Shopify SMS Marketing Guide & Best Apps 
When social media came along, many people thought it was the death of SMS marketing – but nothing could be further from the truth.
SMS has found its place in the marketing arsenals of leading ecommerce brands – and it’s a channel that many Shopify merchants are using with great success.
Fortunately, there are quite a few apps that make Shopify SMS marketing easy to include in your overall marketing strategy.
Let’s take a look at the basics of what you need to know about SMS marketing for Shopify – and the best apps out there to help you conquer it.
Shopify SMS marketing: why do you need it?
There are not many forms of marketing where you are practically guaranteed that the intended recipient will read your message. With Shopify SMS marketing, you get that.
This is the single biggest reason why you can’t ignore SMS marketing for your store. SMS open rates are much higher than email. That’s the first step to promoting engagement with customers.
In these competitive times, when multiple other stores in the same niche are competing for the attention of potential buyers, being seen is the first hurdle to cross.
Unmatched open rates and high ROI
According to Gartner, SMS open rates are as high as 98 percent. This compares to just 20 percent for emails. It takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text and 90 minutes to respond to an email, on average:
These stats say it all. It doesn’t matter how often you knock on the door if nobody opens it. With SMS marketing, the door is opened: your message will likely be read because the recipient knows it’s only going to take a few seconds of their time.
MobileMonkey claims that customers who receive text messages are 40 percent more likely to convert than those who don’t and that SMS engagement rates are six to eight times higher than with email marketing.
Increase touch points with customers
SMS has the power to actively increase the number of touch points with customers. This builds relationships and loyalty.
People are comfortable with using SMS. Many have been using it for over 20 years. And, for most people, the thought of leaving home without their phones is enough to induce heart palpitations.
So, ultimately, you can reach people wherever they are whenever you want.
Put simply, SMS marketing for Shopify stores is one of the best ways to keep in contact with your customers.
Texts are sales funnel “agnostic”
SMS can be used at all stages of the buyer journey on Shopify.
For those at the top of the funnel who are just learning about you and your products and services, you can use text messages to engage them, nurture their interests and encourage them to make the first purchase.
If they abandon their cart, it’s a great way to follow up on this potential “lost” sale and turn it into a conversion.
For existing customers, SMS can help you keep in touch, upsell and cross-sell, encourage repeat purchases, and increase loyalty.
Shopify SMS marketing is not just about special offers and discounts. You can use it to pass on essential order info and shipping details, etc.
It works best as part of an overall marketing strategy – not replacing email, social media and so on, but working alongside it. Indeed, some marketers found that sending a follow-up text to customers asking if they’ve read your email resulted in an increase of open rates by 20 to 30 percent.
Best practices with Shopify SMS marketing
Okay, now you’re convinced that you need SMS marketing for your Shopify store, how do you get started?
In this section, we’ll cover a few of the best practices with Shopify SMS marketing, before pointing out a few of the apps you should consider using.
When should you use SMS?
Nobody is going to read an eBook by SMS.
Think of SMS as your “headline writer” – just the key message info should be included to attract people to take the next step.
Headlines are intended to engage the reader enough to read on and take in the rest of the piece. With SMS, it’s probably a specific action you want the reader to take – or a specific piece of information you want to pass on.
Shopify SMS marketing is most effective in engaging customers and promoting sales when you want to:
- Send out deals, discounts, and coupons to encourage sales
- Provide access to exclusive offers
- Request feedback from customers (via short surveys)
- Pass on important information to keep customers in the loop
- Provide personal account alerts and notifications (e.g., when an item is back in stock)
- Increase touch points with customers who use mobile devices more than desktops
Balance information with promotion
You can see from the above list that not all messages you send in SMS marketing campaigns need to be promotional. Balance the informative messages with the promotional ones for the best results.
If you bombard your audience with promotional messages, many will stop opening and reading them. Throwing in a few text messages requesting feedback or taking part in a survey is always a good strategy.
