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Email vs. SMS Marketing: The Ultimate Smackdown for E-commerce Success

Harness the power of email and SMS marketing and discover which reigns supreme in the e-commerce world.

Both email and SMS marketing can be extremely effective in driving sales and supercharging your business. They can be used as a cheap, scalable way of reaching a broad audience, and they're also an effective way to measure customer engagement and track sales. But choosing which one to use can feel difficult. 

According to research, 42% of commercial SMS messages are read by internet users in the US. In comparison, only 32% of commercial emails are read. Looking at these statistics, it may seem obvious that SMS marketing is always the appropriate choice for your business — but that isn’t necessarily the case.

Instead of asking yourself which one you should choose and trying to cover all bases using email marketing or SMS marketing, you should ask yourself when it's appropriate to use each and when you should use both together.


  • A customer visits your website and allows you to send them emails or SMS messages.
  • You’re sharing product updates or offers with your customers.
  • You’re requesting feedback on a product or service from your customers.
  • A customer has just purchased a product, and you want to send them a tailored message saying thank you and asking them if they have any further questions.
  • You want to send a customer a status update regarding their order.


Strengths of email marketing — and when to use it:

  • If you're promoting detailed or long-form content. The format of emails makes it read and digest and easier for customers to return later to reference. 
  • If you're sharing interactive experiences, images, and videos that may not transfer well over text.
  • If you prioritize maintaining a regular cadence with your customers, stay connected with them, and keep them updated about products.
  • It’s easy to segment your email list so customers only receive messages they’re likely interested in. Enrich is a tool that helps you learn everything about your customers, including demographic information, lifestyle and affinities, financial information, and even vehicle ownership. This can help you target your email marketing campaigns more effectively. 

Weaknesses of email marketing:

  • Many of your customers are already bombarded by email advertisements daily. This means they quickly become desensitized to it, and your campaigns may be less effective if you don’t organize them carefully. 
  • If your messages aren’t targeted properly or include keywords that trigger spam filters, they could get sent to your customers’ spam folders. This will make your campaigns less effective and could harm future campaigns.

Strengths of SMS marketing — and when to use it:

  • Use when notifying customers of a time-sensitive offer or a big sale. SMS messages are typically more intrusive than email messages, so avoid bombarding your customers with messages.
  • If you're sending a more personal message, like a request for feedback after one of your customers has purchased a product. This offers opportunities to build relationships with your customers and gather their honest feedback.
  • If you send brief updates that your customers anticipate and can read quickly. These messages are typically below 160 characters. For example, this may include order confirmations and shipping updates. 

Weaknesses of SMS marketing:

  • SMS feels more personal and intimate than email marketing, and it can quickly overwhelm your customers if you send too many SMS messages. 
  • You don’t have much space to convey your message, so your messages must be concise.

Your customers may be hesitant to respond to your SMS messages or follow links due to the rise of SMS scams in recent years.

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