Text Marketing for Retail: 4 Reasons Why Your Business Should Send SMS Promotions

text marketing for retail


Text marketing for retail rocks.

It doesn't matter whether you're selling shoes, clothing, supplements, pet food, speciality meats and cheeses, or almost anything else you can think of…

…Done properly, marketing by SMS (or MMS, which is image plus text) is as close to push button income as you'll ever get, and the ROI you generate from it will outperform that from any other advertising channel by a significant amount.

Sounds like some pretty bold statements, am I right?


And in this article, I'll show you why they're true.

If you're ready, let's dig in with 5 reasons why text marketing for retail is something you should investigate, regardless of the size of our business.

1. 99% Read Rate

There are two huge challenges you face with any advertising you do.

The first?

To penetrate through the endless clutter of email, social media, printed media, radio and television and get your offer in front of your customer.

The second challenge is even tougher…

To have your customers give your offer their full attention for a few moments, consider it and make a decision, one way or another.

As opposed to you know, just skimming over it.

Neither of these challenges are an issue when you market with text messages.

Statistics show that between 97-99% of all text messages are opened and read, and most within a few minutes.

To put this in perspective, the average open rate of commercial emails is around 17%.

That means for every 100 customers you email, 83 of them don't see your message.


If you're relying on social media to drive repeat business, it's even worse.

How much worse?

According to Social Insider, Facebook's organic reach maxed out at 8.6% in 2022.

Organic reach is a measure of how much exposure your posts will receive on a platform with paying for promotion.

That means on average, a post shared with 100 followers will show up in the newsfeeds of less than 9 of them.

And remember, that doesn't mean the customer will see, read, or engage with your content — it just means it's included in their newsfeed.

Other social media channels are slightly better, but not by a lot.

The same Social Insider report showed that for the same time period, Instagram's organic reach topped out at 13.5%, which means a post shared with 100 followers is only shown in the feeds of around 13 of them.

However, when you promote using SMS or MMS (image and text) everyone sees – and reads – your content.

It doesn't get better than that.

If you're curious as to why text messaging has such a massive engagement rate, this is for you. Most experts will tell you that it's your customers' proximity to their phones that accounts for this.


But that's only part of it. After all, most people check their email on their smart phones too and emails can remain unread for hours, even days. No, the main reason is because texting is a personal, intimate communication channel, reserved for those in your immediate social circle.


The reason why you reach for your phone when a text notification sounds is because 99% of the time, that message is coming from someone with whom you have a personal relationship. As a result, you're highly motivated to open it.

retail text marketing

2. 100% Opt In Audience

Unlike print, radio and television advertising where you spend a lot of money to put your offers in front of people who may have no interest in what you're offering, with text marketing, you only advertise to highly qualified individuals.

That's because text marketing is 100% opt in only.

Yes, much like you built a client list for email marketing or accumulating followers on social media, your customers have to voluntarily sign up to receive promotional offers via SMS or MMS from you.

In a nutshell, this means that you only ever pay to advertise your offers to existing customers and fans of your brand… not a penny is spent presenting them to uninterested parties.

As you may know, any investment in customer relationship marketing is a very smart idea indeed, for a number of reasons…

  • It's cheaper to market to your existing clients than to obtain new ones.
  • Your marketing ROI is much higher.
  • Fostering a relationship builds community and boosts customer retention.
  • Your customers are less sensitive to price and less likely to defect to a competitor who undercuts you.
  • They spend more money and do so more frequently, as they already value the products/services you offer.
  • Your customers make more word of mouth referrals and are great brand ambassadors.
  • Keeps your brand top of mind and boosts you above your competition.

In fact, research done by Frederick Reichheld from the consulting firm Bain and Co. found that increasing customer retention rates by as little as 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%.

To put it bluntly, advertising to your current customers is the cheapest and most effective way to bump up those profits.

3. Easy to Consume

In today's exceeding hectic world, delivering your promotional messages by SMS or MMS offers one other benefit…

They are extremely easy to consume quickly.

Not everyone has the time or the inclination to review lengthy promotional material.

As such, reducing the investment of time and effort your customer has undertake to consume your marketing messages is a good strategy.

This is an important benefit to note, because many business owners see the relatively short nature of text messages as a potential detriment.

In fact, advertising with text messages forces you to be very concise, which your customers appreciate, even if you may not at first.

If you're wondering how you'll ever be able to create compelling marketing messages with a limited number of characters, check out our article, “How to Write Great Text Messages (for Your SMS Campaigns“). It even includes templates you can use for your messaging.

4. Easy to Track Performance

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. I just don't know which half.”

The statement is attributed to the late American merchant John Wanamaker (1838-1922) and it concisely encapsulates the challenges faced by business owners who rely on traditional advertising.

Luckily, you never have to guess or “go with your gut” when retail marketing with SMS.

Conversions can be tracked easily by including a unique coupon code for each of your marketing campaigns.

This code can be entered into a shopping cart, or referenced at your point of sale at checkout.

For example…

Acme Anvils: Until January 30, save 20% on all new and reconditioned anvils. Use coupon code SMS101 in store or online to obtain your discount.

Now it's a simple matter of measuring your conversion rate (i.e., the number of people who redeemed the coupon vs. the number who received it).

A Caveat

It would be irresponsible of me to suggest that merely implementing SMS or MMS marketing into your promotional arsenal is going make a dramatic change to your retail business overnight.

Like with any other advertising channel, proper execution is the key to success…

  1. Your SMS marketing program has to be carefully planned (here's how to do that).
  2. Your promotional messages must contain 3 specific things (see them here).
  3. Your SMS campaign messages should follow a specific format (learn how to write great messages here).
  4. You must message your audience regularly (1-2 times per month is ideal).
  5. Your promotions must be in alignment with your customers' expectations for your business (don't try pitching Hermes scarves to your used clothing audience).

Of course, you don't have to feel like you're alone in this.

We'd be happy to chat with you about your business and how to best position your SMS marketing campaign for greatest success.

Click here to book a call to discuss your options.


BROADCASTsms is our bulk/mass texting service that sends SMS or MMS (like those featured in this article) to 100's or 1,000's of customers with a couple of mouseclicks.

It's used by Canadian businesses of all shapes and sizes (you can see some of them here) to send promotional and “informational” text messages to their customers and audience. 

Click here to learn more about BROADCASTsms.