Part 2: 21 Learnings From 2020 That E-Commerce Marketers Will Implement in 2021

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Published on
Dec 10, 2020
Written by
Marissa Sanford
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2020 has been a catalyst for change in how brands approach marketing, customer communication, digital innovation, and more. While the need to adapt presented plenty of challenges, it also gave brands the opportunity to test new approaches that may not have been a priority before.

As 2021 is quickly approaching, it’s time to look back and understand what learnings worked for your brand—and what didn’t. We spoke with e-commerce marketing leaders to hear about strategies they tested this year, and which of those they’ll carry into 2021—including communicating more frequently with their audience, segmenting users to send more relevant content, incorporating non-promotional messages, and more.

For even more inspiration on how to use SMS to maximize revenue, check out real-life examples from brands like Paper Source and ELOQUII.

Send more frequently

We’re testing a new strategy for our ‘12 Days of Revel’ sale this year, allowing subscribers to opt in for daily reminders. We’re really looking forward to seeing the results. In general, we’re texting our most loyal customers more frequently this season, and so far it’s paying off. We’ll definitely carry that strategy into 2021!”

– Gretchen Sorce, Digital Marketing Lead at Revel Nail
At rue21, we’ll send more frequent text messages since we’ve seen such a great return on investment when sending to our full subscriber list.”

– Lexy Blankenship, Sr. Coordinator Email Marketing/Marketing at rue21
We plan to lean into SMS even more in 2021. We’ll also increase the frequency of offers exclusive to our text messaging subscribers.”

– Evan Haag, Assistant Brand Manager at Shady Rays
SMS has been working really well for our brand this year. We’ve used it much more frequently and plan on continuing to do so in 2021.”

– Hayleigh McGrath, Brand Manager at Transparent Labs
Running frequent flash sales on individual supplement products has worked really well for us and has been an effective way to bring in new customers. We’d like to test more “free gift with purchase” offers in 2021, along with dedicating more time to our SMS marketing strategy since it’s quickly becoming one of our top revenue channels.”

– Roman Berezecky, Marketing Manager at Legion Athletics, Inc.

Segment audiences

This year, we’ve ramped up our segmentation strategy, with a big focus on our ‘engaged’ vs ‘unengaged’ lists. We’ll definitely carry this strategy over into 2021. We’ve also tested sending the same text message within 48 hours—but excluding purchasers—to drive engagement. Lastly, we’ll be sending more brand content and educational based-messages.”

– Chandra Cooks, Marketing Director at Mented Cosmetics
Go deeper instead of wider. Remain nimble and agile.”

– McKenzie Bauer, CMO at Thread Wallets

Optimize and test for even better performance

SMS has been a big driver of revenue for us in 2020, so we’ll be focused on optimizing our text messaging flows even more in 2021. We’ll test elements such as timing, messaging, and images within our flows.”

– Briana Wade, Digital Marketing Specialist at SiO Beauty
We conducted a lot more A/B testing within our text channel this year. We’re looking forward to continuing that!”

– Courtney Williams, Content Manager at AfterShokz
We’re still testing and learning what segments perform best for us within SMS, but once we nail that down, it will be integral in guiding our strategy for 2021.”

– Kyndal Shewmake, Director of Marketing at BruMate
We want to increase SMS sign-up rates during sale periods, so we’re testing a new strategy: changing our welcome offer to match the offer presented during a sale period. We’re curious to see how sign-up rates during a sale compare to our standard welcome offer when we’re not running a sale. We’ll continue testing our sign-up modal—whether through copy, creative, or incentives—to increase opt ins.”

– Lauren Borchetta, Project Manager at Dormify

Incorporate non-promotional content

Text messaging can be used for marketing our products AND serve as another touchpoint for customer service. It allows us to have a more personal and meaningful conversation with our customers as it seems to be less formal than an email. It also allows us to have instant communication with our customers that we may not necessarily get with an email.”

– Shelby Powell, Director of Digital Marketing at Cheers
We really emphasized our brand integrity and free content this year. We’ll continue to do that next year as we saw this greatly decreased buyer friction.”

– Kyle Pivarnik, Director of E-Commerce at Sounds True

Send triggered messages through Journeys

We’re looking forward to seeing the results of the cart abandonment journey we just implemented. We’ll also expand into additional journeys to improve subscriber engagement.”

– Scott Sullivan, Director of E-Commerce at Dr. Leonard’s
More journeys! Specifically, we’ll focus on re-engagement, win-back, and lapsed customer journeys.”  

– Nick Aldridge, Email Marketing Manager at Scrubs & Beyond
We’ve learned the importance of sending triggered messages. We have the ability to send more tailored text messages to our customers based on the types of products they’ve looked at. We can provide a lot of different experiences for our customers with these types of journeys, so we plan to revamp them for the upcoming year. It truly can become a more personalized online shopping experience!”

– Shelby Powell, Director of Digital Marketing at Cheers
Offering early access to sales or mobile-exclusive codes has really worked well for us, so we’ll continue that in 2021. We also plan to expand our triggered post-purchase series to drive engagement after our customers have shopped with us.”

– Maya Menon, Director of Marketing and Communications at

Drive impressive performance through text messaging

Text marketing has been a huge win for Shady Rays. We’ve grown our subscriber list by 20x and, in general, have put a much bigger focus on text messaging.”

– Jordan Light, Digital Advertising Manager at Shady Rays
Because it was an election year, the cost of advertising increased drastically. SMS marketing and email were key in driving revenue, and we expect that to continue into the new year.”

– Tavis Johnson, Sr. Art Director & Digital Marketing at Taft
For our brand, we’ve found SMS-exclusive offers are really effective. ‘Percentage off’ discounts perform better than ‘dollar off’ discounts, and combination offers—like a discount and free shipping, for example—do really well.”

– Julian Quintaes, CEO at PAWZ

PS: Did you read Part 1: Marketing Leaders Share 16 Text Messaging Strategies to Drive Revenue This December?

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