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Retail Outlook: Brick & Mortar Defies Odds, Surge Forecast For 2024

What's in store for retail in 2024? We analyze economists' forecasts, recent trends and the latest holiday sales data to look ahead at next year.

Alice Cresswell

Content Strategy Manager

A millennial born in the digital age, I grew up arrogantly thinking brick and mortar was on its last legs. Ecommerce was the way forward, and before we knew it, we’d be living in floating armchairs with everything we needed on a projected screen in front of us (think Wall-E).

Turns out, things don’t move so linearly. And while technology might evolve exactly as quickly as you expect, human nature doesn’t quite match up in rate of change. We don’t want to live isolated from others, married to a holographic screen, consuming limitlessly.

Maybe we don’t want mandated office days, but we do want to be in the office, around people, on our own terms. We want the option to shop online, but we also want to know we can head into the city to try those jeans on for size. We’ll make a day of it—see friends for coffee, go to the gym, or run some errands.

Over COVID, we hedged our bets on direct-to-consumer commerce. Big Tech like Amazon went all-in on hires during the pandemic, then made massive staff cuts when eCommerce transactions tapered off earlier than expected.

Retail giants also bet big on leisurewear—anticipating a pivot to work-from-home comfies to stick around. But it wasn’t long before they realized they’d over estimated demand. Shoppers reported seeing leisurewear littering Target shop floors, and sales abounded to move stock.

Looking ahead, what can we expect from 2024? More of the same, or a shift for the better?



Online Retail Sales: 2024 Outlook

2022 saw a contraction in online sales worldwide, but 2023 has been back to growth again—around 7%. Now, even with the possibility of recession still hanging thick in the air (will it happen? will it not?), the consumer appears to be resilient.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU, is predicting online retail sales growth globally to head back into double-digit growth (10.5%).

But the US and Western Europe will still be playing catch up, with more sluggish single digit growth than the global average. We’ll be seeing profitability pressures continue to restrict growth in the DTC space, with investors seeking better returns.


Brick and Mortar Sales: 2024 Outlook

If you’ve been following retail news, you’ll have seen Kohl’s has been suffering in eCommerce sales. Following other big brands, Kohl’s has committed to modernizing its physical presence, as well as providing offers and promotions consistently across all channels.

Consumers want brick and mortar, but they’re voting with their wallets, demanding a slick, engaging experience. Think Mecca, IKEA, Apple and LEGO.

Where SMB and mid-market retail can provide a more personal touch, retail giants are under pressure to supplement a lack of personalization with expensive tech and impressive fitouts.

EIU forecasts that brick and mortar sales will make up a whopping 85% of total retail sales in 2024. The businesses that have made it through high interest rates and rising costs will enjoy recovering foot traffic and a sales boost.

“2024 will see the strongest pace of growth for offline retail since the post-pandemic rebound of 2021,” EIU predicts.

This trend will be global. Beyond Kohls, other large retailers like Nordstrom (US) and Primark (Ireland) are planning store expansion in the US in 2024.


Overall Outlook for Retail in 2024

While the online sales forecast is still overcast, the clouds are clearing and a growth surge is on the horizon for brick and mortar.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2023 proved that the consumer is ever-resilient. We also saw that loyal customers are a critical asset to retailers—brick and mortar in particular.

Marsello’s latest data shows around half of eCommerce shoppers were repeat customers, and half new shoppers.

For brick and mortar retailers, on the other hand, repeat customers made up 80% of BFCM sales. What's more, physical retailers grew their customer databases by around 22% over Black Friday in 2023.

Loyalty programs and customer marketing will play a huge part in boosting 2024 brick and mortar sales.

Yes, that’s a pitch to start a free trial of Marsello, connect your eCommerce and POS platforms, and start syncing the last few months’ worth of sales!

In 2024, it’s time to put all that data into motion… change is coming.

Start free trial



Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

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    How Big-Box Merchants Are Dominating With SMS: And How You Can Too

    ClockIcon  READ
    We analyzed SMS campaigns run by the giants. We put together our learnings into this article for you to read, examine and test yourself. Read on.

    Quick links:



    Massive international businesses like Dominoes, Sephora, Uber, and Airbnb are all using SMS to increase their revenue and efficiency. By leveraging text marketing, they have been able to reach their customers, boost engagement, and drive sales. If SMS marketing didn't work, these brands would not be using it.


    So what do they know that we don’t?

    We’ve looked at some of the world’s most successful brands to look at the anatomy of an SMS strategy that converts.


    What did we learn? 

    1. The science behind running high-performance SMS marketing campaigns actually isn’t as complicated as it looks.

    2. By not leveraging SMS marketing, we’re missing out on a powerful tool that can help us reach our business goals faster and more efficiently.

    So, we’ve wrapped up the know-how in this article, so you can see how they’ve cracked it. Inside you’ll find practical tips and strategies that you can use to create high-performance SMS campaigns that deliver results.

    Best of all, it won’t cost you much to give the big-brand tricks a go.



    1. They use the right tool for the job


    Big box retailers aren’t afraid to try something new or unorthodox if they think it will get the job done. They just ask—what is the best way to reach our customers to achieve this goal?

    This is one of the biggest perceived challenges for SMBs. When you’re time-poor, it’s easier just to stick to what you know.

    The reality is, it doesn’t cost much (time or money) to test a new channel like SMS. And the learnings are worth their weight in gold. If you chat to one of our SMS experts, you can even be in to win 1000 free credits to play with.


    Email or SMS?


    When choosing between sending an email or sending a text, the main consideration should be time. Does the customer need to act on this right away? If so, use SMS.

    If you’re running lots of these time-sensitive campaigns, though, be careful that you’re not overloading your customers. SMS is extremely targeted and almost always opened, so it should be used sparingly for one-off blast campaigns. We’d recommend sending no more than 2 of these to your customers per month.

    Another good way to use SMS is for notifications. These only trigger when customers act, so they won’t be as intrusive or annoying (customers will understand why they’re receiving the message). While emails can be used too, they can sometimes get lost in the inbox. SMS will ensure important messages get where they’re meant to go in a near-instant fashion.


      Email SMS
    You’ve got a special offer for your top customers, but it’s only available today.   ☑️
    You want to showcase a range of new products. ☑️  
    Delivery updates and order notifications.   ☑️
    You want to let customers know that they’ve just unlocked a new reward in your loyalty program.   ☑️


    Chatbots or SMS?


    Chatbots are great when a customer is looking for answers in real time. They work well on messaging apps (Messenger, WhatsApp) and on your website. This is mostly inbound, although you may have a chatbot notification to communicate something when customers visit your online shop.

    SMS is better for outbound notifications, like when you’re running a sale or have a personal, time-sensitive invitation or offer to share. You can also use SMS for automated messages, for example, let a customer know delivery updates on their order.


      Chatbot SMS
    A customer needs to find something on your website. ☑️  
    Let your customer know about a deal in-store.   ☑️
    Send a special offer to customers who haven’t shopped in 60 days.   ☑️
    A customer wants to learn more about your shipping policy. ☑️  
    A customer wants to receive an update when their order is delivered.   ☑️


    Digital advertising or SMS?


    I’ve heard merchants say, “Why would I send a text when it’s so much cheaper to run ads on social media?” I’d respond to this in two parts.

    Firstly, is it really cheaper? On average, it costs $17.60 to reach 1000 people on Facebook. For Instagram, it’s $8.30. SMS sits almost bang in the middle—from around $10.00 per 1000 recipients. And that’s not even taking cost per conversion into account. 

    Secondly, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve. For example, SMS can drive conversions through high personalization. You have more scope to get really specific to the customer; you know more about them because they’re in your database.

    You could use this same idea for secret menu items or order freebies too.


      Digital Advertising SMS
    A brand awareness campaign to introduce new people to your brand. ☑️  
    Retargeting ads to remind people about specific items they were browsing. ☑️  
    An abandoned cart notification letting the customer know there’s a 10% discount code in their inbox.   ☑️



    2. They use customer data for lazer-focused personalization


    If you’re tracking sales (i.e., if you have a digital POS system and/or an online store) you own a lot of customer purchase data. Now, let’s put it to use!

    I’ve just been looking at a merchant account where they’ve automated more than 25% of the revenue. That’s purely just from sending campaigns when customers hit specific criteria or make a particular action.

    This business is sending automated emails and SMS messages to customers who haven’t shopped in a while, giving them a small discount, and generating revenue from that.

    They’ve also got automated SMS campaigns going out to their loyalty members, letting them know when they have points they need to redeem, or when they’ve unlocked a reward.

    This is exactly what the big brands do—they put their data to work. It’s really exciting seeing smaller retailers take that concept and run with it. The set-up time is so minimal, especially because SMS doesn’t require any design work. And the results are incredible.

    There are also businesses who are dipping their toe in the water, giving SMS a go with a one-off campaign, and being absolutely blown away at the impact.

    Pinjarra Bakery is an example that comes to mind. This is an example of a merchant taking a step back and thinking: what’s the best channel for this campaign?


    Every month or so, they’ll make a once-only, off-menu meat pie. They wanted to let their regulars know about it, but the promotion needed to reach them at exactly the right time.

    So they sent an SMS, just before lunch time, to encourage customers to come in and try this one-off pie.

    After just two SMS campaigns contributed to 15% of revenue over a 3-month period… it’s safe to say, SMS marketing is yet another Pinjarra success.


    “Sometimes, I've got to look twice and go—Is this actually real?”

    “Sometimes, I've got to look twice and go—Is this actually real?”

    - Daniel Pantaleo, Pinjarra Bakery


    Another bonus learning: Don’t just track customer purchase data, track the brands and products they’re buying too. With SKU-level data, you can pitch co-marketing campaigns to wholesalers, negotiate better stock prices, and just generally deepen your relationship with your vendors.



    3. They give compelling reasons for customers to opt in (and stick around)


    If you already see the value in texting your customers, your next challenge is: how do build my SMS database?

    The big brands know that people will sign up to get an offer, but will opt out if they aren’t promised continuous benefits. If you want people to stick around (and you want to keep reaping the rewards of high conversion rates), you have to make an offer they can’t resist.


    Case study: Sephora


    Sephora has a finely-balanced strategy to keep a regular stream of SMS subscribers coming in, while sending exclusive offers and insider info to keep them there long-term.


    Opt-in incentive: Sephora uses a 10% discount code to get customers signed up for SMS marketing.



    Continuous benefits: Then, Sephora shows the value of being on the list. Their SMS subscribers and beauty insiders get access to all sorts of exclusive offers, as well as being kept in the loop with new stores and events.



    Case study: Domino’s


    Domino's takes a slightly different approach. The incentive to sign up is access to the deals themselves… and they’re very good deals.


    Opt-in incentive & continuous benefit: Exclusive access to time-sensitive deals.


    These deals are so good, you wouldn’t find much better. While smaller retailers and hospitality businesses can’t compete with the big brands on price, you can still use this method. Even if you don’t want to offer 50% discounts, your database will still appreciate a $5 voucher or small freebie.

    Finally, to make a lasting impression on your audience, don’t be afraid to lean on your customer experience, product quality, and level of service as your point of difference in these kinds of campaigns.



    How SMB Merchants Can Leverage SMS Marketing


    1. Build Your SMS List: Start by building your SMS list by obtaining your customers' opt-in consent. You can do this by offering a discount or promotion in exchange for their phone number.
    2. Expire Discount Codes: When you use discount codes for campaigns, make sure you set an expiry date to make the offer time sensitive.
    3. Personalize Your Messages: Use customer data to personalize your SMS messages and offers. This could be based on their purchase history, location, or interests.
    4. Time Your Messages: Send timely and relevant messages to your customers to maximize their impact. This could be about promotions, new products, or special events.
    5. Keep It Short and Sweet: Keep your messages short and concise, with a clear call-to-action. This will encourage your customers to take action and engage with your brand.



    Meet with one of our experts and be in to win 1000 free SMS credits.

    Discuss how SMS could work best for your business. Meet with an SMS expert before the end of June and be in to win 1000 SMS credits.

    Talk to an expert

    Standard T&Cs apply. Additional competition terms: 1) Offer not available for SHAFT-regulated merchants. 2) To be eligible, you must book and complete a call with a Marsello SMS expert before UTC 11:59pm, 30th June, 2023. 3) Only one entry per eligible business will be accepted.



    Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program


    5 SMS Campaigns That’ll Have Customers Eager to Share Their Number

    ClockIcon  READ
    Here are 5 creative, tantalizing & clever SMS campaigns that you can use or modify and promote as part of your brand’s customer experience. Read more.

    Quick links:


    We all know what bad marketing looks like. It’s the emails we bulk delete, the text message that gets us up on the wrong side of the bed, and the intrusive ad in the middle of your Facebook message inbox.

    We sign up for things left right and center, opting into emails when we buy something, accepting SMS marketing when we make an appointment… Then before we know it we’re inundated with marketing messages and we’re subjected to a total advertising overload.

    That’s why, as business owners, we’re hesitant to send too many emails, or annoying texts, or set up pesky retargeting ads that don’t turn off even when customers have already bought the dang thing.

    However, when marketing is done well, we don’t see it as marketing. We see it as a story, or a relatable anecdote, or a club we are genuinely excited to be part of.

    So how do we take SMS—one of the more intrusive forms of marketing—and make it exceptional? How do we make SMS marketing so good that customers will be throwing their mobile numbers at us, begging to be part of our list?

    The fact is, SMS has a reputation as one of the most annoying forms of marketing because it is the most direct. It comes right to the user's personal device, without the need for an internet connection or mobile data. It’s almost guaranteed to be delivered and opened. There’s really no barrier shielding the recipient from an annoying message if they’re opted in.

    But what makes SMS annoying also gives it its edge.

    So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to design 5 creative, tantalizing & clever SMS campaigns that you can use or modify and promote as part of your brand’s customer experience.


    Ready to say goodbye to SMS opt-outs?


    Goal: To attract new text subscribers and build up a marketable database for SMS. 

    Benefit: Better engagement, higher read rates, and more return on your marketing investment.

    Understand that these campaigns should be exclusive (or at the very least first access) to text message subscribers. In return for their mobile number and marketing consent, you want to make it well worth their while. Customers need to know that opting out means they will no longer have access to these incredible offers and campaigns.

    Here are 5 SMS Campaigns That Will Have Customers Eager To Share Their Number.



    1. The Very Secret Sale


    Every month, 1 text subscriber is chosen randomly to participate in a secret sale. This creates hype and excitement within your database, and you can use it in your list of amazing things your subscribed customers get access to. This campaign creates a sense of exclusivity and urgency, while also encouraging customer engagement, referrals and social shares.

    Yep, it’s pretty much just a one-off discount or voucher for one person, once a month. But make the offer tantalizing enough that everyone wants it.


    1. Export a list of your SMS subscribers as a CSV file (or download a full list, and sort by SMS subscribers, deleting the rest).
    2. Use a Random Name Picker like this one, where you can upload a CSV file of your database
    3. Pick a name at random (or as many as you like).
    4. Create a campaign list or segment with that customer.
    5. Generate a single-use or customer-specific discount or voucher code. Adding a time limit or expiry date creates urgency.
    6. Send an SMS campaign (copy the text below and modify to your liking).

    Message copied to clipboard!

    Now paste into your next SMS message.

    [YOUR COMPANY]: Hey [name]! You're in the Secret Sale! Here’s your code for [$50 off]: [XXXX]. But hurry, it expires in 24hrs! T&C Apply.Reply STOP to opt-out


    2. Mystery Discounts


    This campaign creates a sense of excitement and anticipation for customers, as they wait for periodic messages with surprise discount codes. By keeping the value of each code a mystery, you’ll incentivize customers to jump online and add items to their cart to apply the code.

    You can use this type of campaign alongside other campaigns and releases, for example for early access to new collections, to further increase customer engagement.

    Message copied to clipboard!

    Now paste into your next SMS message.

    [YOUR COMPANY]: Mystery Code Alert: [XXXX]. Will you get 10% off, 20% off, or even more? It's a mystery! Expires in 8hrs! T&C Apply.Reply STOP to opt-out


    3. Secret Menu Items or Freebies


    In one of the most creative SMS campaigns we’ve seen, Pinjarra Bakery promotes exclusive meat pies to their local customers. They’ll create whacky recipes and do a one-off batch, then send a text just before lunch to let customers know.

    Campaigns like this are great. they’re time-sensitive, they’re fun, and they get customers excited to try something new and different.

    Message copied to clipboard!

    Now paste into your next SMS message.

    **LIMITED TIME** [SECRET MENU ITEM]. Visit [YOUR COMPANY] today. Hurry, we always sell out fast!Reply STOP to opt-out

    You could use this same idea for secret menu items or order freebies too.

    Message copied to clipboard!

    Now paste into your next SMS message.

