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SMS can drive customers back to abandoned mobile shopping carts

April 19, 2011

SMS opt-in on the mobile Web

Include an SMS opt-in on your mobile Web site

SMS should be used to complement a retail mobile Web experience and drive mcommerce sales, according to industry experts.

If a user is opted-in and abandons the mobile shopping cart after shopping a retail mobile Web site, SMS can be used to follow up and get the person back to complete the purchase. Research shows that 90 percent of consumers prefer multichannel options for interacting with businesses, with SMS topping the list.

“SMS without mobile Web leads to breakage when trying to convert messaging into action,” said Marci Troutman, founder/CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta. “Retailers must give the user someplace to go and something to do.

“Text limitations don’t allow great user experiences,” she said.

SMS/mobile Web integration
SMS can be integrated into mobile Web sites to keep consumers engaged even when they are not looking at their phones.

Retailers can create a destination point on the mobile Web and use SMS to create a transaction through coupons.

All that needs to be done, is that there should be a mobile URL in the SMS message that drives consumers to a link and a simple coupon code would drive the transaction.

According to Aberdeen research, 38 percent of retailers have adopted some sort of mobile presence, the majority of which consists of a mobile commerce site.

Sears promotes its mobile commerce site via SMS, embedding the URL within text message communications.

In 2009 Ebay used SMS to drive sales on its mobile Web site (see story).

What is a better way to let a database of opted-in consumers know that a retailer has a mobile Web site than sending a link via an SMS message?

Additionally, opted-in consumers can receive alerts based on their previous purchases that let them know that there are new items in stock. This can be used to drive transactions.

For example, a woman is purchasing a blue winter jacket at A week later, she gets an SMS alert saying there are gloves and a hat that match her new jacket for 10 percent off. There is a URL imbedded into the message.

She clicks on the URL and is driven to a microsite where she can purchase these items.

Abandoned carts
SMS can also be used to drive a consumer back to a mobile commerce site when that individual has abandoned an item in the shopping cart.

Imagine a consumer sitting on the train and trying to buy something from Steve Madden’s mobile site.

Next thing this consumer knows, it is time to get off and so the item that was about to be purchased is abandoned in-cart.

About an hour or later the consumer is on the bus and gets a message that reminds him that this item is still in the cart. “Click on this link to complete the order.”

“If a user is opts in a retailer can send SMS texts to say there is a value offer to highlight items left on the cart or to say that you might be interested in some related item,” said Steve Timpson, president of Siteminis, Atlanta.

“Develop a strategy around opt in info gathering that allows you to better tailor specific offers to a user,” he said. “Start with offers to get the data first, also, offers don’t necessarily mean discounts.

“You must work to develop strong two-way communications to your user base. It helps create better and more targeted info to a user and helps conversion.”

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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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