Consider the target audience
SMS works for most people, in truth. However, you may find that it’s particularly effective with younger target audiences.
Many marketers have found that SMS works particularly well with 18–24-year-olds, who generally check their email less than older adults.
A picture really does paint a thousand words…or at least 160 characters… in SMS marketing.
Images, GIFS, and even short videos can be included in text messages to improve conversion rates.
Whether you’re looking to recover a cart or presenting an entirely new offer to a customer, it will pay to include an image of the product(s).
Build text templates
You don’t want to have to write a new text message from scratch for every campaign. Build a library of templates that you can simply pull out and select from when you start a new campaign.
Here are a few basic ideas:
“You left before completing your purchase! Please review your shopping cart & select a payment method to complete your order. www.shopifyshop.com/cart.”
“It’s flash sale time! Get up to 70% off on selected products. Visit our shop now www.shopifyshop.com/shop.”
“Thank you for your purchase! Please allow 2-4 business days for delivery. Order tracking number: 1234567891234.”
You have 160 characters to get your message across to the reader – so no fluff!
Your text messages should include a brief, precise copy that grabs the attention of the reader – plus a link to a voucher, ticket, survey, or whatever action you want the reader to take next.
If you don’t have anyone to write messages for you, practice and you will improve your skills. Track which types of messages get the best response rates and adjust campaigns as necessary. More about that below.
Beware of SPAM & the data laws
Any business using SMS or any other form of marketing messaging needs to be aware of the CAN-SPAM and TCPA Acts.
The CAN-SPAM legislation establishes the requirements for sending unsolicited commercial messages (“spam”). The TCPA does the same for unsolicited communications by telephone or text message.
For instance, customers need to opt-in to receive text messages or you are prohibited by law from sending them. You should also make it easy for customers to opt-out of your SMS list.
One way you can ensure compliance with the laws is by having customers text your business first to join your list.
Failure to comply can lead to huge fines (up to $1,500 per message). The apps we introduce below will help you with this.
Track, measure and adjust
After you have run a few SMS campaigns, you will start to get a feel for how successful each campaign is.
Don’t leave this to gut feeling though – measure performance and make adjustments. You can run A/B tests to see which approach works best for you and your audience.
A good way to do this is with the use of keywords. These are predefined words or short phrases that you create to help you measure the success of a campaign.
Create a new keyword for each campaign and track how many people texted it to your short code.
The short code is the abbreviated phone number (five or six digits – see above) that you set up for your SMS marketing account – so that you don’t need to use your personal number.
Best Shopify SMS marketing apps
Like with most Shopify marketing, there is a whole ecosystem of apps to help you achieve what you want with SMS marketing.
The following four apps help you automate the process and ensure that the right messages get to the right devices at the right time. Campaigns can be set up in minutes.
Using a combination of AI and human power, these apps can help you reach more customers and potential customers without having to do much heavy lifting yourself.
This app by Liverecover is focused on one of the most useful aspects of Shopify SMS marketing – recovering abandoned carts. Turning abandoned carts into potential sales is what all the smartest stores do – and SMS is perfect for that.
The real beauty of Liverecover is that it uses human intelligence as well as automation to convert customers and get results. Real humans conduct sales conversations over SMS rather than impersonal chatbots.
Being human-powered rather than AI-powered sets it apart from other apps reviewed here – which is reflected in the ratings it’s received from some of the thousands of Shopify merchants who use the app.
Price: Free to install – 20% of the revenue generated by the app is paid back. Paid plans at $49/month (+10% revenue generated) and $99/month (+10% revenue generated)
Free Trial? Yes – 14 days.
Average Shopify Rating (out of 5 stars): 4.9 (48 reviews)
Main features and benefits:
- Abandoned cart recovery by humans is the main focus
- Every text message is sent by a live human for a better conversion rate – no chatbots!
