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Text messages vs Emails – Which is more effective?

Ecommerce businesses have been using email marketing for years and it has come to a point where our email inboxes are daily flooded with numbers of various special offers from stores where we once bought. In order for emails to stand out, they have emojis in their subjects, just so they get noticed.

In the past years, text messages have become cheaper and their use in marketing has slowly started to grow. Although text messages were first used like newsletters, they have now started to be used for abandoned cart notifications, post-purchase offers, and win-back discounts.

Text messages vs Email – the statistics

On a global scale, emails have an open rate of around 20% and a click-through rate of 2%. Compared to text messages, these numbers are incomparable. Text messages have an open rate of 99% and a click-through rate of around 40%!

Not only that, but text messages have an open rate of 93% within just 3 minutes of receiving them.

These statistics are the main reason why so many eCommerce companies are shifting to using text messages instead of emails for their marketing campaigns.

Did you know: The average response time for email is 90 minutes while the average response time for a message is 90 seconds.

One of the main reasons for such success of text messages has to do with the length of them – as they are short, special offers are hard to miss. That is why they have six times the engagement rate of emails!

Reasons for the success of text messages

As mentioned above, one of the reasons for a high click throught rate is that the text messages are short, so missing a special offer is hard. But what about the open rates? These are also significantly higher than with emails.

One of the reasons for that is, that text messages do not go into the spam or promotions folder. The promotions tab in Gmail actually gets checked by only 45% of people on a daily basis.

But text messages are there on the main screen of your phone, just waiting for you to see what they say. And while phones are checked daily over 250 times, emails are checked only 15 times.

And when checked, there is usually a large number of emails waiting to be read, while with text messages there might be just a few – if even that. An interesting comparison regarding the number of emails and text messages is that on a daily basis there are upwards of 293 billion emails sent and only 26 billion text messages.

There is also one more important aspect of the success of text messages and that is their reach of demographics. While not all age groups are versatile with emails and check them on a daily basis (for example elderly), using phones for calling and sending text messages is something that is very normal for people from all age groups. You do not need to be one-bit tech-savvy to know how to check your phone for new messages but with emails, you do need to at least need to check them regularly – which a lot of people do not see the reason for doing that.

Do people like receiving text messages

Because text messages are more personal than emails, there has always been the question if they might be too intrusive and whether the recipients will not like getting them. But the fact is that customers of online shops like getting them and that 85% of them actually prefer them over emails or phone calls. Not only that, but 75% of clients want to receive offers via SMS!

Based on additional surveys, more than 54% of customers miss the option to get notifications via text messages and 70% of them claim it is a great way to attract attention. With that in mind, text messages are a marketing channel that is just waiting to be taken advantage of.

The top three industries where customers say they are more likely to opt into text messages are the e-commerce/retail industry (46%), healthcare and health-related fields (43%), and banking/financial institutions (41%).

Consumers preferred text messages over any other channel for receiving brand updates!

Did you know: Average sale losses globally due to products out of stock are 4%. With “back in stock” notifications you can drive over 50% of customers back to your store!

Completely replacing emails with text messages for marketing purposes of course is not the solution. There are situations where emails are more convenient to use despite the statistics mentioned in this article.

When to use text messages instead of emails

1. Flash sales and limited time offers

Text messages are very personal and give recipients an additional feeling of urgency. When seeing an email after a few days where it says that there is a limited amount of products left, most people do not bother as they suspect that they are too late.

But with text messages, the results are almost instantaneous as they get opened almost immediately after receiving them.

2. New product launches

Make your customers/subscribers feel more in touch with your brand and give them a feeling of belonging – send them special announcements that you have just launched a new product.

3. Recovering abandoned carts

Because text messages get opened so fast after receiving them, they are extremely efficient in recovering abandoned carts. These usually occur due to a random distraction or too high of a price. Sending a text message with a gentle reminder or a discount can help you recover more than 10% of abandoned carts!

4. Last chance reminders

The fear of missing out is a sales tactic that works all the time. And with text messages, this is even more effective. Just like with flash sales, so too are the reminders efficient due to the personal nature and the immediate response they achieve.

5. Asking for feedback or reviews

As mentioned, text messages are a lot more personal than emails. Asking for feedback/review for the bought product or service is a lot more effective and gives not just better results but also reviews due to the feeling of being more personal as a business.

When to use emails instead of text messages

1. Newsletters

Whenever you want to send more information regarding your product line, upcoming offers, or company information, that can not be fitted into a few text messages, then sending an email newsletter makes complete sense. Newsletters of this kind are usually sent from B2B companies or businesses that want to stay as un-invasive as possible.

2. Promotions that include multiple products

Sending a promotion with multiple products within a text message makes no sense as the text will not be well visible – there will be just too much information to check. That is why in this case emails are more useful – in addition, you can show product images, which is always a good thing when there is too much text.

3. Welcome series

When registering for a service or at an online store, there are occasions when businesses send welcome emails which are used to get the newly registered user more acquainted with the service the website offers. As these are texts that are meant to teach recipients they are usually not that short and even contain additional images and links. Therefore it is best for the recipients to get this via email to read the content on the computer.

Should text messages replace emails?

Text messages are a new channel of communication that definitely outperform emails, but this does not mean that they should replace emails entirely. Emails do have their advantages and should still be used as a marketing channel. Still, some ways of using emails should be replaced with text messages as they are not effective anymore.

Although it might seem that text messages are hard to implement into a website as a marketing channel, this is far from the truth. There are multiple solutions out there that make it easy to start within minutes.

One of those solutions is called CartBoss, which offers simple 5-minute integration into any WooCommerce or Shopify store. To read more about CartBoss, visit their website

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