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How modern eCommerce brands are using SMS
SMS communication is an incredible channel to build deeper relationships with your customers - especially as a DTC brand. We're breaking down the SMS strategies from some of the worlds best brands and how they're standing out.
Brief summary: Dirty Lemon is a direct-to-consumer beverage business. Dirty Lemon have pioneered an SMS purchasing experience for their customers selling functionality beverages packed nutrients such as collagen to support youthful skin or ginseng to heighten focus and energy.
Main challenge: Dirty Lemon wanted to solve an inefficient and antiquated distribution system. They wanted to enable their customers to place order as easy as an SMS.
How they use SMS: Customers can simply text their order to the Dirty Lemon phone number. From there, customers set up an account and enter their credit card and address information via text. After the initial sign-up, customers only need to send a text message of their order to their brand number, and subsequent orders are automatically charged to the card on file.
Brief summary: Equal Parts is a D2C cookware business. They sell cleverly engineered pots and pans - designed to help you cook faster and clean easier. From non-stick pans to knives, their product set caters for all experiences in your kitchen. Equal Parts is a product of Gin Lane, a former design & branding agency turned brand incubator (now named Pattern).
Main challenge: Being at the cutting edge of marketing and building strong customer relationships - Equal Parts seeked to break through the clutter of traditional communication platforms such as email or on-site chat. They found success via SMS Messaging.
How they use SMS: Without any pre-requisite of a subscription or purchase, Equal Parts offers its prospective customers with a text-based “cooking coach service”. Just one text to the service, and within two-to-five minutes (sometimes even faster) you're set up with a friendly, real-person coach, who's there to give you whatever information you need. Users of the service can text chefs about which foods to cook, recipes to follow, and groceries to buy. It’s an 8-week opportunity for Equal Parts to win-over a prospective customer. If a user is disengaged, the texting mechanism feels less like a coach and more like a traditional newsletter with texts like "Text us what's in your fridge. We'll tell you what to make." It’s a brilliant use of the platform, and their innovation will surely inspire the next generation of consumer-centric businesses.
Brief summary: Taika is a D2C Beverage startup in the coffee space. Taika saw a gap in the coffee market and felt that the options out there were either too sweet, too caffeinated or too heavy. Their answer is a perfectly calibrated blend of coffee and adaptogens that balance caffeine's highs and lows for a smooth, clear experience. You also can’t ignore the packaging of the product, which boasts their direct phone number and prompts users to engage in phone conversations.
Main challenge: The coffee beverage industry is competitive! Taika wanted a way to beat out the competition by connecting with their customer base at a deeper level. For them, it meant getting consumers comfortable with the idea of communicating with Taika via SMS.
How they use SMS: Taika uses text half as a customer service solution, and half as a marketing channel. For example, for wholesale enquiries - prospective buyers are prompted to text their line. For consumers, Taika promises to answer any questions via text. Clearly the phone number is more than a traditional hot-line to answer any enquiry, but also a way for Taika to engage with customers and convert them into loyal customers. Their packaging is innovative in that it conveys a real sense of transparency to the customer - While traditional commerce businesses hide their direct lines as much as possible to avoid costly communications as much as possible, Taika signals to the user that they are open, friendly and ready to assist.
Brief summary: Wellory is a platform that connects users with nutritionists via phone communication. Users pay a monthly fee and in return they get an initial video-based nutrition consultation; ongoing SMS support and a personalized diet plan.
Main challenge: Diet advice is everywhere online and hard to trust. Meeting with nutritionists in person is hit or miss and has a lot of friction. It’s also extremely expensive to meet with nutritionists in person. Phone conversations reduce friction in the journey and are a much more scalable way to consult users than in-person interactions.
How they use SMS: SMS communication is the product. Unlike other brands listed in the article where SMS is used to enhance a product experience, Wellory’s product is the texting experience. Their team of nutritionists are matched with new customers and are able to offer ongoing support via SMS. Users are prompted to share pictures of their meals, comment on their assigned meal plans and exchange as much as possible. Through Wellory, you don’t just get a nutrition plan - you get a friend who’s best interest is to keep you healthy.
Brief summary: NotPot is a D2C CBD gummy brand. It’s playful eCommerce site sells vegan CBD gummies in different flavors ranging from 🍉, to 🍎, to 🥒.
Main challenge: It’s hard to believe today, but when NotPot came out in 2018, the term CBD was still quite scary to many. The mass market was still in the dark as to whether CBD would “get you high”, and CBD companies were really just a front for marijuana businesses. NotPot tackled this challenge by offering a direct line of communication via SMS messaging. This conveyed a level of transparency, trust and security that was needed in the space.
How they use SMS: NotPot uses SMS as a marketing tool and as a direct substitute for email communications. To them, a user who gives you their phone number to hear about exclusive offers, product launches and restocks is much more valuable than a user who submits their email to “stay in touch”.
PS: This is also a great (in-depth) 5-min breakdown of the SMS strategy on NotPot 🔧
Brief summary: Judy is a D2C brand which sells emergency and safety kits. With natural disasters on the rise, Judy aims to equip every household with the necessary tools to be prepared in case of an emergency. From “The Safe” which has everything inside from an LED flashlight to Rescue blankets and Glowsticks, to the “Starter” pack for the individual traveler - Judy equips anyone and everyone .
Main challenge: To differentiate themselves from standard safety kits available on Amazon and provide greater safety to their customers, Judy chose to use text messaging to open a clear line of communication with their clientele.
How they use SMS: The way it works is that once a Judy kit is registered, a customer begins to receive safety-tips and advice through text communication. In any event of distress, customers can also text emergency questions to Judy for real-time guidance. Texting is used as an educational tool; it’s a method for Judy to educate their customer base on how to improve their safety.
SMS Messaging is become a key driver of growth in the world of consumer businesses. What’s consistent throughout all of the above examples, is that SMS allows you to build trust, loyalty and get closer to your customers. SMS is especially effective with the brands above because they don’t abuse the channel the way marketers might abuse the email channel.
Check out how you can leverage SMS for your brand with this 3-min breakdown: