SMS Marketing for Shopify Merchants: Everything You Need to Get Started

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SMS Marketing
Published on
Jun 21, 2022
Written by
Marissa Sanford
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Learn why SMS marketing is a must-have tool for your Shopify-powered business—and how it can help you drive more revenue, build loyalty, and increase retention.  

More consumers than ever are engaging with brands via text message. Over 81% are already opted in to a brand’s SMS marketing program.

For Shopify-powered businesses, SMS marketing is no longer a “nice-to-have.” It’s an effective way to deliver personalized mobile shopping experiences throughout the entire customer journey. And, it provides another touchpoint for you to engage, educate, and offer value to shoppers. 

This post will walk you through everything you need to know to get started (if you’re not using SMS yet), optimize your program, and stay focused on the right things to reach your goals.

Why SMS marketing for your Shopify-powered store?

As e-commerce continues to gain steam, and consumers increasingly shop on their phones, brands are adopting a sophisticated approach to SMS marketing. In 2021, Attentive’s SMS platform helped brands drive $10 billion in revenue from SMS alone. 

Shopify-powered businesses use Attentive’s personalized text messaging platform to:

  • Launch a new marketing channel that drives shopper engagement and powerful results.
  • Create high-performing sign-up units—built with ADA and TCPA compliance in mind—to scale their email and text messaging lists.
  • Incentivize purchases with dynamic and static coupons. 
  • Personalize customer experiences with targeted messages based on interactions with their brand. 
  • Build highly targeted customer segments to engage their most loyal customers. 
  • Keep customers updated at every step of the post-purchase journey, with transactional order updates via text message.
  • Reply directly to customer inquiries and feedback.

Attentive seamlessly integrates with Shopify. That’s why thousands of Shopify brands—like Pura Vida Bracelets, Steve Madden, and Rebecca Minkoff—have chosen Attentive as their go-to SMS marketing solution.

The top SMS marketing questions we get from Shopify merchants who’re just getting started

Here are some common questions we often get about using SMS marketing for Shopify-powered e-commerce sites. If we missed any, reach out to us on Twitter or LinkedIn, and share what you’ve been wondering about.

How do I set up SMS marketing on Shopify?

Sync your Shopify store with Attentive in three easy steps:

  1. Insert Attentive’s tag on your Shopify-powered website in just two minutes by placing it within your liquid theme and Additional Scripts section.
  2. Design your sign-up unit using our intuitive editor, which makes it simple to create and customize sign-up units that match the look and feel of your brand. Our team is here to help you further customize your sign-up unit if needed, and share best practices on your brand’s unique sign-up strategy.
  3. Set up your triggered messages, including your welcome flow, cart abandonment, and browse abandonment messages. Our team will also help you craft your initial campaign messages to align with your program’s KPIs and do the heavy lifting to help get your SMS program off the ground and humming.

Your SMS marketing platform should be easy for you and your team to use. Make sure nothing stands in the way of your ability to grow your subscriber list, send and schedule messages, create targeted segments, and analyze the performance of your program.

How do I collect SMS marketing opt-ins on my Shopify store?

You’re likely already collecting email sign-ups on your website, so adding SMS to your existing flow is crucial for growing both lists. With Attentive’s 2-in-1 sign-up unit, you can ask potential subscribers for their email addresses and phone numbers in one easy flow. Use this type of opt-in on your mobile and desktop websites.

Keep in mind that asking shoppers to manually enter their phone number on a mobile device can decrease your sign-up rates by about 50%, according to our internal data. 

Attentive’s two-tap sign-up technology removes the friction of manually entering phone numbers. Subscribers simply tap the button on your sign-up unit that loads a pre-populated text message on their phone. Then, they hit “send” to opt in and start receiving messages from your brand.

How do I send text messages?

Once your launch strategy is in place and your sign-up units are ready to go, it’s time to start sending your first text messages. With Attentive’s platform, sending messages is simple. Create a name for your campaign, choose who you’ll send it to (whether your full list or a segment of subscribers), add your text message content, and click send. 

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when texting your subscribers:

  • Keep your message copy short and to the point
  • Use capitalization strategically to highlight CTAs or important information. 
  • Include emojis to grab attention and break up walls of text. 
  • Always include a CTA and a link back to the product or promotion for a seamless user experience.
  • Think about the first few words of your text message as you would an email subject line. Those words are what subscribers see when your text message appears on their lock screen or in their text message inbox.
  • Send campaign messages 2-3 times per week to keep subscribers engaged and drive consistent traffic. 
  • Avoid sending messages too early or too late in the day by setting “quiet hours” for all triggered and campaign messages.

Types of text messages Shopify brands can send

Here are the types of text messages you can send to engage consumers at every step of the customer lifecycle, from top of funnel to post-purchase. 

Campaign messages

Wren and Glory text message marketing example

Campaigns are one-time messages that showcase your product, promotions, and more. They’re one of the most effective ways to keep your SMS subscribers continually engaged, while staying closely aligned with your marketing calendar. When pairing campaign messages with segmentation, you can target your text messages to relevant groups of subscribers. Using segmentation will help you power any marketing initiative—whether that’s retention, awareness, or acquisition.

Be sure to use a combination of non-promotional content—like product spotlights, collection launches, back-in-stock announcements, and education about shopping options (e.g., BOPIS and curbside pickup)—as well as promotional content, like flash sales, seasonal offers, and SMS-exclusive perks.

To build brand awareness, send behind-the-scenes content, employee or influencer spotlights, and content related to your brand’s story, mission, and values. You can also share user-generated content to nurture your audience and highlight best-selling products.

Triggered messages

Olive and June text message marketing example

Triggered text messages are sent in real time after specific subscriber actions, like joining your text message program or visiting your website. They help you reach your subscribers at the perfect moment with personalized content, and drive incremental revenue at critical points in the customer journey.

Here are the types of triggered text messages you can send to SMS subscribers:

  • Welcome messages: Sent immediately after someone opts in to your SMS program. Consider making this message a friendly hello, coupled with helpful information about your program or a mobile-exclusive offer.
  • Abandoned cart reminders: Remind subscribers of items they’ve left in their digital shopping cart. Include the name of the product or an image of the item that’s waiting for the subscriber in their abandoned shopping cart. End with a link that goes back to their cart so they can finish checking out.
  • Browse abandonment reminders: Remind subscribers to add products they’ve viewed to their shopping carts. Send this message about an hour after shoppers have left your site. Encourage them to take a second look by linking back to the product they were browsing.
  • Post-purchase messages: Text subscribers after their purchase to keep your brand top-of-mind. Ask them to leave a review or share their purchase on social media, invite them to join your loyalty program, and more. 
  • Winback messages: Reach out to subscribers who’ve purchased from you before but have since gone quiet, with the goal of getting them to buy from you again. Consider pairing each message with an offer that escalates in value.
  • 'Joined a segment' messages: When a subscriber joins one of your segments, such as loyalty members, send them a customized message. These can feature VIP rewards, subscriber anniversary celebrations, product promotions, and more.
  • Custom messages: With Attentive’s Custom Events API, you can create triggered custom messages based on customer event data and how they interact with your brand. Use these messages for nearly any situation, ranging from appointment reminders to loyalty updates and more.

Two-way, conversational messages

two-way text message from ReserveBar

Two-way text messages deliver personalized experiences through back-and-forth conversations with subscribers. 

With Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys, subscribers can reply to your brand’s messages with a keyword or number that corresponds to their answer. Then, they’ll receive a triggered response with a recommendation or other relevant information. Use Two-Way Journeys to engage subscribers and create gamified experiences that inspire action and drive revenue.

Not only does this type of message increase engagement from subscribers, but it also helps you better understand them by asking and gathering information about their preferences—such as product categories or colors they’re most interested in. 

Then, you can add this valuable data as “custom attributes” to a subscriber’s profile. Or, use it to create new segments, so you can send relevant messages throughout the journey. 

You can also send human-powered conversational messages with Attentive Concierge™ to provide real-time support, like answering subscribers’ questions or concerns.

Transactional messages

transactional text message example from Izzy & Liv

The wait time between clicking “buy” and receiving an order is never fun. Give your customers peace of mind by sending transactional text messages, like order confirmations and shipment notifications. You can also use transactional messages to provide updates on subscriptions, such as payment scheduled.

Keep in mind that transactional messages have strict requirements and must: 

  • Include content about the customer’s specific order, like their order number or a confirmation that a product has shipped.
  • Not contain marketing content of any kind—like coupons, upselling, references to other products you offer, or any other type of marketing content. The subscriber must explicitly opt in to marketing messages separately to receive these types of messages.

How Shopify brands successfully use Attentive’s SMS platform

Ready to see text messaging in action? Here’s how a few Shopify-powered brands drive loyalty and revenue with Attentive’s SMS marketing platform. 

Rebecca Minkoff

After hearing about other industry leaders’ success with Attentive, global fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff invested in SMS to engage their mobile-first and Millennial audience. They use Attentive’s 2-in-1 sign-up units on their mobile and desktop websites to drive email and SMS sign-ups simultaneously. 

With Attentive’s Shopify integration, the brand converts high-intent shoppers into SMS subscribers by including an opt-in at checkout. Rebecca Minkoff also uses triggered messages to alert shoppers to return to their abandoned carts and complete their purchases. The brand’s investment in personalized text messaging has already generated $8M+ in revenue and an 80x+ ROI on their overall SMS marketing program.

Hollywood Hair Bar

Hair and beauty brand Hollywood Hair Bar launched an SMS program that lets them quickly grow their list and deliver a personalized customer experience. Using purchase history and website behavior as a guide, they send a variety of personalized campaigns and triggered messages throughout the customer lifecycle. Within months of launching their SMS channel, Hollywood Hair Bar drove $1.7M+ in total revenue from text messaging.

Wren + Glory

Hand-painted clothing brand Wren + Glory looked to SMS to open a communication channel that'd enhance their customer service through personalized, one-to-one conversations. Wren + Glory uses Attentive’s integration with Gorgias—an all-in-one help desk for Shopify merchants—to offer customer support by directly answering requests sent via text message. They also incorporate personal Shopify data to customize responses and boost customer satisfaction.

Big Blanket Co

Big Blanket Co uses a combination of campaign and triggered text messages to personalize the subscriber experience. The brand consistently tests their text message sends, and optimizes future sends based on subscriber behavior. With Attentive’s Shopify integration, Big Blanket Co creates targeted segments to further personalize their messages based on subscribers’ past purchase history.

Meanwhile, Attentive’s Gorgias integration empowers Big Blanket Co’s customer support team to directly answer customer requests sent via text message. Their SMS strategy has been more than successful, surpassing a 100% increase in SMS revenue in the first 30 days.

To learn more about getting started with SMS, read The Complete SMS Marketing Guide for Shopify Merchants, or request a demo to speak with an Attentive expert today.

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