SMS Benchmarks

for Ecommerce Marketing

2021 EDITION

The data doesn’t lie: This is how to create killer SMS marketing campaigns in 2021.

Below you’ll find the aggregate data from thousands of ecommerce stores using SMS, so you can see how your brand's performance measures up. We’ve also included actionable takeaways to help you get the most out of this data as well as ideas for your SMS marketing strategy.

Jargon Decoder

UNSUB Rate

The percent at 
which subscribers 
unsubscribe to messages

CTR

Click-through-Rate

Conversion Rate

The percent of which 
subscribers purchase

EPM

Earning per Message

AOV

Average Order Value

Benchmarks by Product Persona

SMS marketing performance varies depending on the types of products being sold and how often they’re purchased. We separated products into five ‘personas’ based on consumer behavior: how much they cost, how often they’re purchased, and the time between purchases.

Top Insights2021_R1

💡 Top insights

 

  • No surprise: stores selling more expensive items generally earn more per text message.
  • Stores selling consumables and regularly re-purchased items can earn significant revenue from messages focused on repeat buyers such as campaigns, customer win-back series, and post-purchase promotions.
  • Stores that sell one-time-purchase goods see the most revenue concentrated in their opt-in and welcome-series flows. Don’t skimp on building out the strongest possible welcome flow - it’ll pay off!

Small Subscription Spends

Monthly, recurring inexpensive goods and consumables

  • AOV less than $100
  • Repurchased more than 25% of the time
  • Purchased less than 45 days apart

Examples: Snack and coffee stores with subscriptions, and some clothing brands that sell regularly purchased basics

Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign0% – 1%7% – 14%1% – 3%$0.45 – $1.62
Abandoned Cart1% – 3%12% – 19%12% – 23%$6.89 – $15.27
Customer Win-back0% – 1%6% – 11%1% – 3%$0.75 – $2.02
Post Purchase Promotion0% – 1%10% – 18%2% – 9%$1.18 – $4.72
Welcome Series2% – 6%9% – 14%3% – 10%$1.87 – $5.58
Keyword Opt-in Flow1% – 3%26%– 43%10% – 24%$5.32 – $15.32
Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign1%7% – 14%1%- 2%$0.36 - $1.14
Abandoned Cart1% - 3%11% - 17%12% - 20%$6.86 - $14.82
Customer Win-back0% - 1%7% - 11%1% - 3%$0.77 - $2.25
Post Purchase Promotion0% - 1%9% - 6%2% - 5%$0.85 - $3.27
Welcome Series2% - 6%8% - 13%3% - 8%$1.50 - $4.81
Keyword Opt-in Flow1% - 3%27% - 41%12% - 26%$6.75 - $16.46

Occasional Orders

Occasional inexpensive goods and consumables

  • AOV less than $100
  • Repurchased more than 25% of the time
  • Purchased less than 45 days apart

Examples: Beauty/cosmetics products, most clothing brands

Single-Stop Gifts

Single-purchase inexpensive goods

  • AOV less than $100
  • Repurchased more than 25% of the time

Examples: Stores selling products that might be bought as a one-time gift (think baby items or wedding gifts) and stores with a smaller catalog of niche items

Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign1% - 02%6% - 11%0% - 1%$0.15 - $0.44
Abandoned Cart3% - 7%10% - 16%8% - 16%$4.01 - $9.09
Customer Win-back1% - 3%6% - 09%0% - 1%$0.15 - $0.64
Post Purchase Promotion1% - 2%8% - 14%1% - 2%$0.33 - $1.19
Welcome Series4% - 9%7% - 12%2% - 7%$1.08 - $3.95
Keyword Opt-in Flow2% - 4%28% - 46%10% - 24%$4.89 - $12.59
Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign1% - 2%7% - 13%0% - 1%$0.24 - $1.29
Abandoned Cart2% - 7%12% - 17%8% - 7%$13.33 - $41.28
Customer Win-back1% - 3%7% - 11%0% - 1%$0.39 - $1.02
Post Purchase Promotion1% - 3%8% - 17%1% - 2%$1.10 - $3.69
Welcome Series4% - 10%8% - 14%2% - 6%$3.23 - $14.11
Keyword Opt-in Flow2% - 5%22% - 37%4% - 18%$9.02 - $34.23

One-time Luxuries

Single-purchase luxury goods

  • AOV more than $100
  • Repurchased less than 25% of the time

Examples: Big-ticket athletic purchases such as skis; other large purchases including furniture, jewelry, and art

Recurring Splurges

Periodic luxury goods

  • AOV more than $100
  • Repurchased more than 25% of the time

Examples: Stores selling upscale clothes and footwear, big-ticket beauty items like hair extensions, some stores that sell a wider variety of home goods and athletic gear

Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign1% - 2%7% - 14%1% - 2%$0.88 - $2.93
Abandoned Cart1% - 4%11% - 19%9% - 21%$17.56 - $36.19
Customer Win-back0% - 1%7% - 15%2% - 3%$2.07 - $6.08
Post Purchase Promotion0% - 2%10% - 15%2% - 6%$2.19 - $6.26
Welcome Series3% - 9%8% - 14%3% - 9%$5.14 - $16.23
Keyword Opt-in Flow2% - 4%23% - 40%8% - 20%$12.74 - $34.25

Hot off the press.

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Benchmark by Industry

Every industry has a different set of customers, best-practices, and expectations. Before you take a one-size-fits-all approach, consider whether an auto shop and a baby food store should have the same campaigns (hint: they shouldn’t — here’s why.) We took a look at the top 5 industries and analyzed their success with SMS marketing.

All Industries

If your shop doesn’t fit into one of the listed verticals below, 
this is a great catch-all starting point for looking at your 
SMS performance.

2021 photo bg
PS_BenchmarkReport_AllIndustries
Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign0.9%9.8%1.4%$1.04
Abandoned Cart2.4%16.2%9.1%$8.11
Customer Winback1.5%7.5%1.1%$0.69
Loyalty Offer1.0%14.6%2.2%$1.12
Welcome Series3.1%10.3%2.0%$1.78
Keyword3.0%30.3%7.7%$5.79

What to Do

blue1

Setup an Abandoned Cart series! Across every industry, abandoned carts CTR, conversion rate, and EPM are incredibly strong 💪.

blue2

Put some thought into your opt-in keyword reply and welcome messages. These high-value messages are a crucial part of any store’s strategy to build a strong list and revenue.

blue3

Go Easy on Campaigns: Less is more with campaigns across the board. While they have some of the lowest unsubscribe rates, they also have lower EPM, conversion rates, 
and CTR.

How many distinct SMS opt-ins should we have?

Fully ramped shops using SMS had 3-4 different SMS opt-ins.

Apparel

From streetwear to swim trunks, athleisure, and everything in between, these are the SMS benchmarks for apparel brands.

2021 photo bg
PS_BenchmarkReport_Apparel
Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign0% – 1%7% – 14%0% – 2%$0.24 – $1.38
Abandoned Cart1% – 4%11% – 18%10% – 20%$6.71 – $17.63
Customer Win-back0% – 1%7% – 12%1% – 3%$0.62 – $2.14
Post Purchase Promotion0% – 1%11% – 18%2% – 9%$1.22 – $5.29
Welcome Series2% – 6%8% – 13%2% – 7%$1.49 – $5.31
Keyword Opt-in Flow1% – 3%27% – 39%8% – 21%$5.38 – $15.45

What to Do

blue1

Set up abandoned cart & keyword: No surprise here—they’re money in the bank.

blue2

Experiment with a Loyalty Offer: With one of the higher CTR’s, this is a good indicator that with the right offer, you can likely increase conversion rate and EPM. We recommend A/B testing different creative or offers to see what resonates with shoppers.

What subscriber source performs the best?

The majority of subscribers are acquired either at checkout or via texting in a keyword.

Keyword subscribers have 30-40% higher click through rates, EPM, and conversion rates compared to checkout subscribers.

Home Goods

It takes a lot to decorate a home! From candles to beds, and beyond, all the items that go in your home or products that you use within a home belong here.

2021 photo bg
PS_BenchmarkReport_HomeGoods
Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign1% – 2%7% – 15%0% – 2%$0.19 – $1.22
Abandoned Cart2% – 7%11% – 18%9% – 18%$5.06 – $19.87
Customer Win-back1% – 4%6% – 11%0% – 1%$0.21 – $0.84
Post Purchase Promotion1% – 2%9% – 16%1% – 3%$0.41 – $2.12
Welcome Series4% – 10%8% – 14%2% – 7%$1.47 – $5.91
Keyword Opt-in Flow2% – 4%28% – 45%7% – 21%$4.82 – $16.31

What to Do

blue1

Build a Welcome Series: After you’ve set up an abandoned cart series and keyword, work on a welcome series.

blue2

Fine-tune your win-back strategy: Win-backs can be highly effective for some stores, but it takes some strategizing - you’ll want to find the right timing and offer to get those older customers back in play!