    Say “[PASSWORD]” when you order from [YOUR COMPANY] today and we’ll add a large fries to your order for free. Offer ends 5pm today.Reply STOP to opt-out


    4. Pop-Up Store Google Maps Link

    Clothes Rack with Women's clothing and a pin icon with an address

    Running a pop-up store? Offer first access to the pop-up store Google Maps location to SMS subscribers. When promoting your pop-up store, you can create a landing page or add a form to your Link In Bio. Ask customers to add their mobile number to receive the location 24 hours before the store opens.

    Pop-up stores can offer an air of mystique and exclusivity. They’re outside your usual store location, run for a limited time, and often promise the best deals and last-of-run items.

    I was recently out shopping and needed a different size in the hoodie I wanted. I was told that there was only one left, that it wasn’t available online or in any of the physical other stores, but that it would be at the pop-up, happening later that week. Plus, the store assistant whispered as an aside, it would be half the price.

    I got there on the day and the line was halfway down the street.

    Pop-ups and markets are a popular way for stores to run sales and move stock quickly. Having everything for sale in one place, and for a limited time, creates urgency and demand. They are also great for ecommerce/DTC brands who want temporary, cheaper floorspace to build their brand presence in a particular market.

    Message copied to clipboard!

    Now paste into your next SMS message.

    **THIS WEEK ONLY**[YOUR COMPANY] pop-up store.Location: [LINK]. Open 10-5 until Friday or while stocks last. Reply STOP to opt-out

    5. The Birthday Offer


    Last but certainly not least! Most customers expect birthday offers when signing up for a loyalty program or marketing emails these days. But why not offer something extra to SMS subscribers?

    This campaign creates a personalized experience for customers, making them feel valued and appreciated on their special day. Additionally, by setting a time limit on the offer, you’ll create urgency and encourage customers to take advantage of the offer before it expires.

    Message copied to clipboard!

    Now paste into your next SMS message.

    Happy Birthday Frances! Enjoy a coffee at any Flora's Cafe this week, on us! Just show this text at the counter. Reply STOP to opt out



    Before you begin: Tips From The Experts



    Above: Wildfang leads with the benefit of opting in when promoting their SMS marketing program at checkout.

    1. Be upfront. Dominoes lead the charge in transparency, letting customers know before they subscribe to expect no more than 6 text messages a month. If you’re open, people know what they’re signing up for and will be less likely to opt-out.
    2. Lead with the benefit. Retailer Wildfang asks customers to opt-in by self-selecting whether or not they want a discount. Be clear under the initial copy/headline that customers are signing up for SMS marketing, and make sure you deliver the discount in the first SMS message you send them (automate it to be extra certain).
    3. Keep compliant. Make sure you’re staying within global, regional and industry SMS legals. While we stay up-to-date with the rules and regulations, we’re not legal experts, so make sure you check the TCPA and other legislation and guidelines to make sure your campaigns don’t miss the mark.

    Final words

    SMS marketing campaigns can be highly effective if they are designed well, creating a sense of excitement and exclusivity among customers. As SMS is the most direct form of marketing, it is important to ensure that campaigns are designed with care to avoid being seen as intrusive. The campaigns outlined above all offer creative and tantalizing options for customers to engage with a brand through SMS. By providing exclusive access to offers and campaigns, customers are more likely to opt-in to SMS marketing, leading to higher engagement and return on investment.



    Meet with one of our experts and be in to win 1000 free SMS credits.

    Discuss how SMS could work best for your business. Meet with an SMS expert before the end of June and be in to win 1000 SMS credits.

    Talk to an expert

    Standard T&Cs apply. Additional competition terms: 1) Offer not available for SHAFT-regulated merchants. 2) To be eligible, you must book and complete a call with a Marsello SMS expert before UTC 11:59pm, 30th June, 2023. 3) Only one entry per eligible business will be accepted.



    Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

    SMS Product Update: 50% Reduced Rates, Automations, Merge Tags, and Emojis

    ClockIcon  READ
    We've introduced new features to make SMS marketing smarter and improve ROI, including SMS automation templates, automation library, merge tags and emojis

    “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one” - Mark Twain

    Apparently, Mark Twain hadn’t heard of pre-built SMS templates, something we’ve just added to Marsello alongside the automations template library, emojis, merge tags for SMS, and to make your SMS marketing go even further cut SMS rates by up to 50% on some pricing plans.  

