The average SMS open rate is 5x higher than your typical marketing email. Text-based campaigns convert at least 30% of those they contact, whilst just 3-4% of emails drive any kind of monetary transaction.
Despite this, email remains the more established channel for brands seeking to develop customer relationships, and ultimately sell. In all, 65% of merchants have no SMS strategy whatsoever, and many that do use it for ineffective, spammy comms.
The reason for this is part educational and part technical. First, many marketers are simply not aware of the potential power of SMS to directly drive acquisition and long-term retention. And second, until recently, natural language processing chatbots were not advanced enough to deliver authentic brand-customer interactions at scale via SMS.
Increasingly, however, sophisticated software platforms are enabling a handful of early adopters to transform the customer buying journey. With a little creative messaging, unique tone of voice and personalized communication, some brands have begun to realise the potential of SMS.
We’ve broken down how five food & beverage brands in the FMGC space are using SMS to engage consumers, build community, enhance the customer experience and drive long-term revenue:
First up are Moment, who sell canned drinks filled with natural ingredients to boost mental wellbeing. Their text-based ‘secret’ meditation club is a largely pre-purchase, community focused SMS play which aligns smartly with the brand’s mission and audience.
Subscribers to the service receive a daily link to a free wellness video and can ask product related questions in-channel.
Video topics range from guided meditation, online yoga, wellness tips and feel good clips. Messages feel warm in tone, and although they are bulk sent, the human touch behind them is evident - a great example of how it’s possible to achieve personalisation at scale.
"We wanted to create something that brought value to users, in a totally non-transactional way. People love receiving their meditations at 3pm each day and use it as an escape from their afternoon chores." Faheem Kajee, co-founder - Moment
Customer queries are answered almost immediately by an actual human - which considering 86% of online shoppers actively prefer one-to-one support is a real differentiator for Moment.
By contrast, caffeine energy bar merchant Verb innovates with SMS post-purchase. The service is known as ‘Verb Flex’, and effectively offers customers control of their subscription via text.
Each month repeat buyers are sent a message before each new order is sent, and are given the opportunity to skip, edit or cancel a particular delivery by replying in-channel. This flexibility removes cognitive barriers which might otherwise prevent customers buying-in to Verb’s subscription model, as they know they can easily alter their commitment at any time.
The interactions are high touch, valuable and delivered using the brand’s unique tone of voice, building trust and loyalty over time. Verb should also be commended for the transparency and clarity with which they explain their SMS to would-be subscribers via their website.
Not Pot 🍬
Next on the list is CBD gummy brand Not Pot, who in January 2020 scrapped all email comms in favour of an SMS-only approach - bold move.
Like Moment, Not Pot’s text channel is pre-purchase, and used to share info on limited edition merch, product launches, as well as brand events and news.
This makes good sense for a brand who frequently drop new CBD products and flavours. Not Pot also communicate super clearly about what to expect from their SMS messages, promising a spam-free experience - a refreshing touch.
Olipop have recently taken a leaf out of Verb’s playbook and integrated their subscription model with SMS. The fizzy tonic brand which champions gut health have made it super easy for customers to manage or cancel their subscription via text.
This flexibility not only enhances the experience for the buyer, but is great for fostering one-to-one brand-customer relationships over the long term. Those who sign up also receive a 15% discount on every order, and access to a support team who answer questions in-channel.
Olipop’s website landing page where customers can opt-in to the service is also really clear and transparent - great for building trust and driving more sign ups.
Canned coffee brand Taika are not only innovative when it comes to caffeine hits. They’re also the only brand on our list to include their phone number on their packaging.
This is a super interesting approach which aligns with the purpose of their SMS channel - namely to provide customer support. This is no ordinary helpline, however. Taika’s messaging is quirky and playful, in keeping with the brand’s tone of voice - another really much needed departure from impersonal spam.
You can check out other great (and not so great) examples of how eCommerce brands have incorporated SMS into their marketing strategy here.
To leverage SMS for your brand, take a look at this 3-min breakdown: