How To Use SMS For M-Commerce

An SMS strategy is essential to participate in m-commerce’s rapid growth over the next three years.

  • Mobile commerce (m-commerce) transactions are expected to quadruple from 2018 to 2024.
  • SMS’s reliability, accessibility, and engagement makes it a powerful partner for m-commerce.
  • The user experience is essential when competing in the m-commerce arena.

Ten years ago, less than half of Americans owned a smartphone, but today you can book a flight, pay a credit card, and fall in love all from anywhere in the world on a smartphone. Mobile commerce such as collecting payments, making purchases, and banking online from a smartphone or tablet is a standard daily practice for Americans today.

Mobile Commerce, m-commerce for short, is a segment of e-commerce where commercial transactions take place on a mobile device like a tablet or smartphone. M-commerce includes the three functional categories mobile shopping, mobile banking, and mobile payments.


Businesses need to drive customer engagement and personalization to stay competitive in m-commerce. M-commerce sales in 2018 (US) via smartphone only were just under 100 billion dollars, but will quadruple by 2024 (source). Sales from 2021 to 2024 alone will nearly double.

Engagement through SMS is unlike any other platform, allowing for more personalized interactions and lifelong relationships between customers and businesses. By partnering SMS with m-commerce efforts, businesses will organically transition with this growing market and establish a loyal customer base.

Statistics Supporting The Rise Of M-Commerce

  • 85% of adults own a smartphone in the United States as of February 2021. Only 35% of adults owned one in 2011. (source)
  • Smartphone user growth in the United States will rise to 311.53 million by 2025. (source)
  • Mobile devices, not including tablets, were responsible for 54.4% of global website traffic in the fourth quarter of 2021. (source) This shift to mobile devices has consistently held around 50% since 2017 and surpassed that in 2020.
  • Retail m-commerce sales via smartphones are projected to grow from 276.1 billion dollars in 2022 to 418.9 billion dollars by 2024. That’s nearly double for 2021’s projection of 221.2 billion dollars. (source)
  • Retail m-commerce sales, driven by phones and tablets, will double by 2025, making it 44.2% of all retail e-commerce sales in the US. Sales from mobile devices reached 359.32 billion dollars in 2021 and will rise to 728.28 billion in 2025. (source)
  • Worldwide e-commerce sales are expected to exceed 5 trillion dollars this year for the first time, making up more than 20% of all retail sales. (source)
  • Retail e-commerce sales are predicted to reach over 7 trillion dollars worldwide by 2025. (source)
  • In quarter 2 of 2021, online shopping orders via mobile phone averaged 134.39 dollars, up from 95.25 dollars the same period the year prior. (source)
  • Conversion rates of online shoppers in the United States during the second quarter of 2021 reached 3.5% on mobile, just short of desktop’s 3.9%. (source)

4 Ways SMS + M-Commerce Work Together

1. The Ultimate Experience

Keeping user experience in mind is essential with m-commerce. Sending customers to a purchasing platform that takes a long time to load or is complicated to navigate can seriously harm return business. Customers that have a negative experience on mobile are 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future. 97% of shoppers will abandon purchases altogether during checkout if the process is confusing or challenging to navigate. 
Even with the best of experiences, users will still abandon carts or face issues that impede shopping. SMS has the power to complete conversions and transition customers into the continuation phase.

  •  Send an SMS reminder and link to follow up with customers who abandon. Gain valuable insights by tracking the URL and adjusting your strategy for future user experiences.
  • Live representatives utilizing Two-Way Texting can walk the customer through the checkout process, offer additional recommendations, and troubleshoot any other customer issues.

2. Exclusive Deals For Mobile-Only

Loyalty programs through SMS are highly successful, with 50% of all consumers saying they would subscribe to receive deals and offers. M-commerce sales will nearly double over the next three years. As it continues to rise in popularity, building an SMS subscriber base is necessary for staying competitive in the m-commerce field. Build your subscriber base and drive sales by sending mobile exclusive deals and flash sales that encourage customers to act immediately and through their mobile devices.

SMS is a go-to resource for m-commerce shoppers. Nine out of ten customers want businesses to communicate with them through text message, establishing confidence that customers who subscribe to your text messages want to hear from you. Unlike many other forms of marketing, customers are entirely in control of the level of communication received via text message.

3. Visual Merchandising With SMS

Brick and mortar stores rely heavily on visual merchandising to attract sales. E-commerce also requires a high level of visual merchandising through website design, responsiveness, product data, and site functionality to compete in the market. M-commerce can build a solid visual merchandising presence through SMS features like MMS messaging and emojis. Featuring product images, videos, and emojis in a text message will help capture customer attention. Unlike in-store efforts that are built around the average customer, m-commerce has the advantage of optimizing visual campaigns to segmented groups of customers. Visual recommendations based on past purchasing, user demographic, site visits, and location can drive commerce personalization, an essential factor in e-commerce success.

4. Individualized M-Commerce

Use customer data to send individualized recommendations through text messages that are timed to reach customers when they are most active. Take the guesswork out of your offers and promotions by utilizing customer data to target on an individual level with perfect timing and accuracy. Social media also plays a large role in targeted m-commerce efforts but lacks the level of personalization that SMS offers.

  • Social media marketing efforts rely on users visiting the platform, while text messages are native to smartphones making them accessible immediately. 95% of all SMS messages are read and responded to within three minutes
  • Two-Way Texting allows agents to send personalized offers and follow up in real-time with answers to questions, additional recommendations, and direct links to purchase and payment portals.

M-commerce and SMS are a powerful partnership that can elevate your business’s ability to compete in mobile shopping, banking, and payments. The Solutions by Text team of experts is here to help you establish a customized plan for growing with the industry and meeting your customer’s needs.


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