If you're not using a text message autoresponder for your ecommerce business, you're missing out on a big opportunity to improve your customers' experience.

SMS marketing is an effective way to reach and engage your customers. And adding automated text capabilities to the channel can help your audience get the information they need fast and increase conversions.

But as with any tool, you should follow certain best practices to get the most out of automated text responses. This blog post will give you an overview of some of the best practices for using automated text message response for your ecommerce business.

What is a text message autoresponder?

A text message autoresponder is a tool that automatically sends a text message to customers after they've taken a specific action. It’s a key tool that makes it possible to scale conversational commerce.

Often, it will respond to incoming texts, but it could also respond to actions customers take on other channels. For example, you could set up your autoresponder to send a text message to customers after they've made a purchase on your ecommerce store.

The automated reply can include anything from a simple thank-you message to coupon codes and shipping information. Or you can set up a text message autoresponder to handle more complex tasks. A text autoresponder can help customers find a product that suits their needs through a quiz. It could help a customer place an order. Or it could answer frequently asked questions.

Text message autoresponders are great for improving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

1. Get permission before sending

It can feel like a violation of privacy for a customer to receive texts they haven't signed up for, particularly if you send customers texts in reaction to actions they’ve taken on other channels. It's also illegal to text customers without their consent.

So before you start sending out automated messages, it's important to get explicit permission from your audience.

Opt-ins can be earned through a simple opt-in process on your website -- like a popup form -- or in an email to your existing list of email subscribers

You can also gain subscribers by asking customers to text a certain keyword to your SMS number — a perfect use of your autoresponder! Just make it clear that by texting you, they’re opting into texts.

2. Use a clear call to action when prompting your customers to text you.

If your text message autoresponder is set up to react to customer texts, it will go to waste if customers don't know to text you. So whether you're setting up a promotion or inviting a customer to take a quiz via text to find the best product fit, make it clear what customers need to do to engage.

Your call to action should be clear and concise so that your customers know exactly what you want them to do. For example, if you're running a promotion, your call to action might be "Text PROMO to 12345 to get 10% off your purchase."

3. Personalize your auto responses

Customer experience will be all the better if you personalize your auto-reply messages where you can. You can use customer data to create more relevant and helpful messages for each customer.

For example, if a customer is returning an order, you can set up the autoresponder to pull up a customer's eligible orders. Then, it can ask the customer which products they're trying to return. Then the customer doesn't have to sift through their emails to find their order number, and the text autoresponder can get the customer to a resolution more quickly.

Or, if you're using your autoresponder to help a customer place an order, you can use purchase data to recommend products that the customer is likely to enjoy.

This level of personalization shows customers that you care about their experience and are happy to go the extra mile.

4. Give people an easy way out

Make it easy for your customers to opt out of receiving future texts from you, so you don't bug them. In the first text you send to a customer, let them know they can text "STOP" at any time to unsubscribe.

Besides bugging customers, it's also required by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) to provide an opt-out mechanism in commercial texts. You could be subject to a fine of up to $1,500 per violation if you don't comply.

5. Set clear expectations in an auto reply

If a human support representative is required to help a customer, use your autoresponder to let the customer know your business hours. This way, the customer knows what to expect and can be patient while waiting for a support representative to get back to them.

You can also use your autoresponder to manage customer expectations around order logistics. For example, if a customer places an order on your website, you can use an autoresponder to send them a text message about when they can expect their order to arrive.

By managing customer expectations, you can help to avoid any frustration or disappointment on the part of your customers.

6. Use SMS for auto-replies instead of MMS

For auto reply text messages, it's best to use SMS instead of MMS.

Since MMS uses data, it may not arrive as quickly as an SMS will. Not ideal for sending time-sensitive information.

Plus, MMS messages are generally 2-3x more expensive to send than SMS messages, so you'll want to save those for your promotional and creative text messages that benefit from image files and GIFs.

7. Test and measure the success of your SMS autoresponder

As with any marketing channel, testing and measuring your text message autoresponder results as you use it is essential.

Track metrics like click-through rates, conversions, and unsubscribe rates to get an idea of how your audience engages with your texts.

Do A/B testing to try different variants of your text message autoresponses, too, so you can understand what resonates most with your audience. You can test different copy, calls to action, and even the tone of your messages.

Also, track audience sentiment to ensure your autoresponder communicates the right message. Monitor conversations your autoresponder has with customers to make sure the experience is positive.

Invest in two-way text messages to grow your business

A text message autoresponder can be a helpful tool for customer support, engagement, and conversions.

Emotive is a full-funnel SMS marketing platform that streamlines two-way conversations for ecommerce brands.

Emotive can automatically interpret and respond to up to 90% of customer queries and escalate more complex requests to the customer support team.

The software can even react to actions taken off the platform. For example, if a customer abandons their cart, Emotive can automatically text the customer to find out why they didn't complete their purchase. Then, the software can address unanswered questions that got in the way of the purchase, such as shipping and returns questions, product information, and credit card declines. Or it can offer an introductory offer to bring the customer across the finish line.

Want to learn how two-way SMS conversations can improve customer experience and drive more conversions? Learn more about Emotive and sign up for a demo.