Australians have fallen in love with online shopping – but one bad habit is costing retailers billions. $29 billion of product goes unsold every year in Australia because of friction in the ecommerce experience, according to Boston Consulting Group.

As online retail options heat up, it is increasingly critical that sellers find new ways to form genuine connections with customers to ensure they complete their transaction journey.

So how can we solve the $29 billion-dollar problem? A recent partnership between engagement specialists MessageMedia and web design agency Honest Fox may hold the answer. 

SMS sales success

Honest Fox is a big believer in SMS technology recouping transactions that would otherwise be lost to abandoned carts. They’ve recently rolled out SMS strategies in partnership with MessageMedia for multiple businesses, which have already seen great results.

The latest success story is contact lens distributor Buy Contacts Online who connected MessageMedia’s ‘SMS Marketing Automation’ app to its Shopify ecommerce platform.

As a growing online retailer, they were keen to minimise cart abandonment and maximise sales. That’s why they adopted SMS for the first time, sending personalised and targeted messages to customers who abandoned carts.

The outcome? Over 30% of customers clicked through to their website, resulting in over 41% of orders fulfilled. Buy Contacts Online also saw a 60% uplift in abandoned cart recovery.

By tapping into the cut-through of SMS, the business quickly recaptured consumer attention and achieved fast financial gains.

Shopify businesses are now regularly reporting similar SMS success stories. Businesses of all sizes should take advantage of this growing trend to solve their abandoned cart issues and get ahead of their competitors.

SMS vs email? It’s a no brainer.

Research shows that within just 90 seconds of delivery, 90% of all text messages are opened. 

In stark comparison, just 2.6% of emails are opened by receivers at all. Additionally, our recent Shopify research has shown SMS click-throughs average close to 400% the rate of email. According to Campaign Monitor, almost 300 billion marketing emails are sent every day, so there’s little wonder consumers are engaging less with their cluttered inbox.

But why is SMS dramatically more effective?

Simply put, smartphone addiction is real. Our urgent need to endlessly connect with our mobile device means most Australians are connected to them morning till night. 

MessageMedia research shows 87% of Australians have opened an SMS from a retailer, and three in five have visited a business website or physical store after receiving a text message. Three-quarters also agreed that an SMS is far more likely to grab their attention than an email or app notification.

While we’re already hooked to our phones, our dependency is only growing as technology evolves.

Easier mobile checkout experiences, driven by the likes of ApplePay, means buying products is now as simple as double-clicking a button. Website landing pages from links in SMS messages can also fast-track buyers to completing their transactions.

As technology transforms, it’s becoming abundantly clear that retailers who integrate SMS services into their chosen ecommerce platforms, rather than email, will win the battle for customers wallets.

SMS is easy to use but growing in sophistication

The evolution of traditional SMS marketing is well underway, which will see text technology engage consumers better than ever before.

MessageMedia has been able to develop and fine-tune SMS best practices to help customer optimise their communication strategy. This includes tips such as automating text reminders to go 60 minutes after a customer abandons their cart and sending SMS marketing on Friday and Saturday after 1 PM for the best click-throughs and conversions.

Consumer attitude research into text messaging also identified that 78% of shoppers will only open a link if it is personalised. Personalisation can be as simple as using a consumer’s name, while also ensuring a trackable link lands exactly where it needs to go on a retailer’s website.

As a global leading message provider, we also provide dedicated business mobile numbers that let customers initiate or engage in two-way conversations directly with the retailer. Shopify seller  Simply for Strings drove 40% more orders by combining two-way texting with abandoned cart reminders so customers could ask additional questions before purchasing.

Savvy businesses that adopt sophisticated SMS strategies will start to solve their abandoned cart problems and drive better financial returns. The faster retailers adopt text message technology, the sooner they can start recovering lost revenue.

To learn more, our upcoming masterclass – co-presented by MessageMedia and Honest Fox CEO Dillon Bailey – will take you through the importance of SMS, how to accelerate sales and maximise conversion for online stores, as well as how to nail your digital marketing strategy.

Tara Salmon is chief marketing officer at MessageMedia.