Beauty/Cosmetics

Whether you’re in the business of selling lip-kits, haircare or skincare products, this is the data for you.

2021 photo bg
PS_BenchmarkReport_BeautyCosmetics
Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign1% – 2%5% – 11%0% – 1%$0.19 – $0.87
Abandoned Cart2% – 6%9% – 15%8% – 18%$4.1 – $12.3
Customer Win-back1% – 3%5% – 11%1% – 2%$0.33 – $1.51
Post Purchase Promotion1% – 3%7% – 12%1% – 3%$0.35 – $1.48
Welcome Series3% – 7%7% – 12%3% – 6%$1.07 – $4.55
Keyword Opt-in Flow1% – 4%30% – 46%9% – 23%$4.58 – $13.97

What to Do

blue1

A/B test your Abandoned Cart: The EPM for beauty and cosmetics abandoned carts is huge. Spend some extra TLC making sure yours is irresistible. 

blue2

Incorporate a keyword across different channels: Keywords are solid performers for this industry. Try using keywords on Instagram, product packaging, and email marketing.

Food & Beverage

Coffee, snacks, meal prep— people need to eat and drink!

2021 photo bg
Benchmark_FoodBeverage
Message TypeUNSUB RateCTRConversion RateEPM
Campaign1% – 2%8% – 13%1% – 03%$0.31 – $1.68
Abandoned Cart2% – 6%11% – 18%11% – 20%$6.32 – $14.61
Customer Win-back1% – 2%8% – 11%1% – 4%$0.74 – $2.99
Post Purchase Promotion1% – 2%9% – 15%2% – 5%$0.7 – $3.2
Welcome Series4% – 9%8% – 15%2% – 8%$1.2 – $5.38
Keyword Opt-in Flow1% – 4%30% – 46%10% – 23%$4.84 – $12.63

What to Do

blue1

Create a loyalty offer: Consumables are great business for repeat buyers. A loyalty offer or program is a solid way to incentivize folks to keep purchasing.

Health/
Wellness

With consumers concerned about their mental and physical well-being, and many shoppers thinking about self-care.

2021 photo bg
PS_BenchmarkReport_HealthWellness
Message TypeUNSUB RateCTR
Conversion RateEPM
Campaign1% – 2%6% – 12%0% – 1%$0.22 – $0.93
Abandoned Cart2% – 7%12% – 18%10% – 21%$6.67 – $20.22
Customer Win-back0% – 3%05% – 11%1% – 2%$0.41 – $1.47
Post Purchase Promotion0% – 2%9% – 14%1% – 3%$0.71 – $2.61
Welcome Series4% – 9%9% – 13%3% – 8%$1.48 – $6.31
Keyword Opt-in Flow2% – 4%32% – 49%11% – 26%$5.92 – $18.87

What to Do

blue1

Design a loyalty offer: If you’re just getting started with SMS, we’d go against conventional wisdom here and advise you to build out a loyalty offer before spending a ton of time on a multi-touch welcome series. Why? Loyalty offers have the lowest unsub rate, high CTR, and are about the same in terms of conversion rate and EPM when stacked against a welcome series. 

* Research Methodology

Data was taken from all Postscript stores with active accounts between June 2020 and June 2021. The aggregate statistics reported here were taken from campaigns and automation flows sent to 200 subscribers or more. In the case of automation flows, the earnings per message (EPM), conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates are defined here as revenue earned, purchase counts, and unsubscribes (respectively) per subscriber who entered the automation flow. The click-through rates are defined as the number of unique subscriber clicks (maximum one per subscriber) per message sent, for all message types. Only messages containing links are included in the reported click-through rate statistics. The"Keyword-Opt-In Flow" message type refers to the opt-in confirmation and keyword reply sent to subscribers immediately after joining a store's SMS list.

The performance data per message was first averaged for each individual store over messages sent by the store throughout the year. The store averages for each message type and performance statistic were then ordered from lowest to highest. The final ranges reported here span from the 25th percentile cutoff (the cutoff point for a given performance statistic where 25% of stores had a lower value and 75% were higher) through the 75th percentile cutoff (the cutoff point for a given statistic where 75% had a lower value and 25% were higher).