    Here's what's new in SMS:

    We’ve cut SMS rates by 50%*, doubling SMS credits across some plans

    We’ve cut SMS rates by up to 50%* on some pricing plans, starting from our base $25/month plan. That means some plans will receive more than double the SMS credits per dollar.

    Previous pricing  New Pricing 





























































    SMS credits can be added to your Marsello Pro Plan from your account and will be added to your monthly subscription from the date you select your monthly SMS plan. 

    New SMS plans are available now, and existing plans will be updated as your monthly plan rolls over.

    Add SMS

    Pre-built SMS automation templates

    Sometimes you need to get a message to your customers that is short, sharp, and to the point. That’s where SMS comes in, the perfect communication tactic to drive action quickly. But saying less isn't always that easy, so we’ve introduced over 20 new pre-built SMS templates, including loyalty program messages, refer friend requests, Google Review requests, and more.

    Automation Template Library 

    You can now access all your email and SMS templates in the Automation Template Library. You can search the Template Library by communication channel, campaign type, industry and more. As you build out your SMS automation templates, and we add more, you’ll be able to deploy any SMS automation in just a few clicks. 

    SMS Automations

    Oh, and by the way, we’ve already added 10+ SMS automation templates to the library which you can access now. 

    Loyalty Notifications now in Automations Library

    We’ve added automated loyalty points notifications for SMS, and migrated all loyalty points notification templates to Marsello’s Automations Library. This allows you to track all sends, opens, and clicks.

    Plus, enjoy the new emojis and merge tags! 

    Even short messages should be personalized, so we’ve introduced merge tags in SMS automations and campaigns. Merge tags enable you to include the recipient's own details in the messages you send them, including first name, last name, loyalty points balance and VIP tier. We’ve also added emojis, so you can set the tone of your message without saying a word. 

    Want to get started with SMS, but not sure how? Take a look at the Marsello help center for practical step-by-step guides for setting up automations and campaigns. 

    *Note: 50% discounted rate is based on a regional send to the United States and priced in USD.


    SMS: Have you forgotten about this powerful marketing tactic?

    ClockIcon  READ
    Used in the right context, SMS is a truly powerful marketing tactic. The key? It all comes down to following the tried-and-true recipe for success.

    SMS might feel like a throwback, but savvy business owners are still using this direct, punchy channel to drive revenue.

    There are an overwhelming number of marketing and advertising channels these days. You’d be forgiven for thinking you have to invest in every latest and greatest platform or social media app to reach your audience.

    Email, SMS, Display Ads. Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Each one of these has taken the advertising world by storm at some point. 

    Of course, as business owners and marketers, we need to keep our finger on the pulse. But we also need to step back and think—Who is our customer? What is the purpose of this campaign? What channel is the most effective and appropriate way to deliver this message?

    Let’s explore examples of when SMS might be the most effective channel for your campaign. Together, we’ll look at how businesses across different industries can see success from SMS (including several examples of real merchant campaigns) and round off with some inspiration and ideas for SMS campaigns.


    Quick Links:



    “I've got to look twice and go—Is this actually real?

    – Daniel Pantaleo, Pinjarra Bakery

    No, this is not a line from a 2am infomercial.

    This is a real quote from a real Marsello merchant who couldn’t believe the results he saw when he sent an SMS campaign.

    There’s a common misconception out there about SMS—that it’s a spammy, outdated marketing channel. However, SMS is often misunderstood.

    2 things you must understand before you try SMS

    • It works best if the offer is time-sensitive, so if your campaign doesn’t drive urgent action you won’t see as much impact.
    • It has a high delivery rate (98%) but that doesn’t mean people who open it will engage. Your message must be enticing, concise, and clear.

    Think about the SMS messages you get that are helpful, and those that aren’t. It’s highly likely that the most helpful ones are transactional - an update on a parcel delivery, for example.

    The least helpful SMS messages are probably generic promos - a hairdresser you went to once, over two years ago, who keeps blasting you with offers that aren’t relevant to you.

    The trick is to make your offer as personalized and urgent as possible, so much so that it’s as helpful and welcome as a transactional SMS. Maybe even more so.

    The best SMS campaigns we’ve seen yet

    Hospitality: Pinjarra Bakery

    Every week, Pinjarra Bakery invent a wacky meat pie flavor. They’ve been doing this for years. But one day one of the owners, Daniel, decided to try this offer out with an SMS campaign.


