The Extraordinary Effectiveness of SMS Coupons


This is a guest post by Orla Forrest of Neon SMS, an SMS Marketing company (

Marketing campaigns are measured not by how cool or flashy they seem, but by how much money they recoup for the company and whether the investment in the campaign is made back through customer engagement. Therefore, any decisions regarding the execution of the campaign need to be made carefully. For instance, the success or the failure campaign could boil down to the selection of medium through which it is executed.

That will depend on the specifics of the campaign and its target market, but by and large, SMS proves to be the most successful channel by a distance. Its average peak redemption rate is a staggering 85%, which is more than four times greater than any alternative channel, so SMS is a proven winner.

What makes it such an attractive medium for ecommerce? Its convenience is a major plus point, as customers will get the message on their phone and know exactly how to redeem the coupon. The timeframe from the sending of the coupon to its redemption is far shorter than with other channels, as people will have their phones on them the whole time and redemption is usually as quick as sending a short code or keyword. Email, by contrast, tends to go over people’s heads and be ignored, while paper coupons just seem old-fashioned and can easily be left at home by mistake. Your phone, on the other hand, always makes it out the door with you.

For ecommerce providers devising an SMS coupon campaign, the key is in its simplicity. Make it as easy and quick as possible for customers to redeem the coupon, or else they probably won’t bother. Be sensible about the timing and frequency of delivery, too. Send it during evening downtimes rather than first thing in the morning when people are at their busiest at work. Messaging customers once a week is usually the best balance between consistent engagement and not flooding them with messages to the point of nuisance.

AMZN Crushing Mobile

As BI reports, Amazon is dominating the mobile commerce space. Oppenheimer highlighted by just how much saying …“At the end of 2014, Amazon had roughly the same number of mobile unique visitors as Walmart and eBay, in the US. As of December 2016, Amazon has more unique visitors than the apps of those two companies’ combined,”.

And outside of Walmart and Ebay, the rest of the entire retail industry is way behind to the point you could be forgiven for writing them off entirely in the future of mobile commerce:


So we have an Amazon dominated mobile commerce landscape in the near future. But long-term, perhaps as has always happened, the Internet will throw something new at us.

Flipkart Mobile Move is Genius or Self-Destruction

In what one can only describe as stunning, India’s number one ecommerce website Flipkart is shutting down it’s desktop website and going mobile only (according to Indian Express and others)

Wow. The reason given is equally wow:

“India is gradually transitioning from a mobile first to a mobile only country… We are constantly experimenting with various aspects of our service to create the best shopping experience for our users on our app…,” Flipkart said in a statement.

This is a bold bet. There is the fact that most mobile users use devices to game or as the WSJ puts it “43% of our time is spent catapulting angry birds at pigs and fighting monsters”. This infographic from the same piece shows how we divide our time on these devices:

Mobile Device Usage

Source: WSJ

So where does shopping fit in exactly? Well, it doesn’t. Flipkart execs are correct to point out mobile represents most of ecommerce traffic these days (Shopify puts it at 50% as opposed to Flipkarts 75%). But as Tobi Lutke points out in the same article, the transition from desktop to mobile is far from complete:

We also began to work closely with major mobile operating system providers to try to address a current shortcoming of mobile: conversion rate. While the majority of online store traffic now comes from mobile, the majority of purchases still happen using computers.

So Flipkart are extremely early on this shuttering the desktop website. However who really knows, perhaps this will be a prescient move that gives them an edge over the likes of Amazon who essentially birthed the concept of desktop based ecommerce? Maybe India being a developing, mobile first country will prove this? Time wil tell but if you’re an ecommerce merchant, I wouldn’t rush in their footsteps.

State of Mobile Commerce in One Slide

If you’re running an ecommerce business and you’re unsure on mobile, this slide from Business Insider’s Henry Blodget really brings home how important it is:

Mobile Ecommerce

Already since iPhone started the smartphone revolution in the late 2000’s, mobile represents fully one third of ecommerce traffic. Click through to read the entire deck, well worth 5 minutes of your time.