SMS eCommerce vs MMS eCommerce

In today’s fast-paced, high tech age, being noticed among all your competitors can seem like a nearly impossible task. There are so many avenues to get your message across to your customers like traditional tv advertisements, mailers, email marketing, online advertisements, and text messages. Text message marketing is proving to be one of the fastest, more effective marketing tools to reach your customers on a personal level when used appropriately. 

Did you know that there are two types of text messages that can be sent to your customers? You have the option of sending SMS text messages or MMS text messages, but how do you know which one is the best to use?

What are SMS messages?

SMS messages are what most people think of when they picture text messages. SMS stands for short message service and was designed for users to send and receive text messages of 160 characters or less. These are perfect to use when you are trying to quickly reach your customers to alert them about a new sale or offer, updates to their shipping, or when you would like to invite them back to your eCommerce storefront. 

Reminders such as “you have left items in your cart,” or “Our biggest Black Friday Sale ever ends tonight at midnight” coupled with a link to your site are the ideal use of your SMS eCommerce platform. 

SMS messages also work well for helping to opt your customers into your communication. An email or website could say “Text SAVENOW to 123456 to opt into our text message services and receive exclusive savings.” This is a great way for online retailers to create a very targeted list of customers who are interested in their products and their communication and will be more likely to click through on future messages. 

SMS can also be utilized for customer service messaging and sales. When a package is about to ship, your company could message a customer asking if they would like to add anything. Customers can respond with their requests and upgrade their packages prior to shipping increasing the margins for the sale. 

Customers have responded favorably to SMS eCommerce messages because they are short, to the point, and usually personal to their needs. 

What are MMS messages?

MMS messages stand for multimedia messaging service and are used when messaging pictures, videos or other media files. Messages longer than 160 characters also fall within the MMS classification. Most cell providers allow users to message both SMS and MMS messages without even knowing their phones are changing message types. 

MMS messages are used when the message includes a graphic for your sale or a new product offer. On occasion, this option is a great choice as graphics tend to draw people in more often than they do plain text messages. They can be a great complement to email marketing as you can take much of the same content and condense it down to fit on the phone’s screen. Something that your customers may have ignored in their email could easily grab their attention in the form of an MMS message. 

While messaging with graphics and pictures can be powerful, it should also go without saying that retailers cannot confuse their customers’ text feeds with their social media channels. If a customer is suddenly flooded with spam text messages, the marketing approach becomes far less powerful. Additionally, some data plans may charge customers for the data associated with these types of messages. 


Keeping in mind that messages feeding into a texting app are mostly from trusted, known senders, retailers have a better chance of positive responses with a “less is more” approach. Overdoing it with lengthy messages or graphics via text could cause a retailer to become blocked and marked as spam very quickly. There is a very fine line between sending just enough to foster personal interactions and sending too much and causing frustrations. 

When used correctly, SMS eCommerce messages can be an incredible way to reach your customers quickly and increase engagement across all platforms. Much in the same way that Twitter is starting to rank higher in certain demographics than Facebook or Instagram, SMS messages are preferred because they are concise and to the point. Users can quickly decide if they want to take action on the message or not without having to read an entire email.

For the most part, SMS eCommerce messages will be your best bet for effective text message marketing and customer communication.  It is far more cost-effective than other marketing tools or campaigns available. The right message coupled with the right timing will lead to success time and again!