SMS segmentation enables you to send highly targeted messaging that resonates with shoppers to drive higher conversion rates than generic broadcast messages.

SMS messages have a high open rate -- an estimated average of 95% get opened within three minutes of receipt. So you want to take advantage of that engagement and make the most out of every message you send your subscribers.

Using SMS segments to send your text recipient list relevant messages shows recipients you're more responsive, which can turn more open-and-read text messages into sales.

What is SMS segmentation?

SMS segments help you divide your audience into smaller, more specific groups by attributes such as age, gender, location, purchase history, and interests. This allows you to target each group with relevant text messaging that is tailored to their needs and preferences.

How can ecommerce brands segment their SMS lists?

Sending targeted text messages to your subscribers through customer segmentation can drastically improve the ROI of your SMS campaigns. According to McKinsey research, 76% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that personalize their messaging (and 71% simply expect personalized communication, full-stop).

Here are a few common ways to segment your SMS subscriber list to help ensure you deliver the right text message to the right audience.


Segment customers based on their purchase history. Then you can build a completely different SMS campaign for each group: those who have bought from you before and those who haven't.

Create one segment of existing customers, and send them a text message with a promotional offer relevant to their purchases to keep subscribers engaged and encourage them to come back to your site for more.

Then create another segment of potential customers (the ones who haven't bought from you yet) where you can experiment with different types of SMS messaging to see what gets them over the line. For example, you can try including customer reviews or product education texts.

Engagement level

Establish SMS segments based on how engaged recipients are -- in other words, how often they respond, click, or convert from your SMS communications.

People who frequently open your SMS notifications and click through your website have more interest and are more likely to buy. Send messages and special offers to that segment regularly to encourage them to make a purchase.

Frequent text notifications are more likely to be seen as a nuisance for people who rarely open or click through, so you should only communicate with that segment once in a while.


Demographic segmentation can also help you deliver the most relevant content to your subscribers. Divide your SMS subscribers into multiple segments based on age, gender, location, and other defining attributes that are relevant for your brand.

Say you sell shoes in the U.S., and you decide to divide your list by geographical area. You might send an SMS message promoting winter boots to subscribers in the Northeastern and Midwestern states. But shoppers in warmer climates -- like Florida and Arizona, for example -- aren't as likely to purchase snow boots. You could send them SMS messages about your sandal selection to those folks instead as summer rolls around.

5 SMS segmentation strategies to increase sales

You can establish multiple SMS segments with attribution data based on how a specific group interacts with your brand. Try one of these segmentation strategies to give your revenue a boost.

1. Create brand advocates

There's nothing like word-of-mouth marketing. In one survey, 59% of Gen Z consumers named recommendations from friends and family members as the most influential factor when making purchasing decisions.

Identify your most loyal customers and target them with messaging that makes them feel valued to turn them into brand ambassadors.

Thank them for their brand loyalty with exclusive offers and discounts, or start a referral program to encourage them to recommend you to their friends and family (who will, of course, also become loyal customers once you wow them with your customer service).

2. Cross-sell recent purchasers

Establish an SMS segment based on who has recently placed an order with you. You can improve customer experience by thanking them for their business while creating an opportunity to cross-sell them complementary items.

For example, if they bought a new phone, you could keep them engaged by sending them a text message that showcases compatible phone cases or other accessories.

3. Capture cart abandoners 

According to Baymard Institute research, nearly 70% of online shopping carts get abandoned, making cart abandonment one of the biggest pain points in ecommerce.

Target SMS segments of cart abandoners with a message that nudges them to complete their purchase. You can simply remind the recipient of the item(s) they left behind or incentivize them to act with a time-sensitive discount code.

4. Convert new SMS subscribers

Make a segment of new subscribers and send them communications that help them get to know your brand and encourage them to start shopping. People who have just signed up for your list are an active and interested audience, so make the most of your SMS opt-in messages and other introductory texts.

You can offer them a discount on their first purchase or send helpful resources (like blog posts, reviews, or guides) highlighting your products' value. Even if they don't make a purchase right away, they'll be glad they shared their phone number.

5. Re-engage inactive customers

Sometimes once-active SMS subscribers will stop responding to your text messages. That doesn't mean you should stop sending them.

Create an SMS segment of dormant customers and send them winback campaigns to remind them of what they're missing. The time frame will vary depending on your industry -- if you sell high-value items that cost a lot of money, you might wait several months before texting them. If you're a shop that sells frequently bought items like apparel or house supplies, you could text them within a couple of weeks.

It's helpful to include exclusive discounts or even mention relevant products the recipient may be interested in based on their purchase or browsing history.

Level up your SMS marketing with Emotive

If you want to maximize your SMS marketing ROI, you need the right tools. Provide your customers with more personalized experiences with Emotive, the SMS marketing platform designed for ecommerce.

In addition to providing best-in-class segmentation capabilities, we're dedicated to being your partner in growth. We'll help you set up your SMS marketing program for success with assistance defining your strategy, writing copy for your SMS alerts, and even responding to customer queries.Sign up for a demo today.