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The ‘90s SMS craze is back

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The ‘90s SMS craze is back


The 90s are making a comeback. Low-rise jeans, tiny glasses and many other ‘90s fashion trends are in full swing. And now, the next big thing making a comeback is an old-tech 90s trend (and no, it’s not the Nokia 3310).

Like any good fashion cycle, pairing a vintage staple with the season’s fresh look can be compared to using a mix of established and new tech to engage a customer.   

One could be forgiven for not immediately associating the trusty text messaging with new marketing tech. But, if you think about it, the pair make a lot of sense. 

SMS is the fastest and most logical way to communicate with customers where they spend most of their time. Over 55 percent of consumers say that they prefer SMS to other marketing channels. This is because it’s immediate, convenient, and allows them to quickly get updates. Phones have become the perfect place to contact consumers. 

Brands are jumping on the chance to grow and inform customers in a personal and familiar way. It’s about it not feeling intrusive, spammy or irrelevant compared to other saturated channels. 

Aussie online retailers Princess Polly and LSKD are examples of experience-focused brands incorporating SMS messaging into the marketing to drive customer engagement and retention. For these brands, ensuring SMS strategies don’t go out of fashion comes down to two major considerations. 

Getting Gen Z’s attention

Online fashion boutique Princess Polly has become an SMS power user. It keeps its community engaged with consistent SMS marketing campaigns. 

Sending out end-of-month SMS campaigns to customers has become a winning engagement strategy for the company. It’s helped to exceed the revenue targets every time. The most recent flash sale campaign saw a 41 percent conversion rate and 73 times the ROI from non-engaged segment alone. It came with a 98 percent text open rate and 90 percent of texts read within the first 3 minutes. 

Kim Zorn, head of performance at Princess Polly, said that SMS has been able to support all of the marketing campaigns. “The performance we see on the SMS-exclusive sales is incredible. The ROI is one of the highest among our channels.” 

A challenge Princess Polly recently faced was increasingly shrinking consumer attention spans. This was particularly amongst Gen Z customers. It motivated the team to get more creative and targeted with marketing. 

Launching SMS marketing solved this problem. The brand used Yotpo’s SMSBump to create valuable and personalised messages without being spammy. It captured the attention of the Gen Z demographic more effectively than before.

It’s not about blasting customers 

As a fast-moving brand looking to scale its online community, Australian activewear brand LSKD takes pride in being “customer-obsessed” and always strives to deliver exceptional service. 

Aware of the power of SMS marketing to reach and engage relevant consumers, the brand was an early adopter of text messaging as part of its eCommerce marketing strategy.

“Most people don’t realise how powerful it is to send a text. With everyone on their phones, you can actively engage with your community,” says Jason Daniel, founder and CEO of LSKD. 

While LSKD was generating high returns with its initial SMS marketing provider, it was missing key messaging capabilities. Those ones that would allow LSKD to connect with and grow the community through personalised experiences at scale. The team wanted to deliver more personalised messages instead of blasting the customer base. This is when the brand made the switch to Yotpo’s SMSBump. 

Since migrating six months ago, LSKD’s subscriber growth has skyrocketed by 310 percent, “We’ve seen higher conversions on SMS than on email,” says Bolton.

As the saying goes: everything old is new again. It’s not such a bad thing to look into the past and put a fresh spin on tools that still serve us well today, especially if it means creating new ways to drive sales in just a few clicks. 

SMS will be a core feature of the next wave of contextual commerce – and it’s more than a passing trend; it’s an advanced marketing solution for mobile-first commerce.

Some trends (like super thin brows) should stay in the past. However, the trusty text, especially with all the bells and whistles 2022 has added, isn’t going out of fashion any time soon. 

Carmel Zein is the senior marketing manager, Yotpo.


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