The first message might be a friendly reminder of a forgotten item, while subsequent messages might offer a discount or other incentive to complete the purchase.

But that’s not all.

Personalisation: The customisation capabilities of SMS means being able to personalise messages to each customer, making them more relevant and engaging. For example, retailers can include the customer's name, abandoned cart items, or other relevant information in their messages to encourage action.

Timeliness: SMS messages can be sent immediately, allowing retailers to reach customers at the right time. For example, a retailer could send a text message to a customer who has abandoned their cart within minutes of them leaving the website. 

Affordability: SMS conversion is a relatively affordable marketing channel, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes.

How to use SMS conversion effectively

Segment your audience. Once you have a list of SMS subscribers, it's important to segment them into different groups based on their interests, purchase history, or other factors. This will allow you to send targeted and relevant messages, like a reminder to customers who have abandoned their carts that their items are still waiting for them, or a complimentary offer to customers who have recently purchased a product.

Create compelling messages. Your SMS messages should be short, sweet, and to the point. Get to the heart of your message quickly and clearly, and use a call to action to tell customers what you want them to do. For example, you might say "Click here to complete your purchase of [item name]!" or "Use code SUMMER20 at checkout for 20% off your purchase."

Don’t be afraid to get creative. A little bit of humour and colour can go a long way, just be careful not to overdo it. A well-placed joke or emoji can make your text messages more memorable and enjoyable to read; like this book we found about gravity — it’s impossible to put down. 🥁😬

Track your results. It's important to track the results of your SMS conversion campaigns so that you can see what's working and what's not, helping you to improve your campaigns over time. Most SMS marketing platforms will provide you with detailed reports on your open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

Send messages at the right time. The timing of your SMS messages is important, and you wouldn't want to send a text message to a customer at 2am when they’re likely asleep. Try to send messages during the day when your customers are most actively checking their phones.

P.S. Here's a fun fact: Did you know that an Aussie checks their phone an average of 7.8 times an hour? That's a lot of opportunities to send them targeted and engaging SMS messages!

*Bonus* SMS Conversion Templates to Get You Started

Use these templates as a starting point to create your own personalised, fun and engaging messaging that speaks to your brand (and your customers!).

Abandoned cart reminder: "Hi [customer name], you have items in your cart waiting for you! Click here to complete your purchase."

Abandoned cart offer: "Hi [customer name], we noticed you left an item in your cart. Click here to complete your purchase and get free shipping!"

Back in stock notification: "Hey [customer name], the [item] you've been waiting for is back in stock! Click here to buy it now. "

Customer birthday offer: "Happy birthday [customer name]! Treat yourself with a 20% discount on your next purchase. Enjoy your day!"

Discount offer: "Thanks for shopping with us! Use code SUMMER20 at checkout for 20% off your purchase."

Flash sale offer: "We're having a flash sale! Get 50% off all [item] for the next 24 hours. Shop now: [website link]"

Limited-time offer: "Don't miss out on our limited-time offer! Get 20% off your entire purchase when you spend $50 or more. Use code FLASH20 at checkout."

Did you know a conversion rate of 2.1% is considered 'Great'? With Instant SMS, the average conversion rate is above 2.9%. Find out more here.