Characteristics of SMS E-Commerce

I read an interesting article on Kissmetrics about how companies can utilize SMS for e-commerce through being readily available for help, thus improving their sales.

But, why is it such a huge jump to have e-commerce transactions occur completely through SMS?

This is the reality:




This is SMS:


For the user, it’s a no-brainer and very easy to text back while all other details like delivery/payment are taken care of only once (also via text). This type of e-commerce is habit forming because its push and pull, not push, push, push, and wait.

So, we’ve established it’s easy, simple and convenient. What other characteristics make SMS an attractive place to do e-commerce?

First off, it’s important to know your customer, not only who they are but their specific behaviors, then you can build your SMS activity around them.

Let’s look at the behavior of our typical user.

We’ve found that our member base is fairly gender neutral, working professionals, with the majority in their late 20’s to early 30’s. About 40% are in positions of power and a fair amount are in marketing, advertising, technology, finance, and retail.

It’s easy to paint the picture here. Imagine, you’re busy and when lunch time rolls around, you either forget to eat, eat really late, or spend way too much time thinking about what to eat. It’s a daily pain to figure out how to deal with those hunger pangs. Besides, you got an overflowing inbox, client meetings, and deadlines to contend with. Lunch doesn’t even make the list most days.

We take one daily necessary decision off their plate in a timely manner.

Another characteristic which may seem counterintuitive, is the way the SMS is presented. People respond to images a lot more than text. In fact, it makes the decision even easier: no reading, just look. However, this is definitely subject to testing based on your user base and also comes down to understanding their behavior.

Our choice of 3 dishes comes in the form of bright and punchy images. This is a powerful mode of delivering the menu vs. straight text.

the menu on March 8/2016

We’ve had customers say they choose the dish based on how it makes them feel. In some case, if the images are “too boring” then they’ll pass. What characterizes a boring image is up for debate! However, what this symbolizes is that customers make decisions based on a variety of factors that are driven by how they feel at that particular moment.

These factors include: the weather, the day of the week, mood, how busy they are, and cravings. This means, we can never predict how well a dish will do on any particular day compared to another one. Some days it sells out, and some days few people buy it. However, one thing we know for sure is that putting that dish on Stadium and text, the text will sell more every time. Also, rainy days are great.

The next characteristic of SMS e-commerce is figuring out what is enticing and delightful enough that they will actually engage with the SMS? Well, this is also a bit counterintuitive, but the SMS shouldn’t only be about e-commerce. This is where you have to add a little something extra related to your brand personality. Think about your social media strategy - you don’t always say BUY BUY BUY! You’re (hopefully) more authentic, original and create stories around your product/service. That same philosophy works here. What we add in are elements of suspense, we don’t want the user to know what the text will be about.

We may have a deal, promotion, contest, giveaway, game, or cool GIF on any given day. This is always a surprise.

For us, the necessity of lunch in a time limit gives us permission to send 1 text a day. With deep knowledge on our customer’s habits and behaviors, we are better able to deliver an effective and highly engaging SMS.

With this opt-in, we can sell just about anything and can create really interesting micro-experiences for brands. The possibilities are endless in this new frontier.

Try it out yourself. Feedback welcome! Txt MEDIUM to 22105 to get started.

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