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5 SMS marketing strategies to encourage repeat purchases

The last few years have impacted how ecommerce businesses conduct operations and generate growth. Transactional purchases are out and retailers are focusing more on building a retention strategy that encourages ongoing customer loyalty.

According to our Retail Revival research and whitepaper, led in conjunction with top consumer futurist Amanda Stevens, COVID has affected consumer priorities and behaviours including:

  • 25% of consumers have simplified their life
  • 58% of consumers prefer quality over quantity of goods
  • 28% of shoppers expect online shopping habits to remain higher post-COVID

Customers are buying less and prefer ordering with retailers they trust. With these insights in mind, spending money on new customer acquisition will be far more costly than leaning on your existing database for repeat orders. In fact, Altfeld found that it is 60-70% easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one.

That’s why it’s important to ensure repeat business.

What is a repeat purchase

Repeat purchases aren’t consumers buying additional items from your store, nor an up-sell or cross-sell on existing items.

Simply put, it is a purchase of an item or service that has been bought before.

Repeat purchases are often a good indicator of brand loyalty, and as we all know, retaining loyalty can ensure future success. The Pareto principle demonstrates that the majority of your profits (80%) can come from just 20% of your customers.

Why bulk SMS can ensure repeat customers

Text messaging often requires prior customer relationships as you must have a customer’s mobile (and permission) to text them in the first place. Unlike email, text messaging gets consumer attention straightaway with 90% of messages opened within 90 seconds.

As an underused channel, SMS campaigns are powerful in that they are short, sharp and encourage customers to act. Your messaging service should deliver results as we’ve seen from a similar use case: abandoned carts.

Recent research by MessageMedia found that a simple text reminder an hour later can prompt 20% of customers to complete their order. Some customers, such as online retailer Simply for Strings, seen up to 40% of orders recovered from text reminders.


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5 ways SMS can increase repeat purchase behaviour

Let’s learn how to practically apply text messaging to encourage continuous orders:

1. Engage and onboard with a valuable incentive

Start off on a good foot! As we stated before, you’ll need to get customers’ mobile numbers first to start sending SMS marketing campaigns.

To do this, offer a valuable exchange such as a discount or free gift to get customers. This will incentivise potential customers to make their first purchase or give away their personal information. Not only does this get them on your customer list (for repeat purchases), there’s also the benefit to customers of future discounts and special offerings.

2. Engage in a text-based loyalty program that rewards

Once customers have made their first purchase, how do you engage with them for future purchases? A great way to do this is through a club membership or VIP program that rewards loyalty.

Retail pharmacy businesses often struggle to get customers back in as consumers see them all as synonymous. To motivate customers to shop with them again, one group sent out credit vouchers to their top 50-100 customers as a reward to be redeemed in-store. When sent via email, voucher redemption was at 37% but when sent via SMS, it jumped to 66%.

3. Automate ongoing customer engagement with SMS messages

Continuous engagement is key for strengthening customer relationships. You don’t want to overdo it with marketing messages, especially if it may cause mass unsubscribes and lost business.

Hospitality business P’Nut Street Noodles uses trigger-based workflows in HubSpot that send deals based on customer behaviour rather than over time. For P’Nut specifically, every 8th meal is free as part of their rewards program. As it may take 8 days or 8 weeks to reach that 8th meal, customers receive an SMS only when they reach their 4th, letting them know they are almost there.

This is a commonly used psychological technique that motivates customers to keep going by reminding them of their progress. Similar tricks are used at the likes of Sephora or Macdonalds to keep customers coming back to keep building their points or retain their VIP status. It’s all automated so it’s minimal effort on your end once set up.

4. Segment your data for hyper-personalisation

Text messages already feel familiar and intimate, especially when you add hyper-personalisation through data segmentation. It takes a few more steps but makes better use of existing data to ensure repeat purchases from loyal customers.

More businesses are taking it to the next level by looking at creating more complex workflows that utilise customer data to further personalise deals and offerings. For example, leading online wine retailer Vinomofo is looking at sending messages with timely offers from local dealers through text.

P’Nut Street Noodles also hopes to utilise its data from trigger-based SMS workflows to send more relevant deals. This could include orders on their favourite meals or offerings that are only gluten-free if the customer has only ordered gluten-free in the past.

5. Serve post-purchase care with friendly reminders

Following up with customers after their purchase via text messaging can also be a way to nurture long-term relationships as well as repeat orders.

Customers are seeking quality brands that care and help them manage their lives. Text reminders, for example, haven’t we all almost missed a doctor’s appointment without a friendly reminder a day before?

A hair salon sets automated text reminders to go out 60 days after a client visits to remind them to book again for another trim. Use your customer data to find the average time it takes for customers to reorder their favourite product or service. Then set SMS reminders to remind them it may be time to order again with a direct link to your shop or website.


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Final thoughts, further reading

Increasing your repeat purchase rate means revenue certainty for your business. It’s an easy way to foster loyalty for new customers and old, and text messaging is here to support you on that journey. Consider adding text messaging to your marketing mix today!

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