Have you ever visited a website, then realised you were seeing ads from that site everywhere else you went online? It wasn’t coincidence, it’s called “remarketing”. Marketers have been using it to get people back to their website for years. But the evolution of mobile marketing calls for something a little different. And that’s where SMS remarketing comes in.
The basic concept is the same, but instead of presenting ads to website visitors, you send them follow-up SMS messages. And you only do it in specific circumstances, like when they abandon their cart.
While exact rates vary between industries and even countries, average shopping cart abandonment rates run between 70-80%. So, between 7-8 of every ten online customers leave their shopping cart prior to checking out. A SaleCycle.com survey of retail and fashion clients found the following reasons for abandoned carts:
- 34% Are just browsing or researching pricing
- 23% Shipping either costs too much or the delivery time isn’t acceptable
- 18% Prices are too high or they want to comparison shop to find it cheaper
- 15% Plan on buying the item in the store rather than online
- 6% Payment related issues
- 4% Technical issues
Many of these are hurdles that can be overcome, if only you can get the potential buyers attention back. As a retailer, you may already use email to reach out to these customers and try to get them to come back. But email is slow, and even if you contact them immediately, they may not see it. This is even more likely with Gmail addresses since they’ve added their “Promotions” folder. Anything Google determines is retail-related is filed away out of the inbox unless the user specifically tells it not to do that.
Email still has its place, but when you’re trying to reach out quickly, SMS is often the better option.
The first consideration in using SMS is whether you have the mobile number of the person who abandoned their cart. If they are a regular shopper you might already have it. But if you don’t capture that information already, you may want to consider asking for it during your account creation process.
If you do have their mobile, and they’ve filled up their cart and left, you can contact them about it. According to the ICO guidelines this is a “soft” opt-in. You can send them SMS messages that relate to the items or sale they attempted to complete. It doesn’t give you cart blanche to send them messages about everything, but as long as you keep it relevant to their purchase (even if it was incomplete) then you are ok.
But why would you want to use SMS when you already use email? Well, why do you do social media when you do email? Or online advertising when you do email? They are different channels to reach the same goal. Some customers, especially if they’ve given you their mobile number, might respond better to getting an SMS message. In fact, almost every study that compares SMS and email reports that SMS receives higher open and click-through rates than email.
But you just won’t know if one works better than the other (or they work better together) for you unless you try it. If you still need some motivation to get started, here are some other numbers from a Salecycle.com study of SMS remarketing:
- 5% of people who got an SMS with a link to their cart, clicked the link to view their selections
- 7% of those that clicked on their cart link, completed a purchase
Those numbers translate into 4-5 sales for every 100 abandoned carts that received SMS notifications. That’s a pretty impressive conversion rate. According to SmartInsights, average online conversion rates in the UK ran between 4% and 5% in the last quarter of 2016. If you can get back another 5% by using SMS, isn’t that like doubling your conversions?
Of course, SMS can be used by online retailers for other purposes too such as order confirmations, shipping notifications, customer surveys, product announcements, and marketing. If you want to know more about it, you can download our Mobile Marketing Guide. You can also reach our friendly SMS experts via live chat, email or phone. They’d be happy to talk with you about using SMS messaging for online retail business.