- Helps upsell and recover “lost” sales
- Helps you manage email subscriptions and grow your list according to compliance requirements
- Integrates and segments Shopify customer data for powerful, targeted marketing campaigns
- Provides powerful customer insights – what they want, like, and dislike
- Easy to use and install
- Easy-to-understand sales analytics for SMS marketing insights
- Live SMS support and conversations to answer questions, upsell and increases sales
- Month to month payment agreement – no contracts
- Integrates with CartHook, One Click Upsell ReCharge, Bold, etc.
SMSBump is one of the most popular apps used by Shopify SMS marketers. With over 1600 reviews from happy customers featured on the Shopify App store, it is one of the bigger players to consider for SMS campaigns.
As well as SMS cart recovery campaigns, you can use this app to reach out and chat with existing and prospective customers while maintaining full compliance with all the relevant message-sending and marketing regulations.
Price: Free to install. Pricing is based on the country you will be sending SMS messages to. Starting from 1.5 cents per text message in the USA.
Free Trial? No
Average Shopify Rating (out of 5 stars):4.8 (1628 reviews)
Main features and benefits:
- Helps build a GDPR/TCPA compliant SMS Marketing list
- Includes pop-ups, floating buttons, email converter, keyword, and social opt-ins
- Automates sophisticated and segmented SMS campaigns to target specific customer groups
- Great for abandoned cart reminders and win-back campaigns
- Send images and GIF SMS campaigns in the US
- Run split tests to ensure campaigns are optimized
- Can get new subscribers instore if you use Shopify POS
- Provides support and tracking of Shopify discount codes
- Send messages based on your customer’s local time zone (and include “quiet hours” when customers cannot be messaged)
- Set maximum budgets (costs per text message)
- Detailed in-app analytics to track orders, link clicks, SMS by country, conversion rate, amount spent, etc.
- Opt-out lists for keeping track of unsubscribed clients
- Integrates with major Shopify apps for reviews, UGC, loyalty, subscription services, help desks, etc.
Postscript is another of the most popular Shopify SMS marketing apps out there – used by thousands of merchants to grow their subscriber lists, recover carts, and reach out to new and existing customers with key order information.
This app is highly automated and the emphasis is on efficiency and done-for-you services – rather than the personalization and human-centric approach used by Liverecover.
Price: Free plan available (unlimited credits for a month). Paid plans from $25/month (2,500 credits) up to $500/month (50,500 credits).
Free Trial? Yes – 30 days.
Average Shopify Rating (out of 5 stars):5.0 (1207 reviews)
Main features and benefits:
- Grow a TCPA-compliant subscriber list
- Collect subscribers at checkout and on landing pages, using pop-ups and QR codes
- Create targeted text marketing campaigns for different audience segments
- Automatically send text messages based on customer actions
- Two-way conversations with customers to help grow sales
- Sync Shopify store data in minutes
- Includes default text marketing automation for abandoned cart recovery, shipping notifications, welcome series, and loyalty offers
- Use existing templates or create new ones
- Add GIFs and photos to automations
- Schedule campaigns in advance and use the “Safe Send” feature to ensure you don’t send too many texts
- Review the performance of campaigns and check ROI
- Premium account management and on-boarding for Shopify Plus stores
- Integrates with other key Shopify apps, including Gorgias, Klaviyo, Zapier, Privy, Sumo, etc.
Grow your store with Shopify SMS marketing
Shopify SMS marketing seems to be the fastest-growing sales channel but it should not replace anything you are currently doing. Think of it as supplementing existing marketing.
Email campaigns are still fine for educating your customer base and nurturing interest. SMS marketing can be used alongside these campaigns to recover abandoned carts, pass on exclusive offers and deals, relay key information, or simply reach out to customers with a message you know will be read.
You now have what you need to get started.
Develop a strategy for your target audience, play around with an app or two and you will soon discover what you have been missing with SMS marketing.