Learn the detailed comparison between SMS vs WhatsApp for Shopify marketing.
One of the most common communication channels that has stood the test of time is SMS. It has been proven time and again to be a great channel to communicate with customers with ease.
However, over the last few years, WhatsApp has been making quite a bit of news as another effective channel for facilitating customer interactions and communications.
Now if you’re running an ecommerce business, you may be confused as to which channel would be the most useful for your business.
In this article we touch upon both SMS and WhatsApp marketing in detail in order to help you understand which one you should be using.
So, let’s take a look!
SMS vs WhatsApp for Shopify marketing
What is WhatsApp marketing and its benefits?
WhatsApp marketing is nothing but driving the promotion of your business and the products or service you offer through WhatsApp. This is achieved by running broadcast campaigns by sending out different types of messages, by providing 24/7 instant customer support, and more. WhatsApp marketing can be used to improve brand authenticity as well as sell your products to a wide audience.
This is done through the use of WhatsApp Business – a product that is specifically catered to support both small businesses to engage customers, improve sales, and provide faster customer support.
Meta has also launched WhatsApp Business API, a product designed for large businesses that receive a huge volume of messages which cannot be handled by WhatsApp Business.
WhatsApp marketing comes with a number of benefits such as:
- High open rates – WhatsApp is a global platform that is used by 2 billion people across the globe. Apart from this WhatsApp messages have a high open rate – as high as 98% making it an integral tool for your marketing campaigns
- High click through rate – Another critical benefit of WhatsApp marketing can be attributed to the fact that WhatsApp campaigns have a high CTA. With a click through rate of 45%, \WhatsApp is one of the most effective channels for engaging with your audience.
- Ability to send media files – WhatsApp allows you to send various types of media files such as images and video in order to add visual context to your marketing campaigns. This allows you to create a brand voice and helps you to design your customer communication campaigns to effectively engage your audience.
Is WhatsApp marketing going to replace SMS marketing?
Ever since the advent of WhatsApp marketing there’s been a lot of confusion regarding whether it is going to replace SMS marketing.
The simple answer is no.
WhatsApp marketing will not replace SMS marketing simply because each technique has its own pros, cons, and opportunities to offer businesses.
Besides, both WhatsApp marketing and SMS marketing have their own individual role to play in the different stages of the buyer’s journey.
For instance, WhatsApp marketing can be used to draw attention to your products and services through ad campaigns while SMS is an integral tool for aspects such as sending out an OTP to a customer who is about to complete a purchase transaction.
It is also important to note that to receive an SMS, all you need is a network and not an internet connection running – which may hamper the deliverability of the messages send through campaigns sent on WhatsApp.
SMS vs WhatsApp for marketing: A detailed comparison
While both SMS and WhatsApp are effective marketing channels individually, let’s take a look at some of the differences:
1. Length of messages
SMS marketing majorly consists of plain text messaging spanning a character limit of 160 and nothing more. WhatsApp has no limitations when it comes to the length of messages you can send.
This makes SMS marketing more useful in instances where you need to send out reminders, alerts, or notifications. You can also use SMS marketing to send out short promotional offers and also to send out automated responses.
Since there is no character limit for WhatsApp marketing, you can leverage WhatsApp to send out more in-depth and elaborate marketing campaigns.
2. Media sharing
SMS does not allow you to include media files within your messages – unless you’re sending an MMS with the help of SMS marketing apps like TxtCart.
On the other hand, WhatsApp inherently has the ability to offer businesses the capability to share images, documents and videos in their marketing campaigns.
Keeping this in mind, you need to choose WhatsApp or SMS marketing based on how contextual you want your campaign to be. WhatsApp messaging can be used to share engaging and interactive content while SMS marketing can be used for use cases that require the message to be conveyed more directly.
Alternatively, you can also use SMS to nudge consumers to check the details sent on WhatsApp, using the capabilities of both the channels together.
3. Credibility and security
When it comes to offering security of data to both businesses and consumers, it is important to note that while WhatsApp offers encryption directly, for SMS, you will need to make use of SMS marketing apps like TxtCart. This allows you to follow through all the compliances set by the government to keep consumer information and transactional data secure (TCPA, GDPR and others).
4. Downloading the application (consumer end)
The great thing about SMS is that it comes installed by default in any mobile device. WhatsApp however, has to be downloaded before customers can use it. Now while this may seem like a very minor difference, it all boils down to audience preferences.
For instance, if your campaign targets an audience that does not use a smartphone then SMS marketing is the way to go. On the other hand, if the majority of your target audience owns and operates a smartphone then it is a given that most of these users will also have WhatsApp already installed in their phones.
Apart from this an SMS can be read by anyone who has a phone and a SIM card while WhatsApp requires an internet connection to deliver messages.
5. Setting up automatic messages
Both WhatsApp marketing and SMS marketing allows you to set up automatic messages with the help of third-party apps. For example, if you are looking at setting up automated SMS marketing campaigns, you can use apps like TxtCart; on the other hand, if you’re looking at setting up automations on WhatsApp, you will need a WhatsApp Business API solution provider.
6. Mass communication
Both SMS and WhatsApp allow you to send out mass messages – more popularly known as promotional broadcast messages. Once again the major differentiator here is the content of the message. A simple message relating to use cases such as promotions, reminders, and warnings can be sent through SMS while other more detailed messages that require media files can be sent out through WhatsApp – for example, sending a PDF lookbook alongside the message.
7. Read receipts and online status
If your business requires users to know when a message has been read or if a user is online or not then your best bet is WhatsApp marketing. A good example of this is when businesses use WhatsApp for customer support. WhatsApp shows whether the business is currently online or offline to the customer when and if a customer wants to initiate a conversation. Similarly a customer can also see if their previous message has been read by an agent or not by monitoring their read receipts.
On the other hand, if you want to use SMS for the same purpose to implement two-way conversations, you will need to set up your automations with the help of SMS marketing apps like TxtCart.
Now that we’ve understood the key differences between SMS marketing and WhatsApp marketing you may be inclined to lean towards a particular channel.
However the best way to get the most out of these channels is to use them in tandem.
For this it is better to lay out the different use cases and customer scenarios and then tailor your strategy so as to use either of the channels in instances which are best suited to each of these individual scenarios.
The best part is that you can easily set up automations on both platforms by leveraging smart applications. For instance, TxtCart, an SMS marketing and cart recovery platform enables you to strategize your marketing strategy for better customer engagement and increased sales.
To learn more about SMS marketing, book a demo.