    Simple right? 

    50.1% of those SMS messages sent converted to a sale. That’s HUGE.

    Here’s why it worked:

    • It’s urgent. 
    • It was sent just before lunchtime.
    • It was sent to regulars (those most likely to be closest to one of their stores).
    • It includes the merchant name (too often, SMS campaigns leave this key element out!)

    SMS was the perfect tactic for this campaign. The time was right, the audience was right, the offer was right.

    We were on a call with Daniel, and he told us he just couldn’t believe it. The revenue Pinjarra got from an SMS that took a few minutes to write and send was astonishing.

    Daniel could define the perfect audience using Marsello’s custom segmentation. He used the built-in SMS wizard to make sure the SMS met best practice. Then he was easily able to test and measure the direct impact of his first SMS campaigns on revenue.

    He saw it worked. Now, SMS is becoming an integral part of their marketing strategy.

    Like many merchants, Daniel is keen to keep his business up to speed with marketing tactics and technology.

    Retail: Scott Home Delivery

    Scott Home Delivery uses SMS for time-sensitive campaigns, with incredible results. Some of their campaigns see up to a 26% click rate — much higher than the average email click rate (around 3%).


    The two campaigns above are amongst the top performers; however, Scott Home Delivery regularly uses SMS for exclusive offers and limited-time-only campaigns. In fact, SMS makes up more than 40% of all revenue generated from their Marsello marketing campaigns. 

    Both of these campaigns follow a tried and true formula:

    • The sender’s brand name is stated upfront for immediate recognition
    • There’s one clear offer
    • One call-to-action
    • Urgency
    • A link to drive conversions
    • And there are instructions for how to opt out (a necessary inclusion)

    Using this recipe, Scott Home Delivery has found that SMS is an even more powerful marketing tool than email.



    Did you know? 

    According to Business.com, SMS messages have an average response rate of 45%, compared with an average email response rate of just 8%. Why? When we’re given a strict character limit, we drill down to the essence of the marketing message and give a single, clear call-to-action.



    Is SMS right for my business or industry?



    The benefits of SMS are abundant in hospitality. SMS is well-suited to last-minute discounts and exclusive or limited-time offers—all great tactics for restaurants, cafes, and bars. Location segmentation can provide relevant offers to the right audience, and scheduled sends can ensure the messages are delivered at the right time.


    SMS is widely used in transactional retail communications. Delivery updates and other important transactional messages are a common use of this direct channel, as emails can get lost to spam filters. However, there are also wider marketing use cases for SMS in retail. One example is using SMS as part of a loyalty or customer marketing strategy: using the channel to provide VIP offers, exclusive discounts, loyalty points updates, and more.


    SMS works well as a direct channel for transactional communications such as delivery updates. But, like retail, grocery stores can also use SMS as a broader loyalty and customer marketing channel. Small-to-medium grocery stores can use SMS to enhance their loyalty programs and provide a rich, personalized customer experience.

    Healthcare & Pharmacy

    SMS has a high deliverability rate (98%), and most messages are read within minutes. This makes SMS the perfect tool for important transactional messages such as script updates and appointment reminders.

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    Some SMS campaign ideas to get you started


    1. Send a Personalized ‘Welcome’ Message

    When customers sign up to your marketing list or loyalty program, welcome them and thank them for joining. You can even send a discount code or freebie for signing up—see how Taco Medic do this with huge success.

    2. Send Time-Sensitive Abandoned Cart Reminders

    We know that the best SMS campaigns have a clear call-to-action, and are time-sensitive. Ozzie Collectibles uses automation to remind shoppers about their abandoned cart, but adds in a follow-up email that their cart will only be saved for a limited time. This adds urgency and increases conversions.

    3. Deliver VIP Offers

    Use SMS to promote exclusive offers to your loyalty customers, or other customer segments. This could include exclusive access to new product releases, invitations to closed events, discounts to mark special occasions, or any other time-sensitive offers.

    4. Run Customer Feedback Campaigns

    Every once in a while, send an SMS with a short poll or survey (as best practice, offer an incentive for a higher response rate and more engaged, thoughtful responses). Customer feedback is highly valuable—you can get a temperature check on your customer base, and catch negative feedback before it turns into a negative review. You can also gain more insights, such as consumer preferences or market trends.

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