Get inspired by these engaging two-way messaging strategies from real brands to scale your own conversational SMS experiences.
Consumers expect personalized experiences from brands more than ever. Conversational commerce—the intersection of text messaging and shopping—lets brands deliver curated customer experiences with two-way conversations that support the entire shopping journey.
We recently surveyed 5,000 consumers and asked what their top expectations are when they’re communicating with a brand. Over 90% said they expect a response within one day, and 64.2% want two-way communication.
Brands that are sending conversational text messages across the lifecycle are meeting and exceeding consumer expectations—whether it means instantly replying to a subscriber's response, answering a question, or providing a personalized recommendation. Explore how these 13 brands are using two-way text messaging to build relationships with their customers.
ReserveBar: Curating promotions with subscribers’ favorite products
As part of their welcome journey, ReserveBar—an online wine and spirits retailer—asks subscribers about their favorite type of spirit. Using Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys™, Reserve Bar automatically responds with their cheeky brand voice (“Life is better…”) and shares a direct link to a collection based on each subscriber’s response.
By asking subscribers for their product preferences from the start, the brand can save their responses as custom attributes. They can then use this zero-party data—information provided directly from consumers—to build sophisticated SMS segments that deliver relevant messaging throughout the entire customer journey.
Litter-Robot: Targeting educational content to customer needs
Self-cleaning litter box brand Litter-Robot educates subscribers by using two-way text messaging in their welcome flow. The brand asks new subscribers about their biggest litter frustrations. Then, based on the subscriber’s answer, Litter-Robot responds with a link to a relevant blog post or product page so they can learn how the brand and their products meet specific needs.
The brand can also use these answers to create segments, catering their feature promotions and cross-selling initiatives to the reason subscribers were attracted to the product in the first place. These critical moments in the customer journey are a great opportunity to ask for feedback and understand subscribers’ needs.
Momofuku: Customizing the customer journey from the get-go
Momofuku—a restaurant and food product chain founded by Chef David Chang—takes a conversational angle in their welcome flow so new subscribers can customize their own SMS experience. This back-and-forth flow asks new subscribers their preferred message frequency to avoid fatiguing them. Immediately, the brand delivers a recipe recommendation to their highly engaged subscribers.
The brand stays on track of the custom messaging cadence by automatically separating these subscribers into different segments, so each subscriber gets exactly what they’re looking for from the brand.
Orbit: Sharing brand values with a seasonal scavenger hunt
Orbit—an online water management brand—launched an educational keyword-driven scavenger hunt via SMS for Earth Day. The environmental holiday aligned with Orbit’s water conservation and eco-friendly initiatives, making it the perfect time to educate subscribers on those values.
They sent out three clues with a direct link to a relevant eco-conscious blog or product page on Orbit’s website. After finding the “Conservation Key Word,” subscribers would reply with the correct keyword to receive the next clue. Once completed, the brand rewarded subscribers with a promo code. This gamified strategy tapped into seasonal trends to drive website traffic, educate subscribers, and foster product discovery along the way.
Food52: Driving website traffic with personalized content recommendations
After a new subscriber joins kitchen retailer Food52’s SMS channel, the brand recommends personalized recipe ideas using Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys. The two-part quiz asks about the subscriber's food preferences and “mood,” then automatically shares a direct link to a relevant recipe.
This conversational strategy helps subscribers quickly discover new recipes and encourages them to learn more about the brand and explore their products, positioning the brand as a helpful resource. Food52 can also use this information to target future campaigns to the most relevant subscriber segment.
La Colombe Coffee Roasters: Tapping into unique marketing moments
La Colombe Coffee Roasters—a cafe chain and coffee brand—took a fun, gamifed approach to National Coffee Day by quizzing their mobile audience of coffee enthusiasts.
If subscribers responded with the incorrect multiple-choice option, La Colombe automatically shared a helpful hint or offered encouragement to keep trying. After completing the quiz, the brand rewarded subscribers with a relevant discount code. They specified the discount details in the text to drive urgency, and shared a direct link to make it easier for subscribers to claim their prize.
Clove: Encouraging product discovery with entertaining quizzes
Footwear brand Clove used two-way text messaging in their welcome flow to help new subscribers choose the perfect pair of medical footwear. They were prompted to reply with their favorite coffee drink, and instantly received a style recommendation. Then, Clove created segments with these responses based on the subscribers’ preferences that they could use in future campaigns.
While the question may not seem directly related to the product, this was a clever way to get to know new subscribers and encourage product discovery. The fun activity set the tone for the brand’s engaged customer community, building excitement for the SMS experiences to come.
Zales: Imitating in-store experiences through gift ideas
Leading up to Valentine’s Day, jewelry brand Zales played Cupid by recommending personalized gift ideas with Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys. If a subscriber hadn’t yet made a purchase after opting in to the brand’s SMS program, Zales charmed them with a sophisticated and helpful conversational flow.
There’s nothing like that feeling of walking into a shop, and right away, a store associate is happy to recommend products and point you in the right direction. Zales’ personalized recommendations drove online revenue by imitating the in-store product discovery experience, making it easy for subscribers to find the perfect gift.
Whirley Pop Shop: Driving repeat purchases with custom order reminders
Two weeks after a subscriber makes a purchase, popcorn brand Whirley Pop Shop sends a helpful follow-up text message. The simple question makes it easy for subscribers to schedule a repurchase reminder.
After setting up the triggered post-purchase flow once, the brand can automatically confirm the subscriber’s choice and set up timely reminders. Since SMS subscribers are often highly engaged, repeat customers, this two-way flow consistently drives incremental revenue from the brand’s mobile audience.
JuneShine: Getting to know subscribers with custom attributes
Hard kombucha brand JuneShine got to know their SMS subscribers better with a playful quiz. After setting up the journey once, the brand simultaneously collected subscribers’ preferred promotion types, product flavors, and places to “crack open” the product. Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys allowed the brand to automatically assign custom attributes based on the answers to build detailed customer segments they could use in the future.
By running this engaging quiz at the start of the year, JuneShine set the foundation for a hyper-personalized SMS experience. They could then send out targeted promotions and different message versions to the new segments, reaching the audience it will resonate best with.
Revel Nail: Honoring the unique experiences of subscribers
Revel Nail recognizes that Mother’s Day can be a sensitive time for some. To honor this, they offered the opportunity to opt out of content related to Mother’s Day. The brand prompted SMS subscribers to reply “PAUSE” if they wanted to be excluded. Then, Revel Nail added them to a segment that they could exclude from any Mother’s Day-related messaging.
This two-way strategy helped Revel Nail show that they're committed to delivering the best experience for each subscriber.
Starbird: Standing out from winter holiday traffic with custom perks
In the busy winter shopping season when consumers’ inboxes are full of holiday discounts, Starbird—a fast-casual restaurant brand—stood out from the crowd by allowing subscribers to choose their own seasonal perk. With Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys, subscribers could easily respond with their favorite product category and immediately receive a relevant promo code.
Starbird clearly spelled out the sale details, while also cross-promoting their app with the exclusive offer. This engaging strategy took advantage of the conversational capabilities unique to SMS, and created a memorable experience for subscribers that inspired them to take action.
Fy!: Understanding & overcoming purchase barriers
FY!—an online home and decor brand—converts site visitors to purchasers with a conversational flow in their browse abandonment journey. Once a subscriber exits the brand’s website after viewing a product, the Fy! immediately follows up and asks the high-intent subscribers about their pain points.
By going straight to the source, FY! can swiftly offer a solution (i.e., product recommendation) and encourage them to shop. Plus, this zero-party data acquisition strategy provides helpful insight into the customer experience. Not only can the brand address the individual subscriber’s purchase barrier, but they can also target their future messages to anticipate these needs.
Each of these two-way strategies results in valuable data that—when applied strategically—creates personalized and memorable experiences throughout the customer lifecycle.
Learn more about conversational text messaging and how you can leverage two-way messaging to strengthen your customer relationships. And check out even more examples in our SMS gallery, Texts We Love, for more conversational inspiration.