6 Reasons Retailers Can’t Ignore SMS Marketing

Henry Cazalet
Guest Contributor

In many ways, SMS is undeniably basic and even outdated. However, despite its archaic qualities, SMS is still a remarkably forceful marketing tool, and if used responsibly and with moderation, text messaging can become a retailer’s strongest marketing asset.

Despite being over 20 years old, text message marketing it still as powerful as it was when it first became possible in the mid-nineties. The retail sector is perfectly placed to take full advantage of SMS, so it’s surprising then more retailers aren’t getting involved in this most responsive and effective marketing tool.

By avoiding a few common SMS marketing mistakes, retailers can run low cost campaigns that can generate extraordinary response rates. Here we look at six compelling reasons retail companies should add SMS to their marketing mix.

1 – Startling open rates

No marketing channel can compete with the incredible open rate of SMS. Ninety-eight percent of all SMS are opened, and according to Get Response, the average click-through rate for email languishes at a lowly 21 percent. Despite the explosion of messaging apps, SMS remains the most responsive way of getting in touch with customers. It makes some sense; when was the last time you ignored a text?

2 – SMS has eight times the response of email

A study by Cellit, revealed that SMS is in a different league compared to email when it comes to response rate. Compared to any other way of getting your message across, the open and response rates of text are one of the marvels of the marketing world. As David Wachs of Cellit pointed out, “With eight times the response rate of email, mobile marketing is too powerful to pass up.”

3 – Almost zero spam

Not long ago, SMS was plagued by spam. Our inboxes were assaulted by an endless stream of unwelcome junk from loan companies, accident claim companies and others.

Thanks to new stringent rules on SMS in both Europe and the US, spam has been almost entirely eradicated. Regulators now have the power to hand out massive fines to companies that break the rules on SMS.

4 – SMS is universal

Every mobile phone that has ever been made has the ability to send and receive texts. There’s no app to download or data usage to worry about. Despite messaging apps being far better, flexible and easier to use, nothing comes close to SMS when it comes to reach.

Even for millennials, when they need to be absolutely certain a message is read, they turn to SMS.

5 – SMS can be tracked and measured

Delivery reports are generated for each text, letting you know whether the SMS has been successfully delivered or has failed. This enables you to clean your mobile database by removing inactive numbers, so that you reduce your wastage for future campaigns.

If a text campaign includes a link to a website, then the clicks-throughs can be measured and the overall response calculated.

6 – SMS is becoming a popular strategy

Jamie Turner from 60 Second Marketer came up with this wry – and very apt – quote a few years ago: If you’re not using mobile marketing to attract new customers to your business, don’t worry, your competitors are already using it and are getting those customers instead.”

As more retailers see the benefits of contacting prospects and customers by text, it’s more likely companies in your sector are taking advantage. While it’s never a good idea to be too preoccupied with your competitors’ strategies, you don’t want them dominating this very responsive and effective marketing channel.


In many ways, SMS is undeniably basic and outdated – many of us can’t quite believe it still exists. However, despite its archaic qualities, SMS is still a remarkably forceful marketing tool. If you use it responsibly and with moderation, text messaging can become your strongest marketing asset.

About the writer: Henry Cazalet is a director and founder of The SMS Works, a low cost and reliable SMS API for developers. He’s been involved in SMS and mobile marketing since 1999 and helps companies of all sizes get the most out of SMS.

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