eCommerce

Osa Gaius: SMS for Sales

Mobile sales are only increasing in the world of eCommerce, but are you leveraging SMS as a channel for direct sales? Osa Gaius chatted with us to discuss this underused direct channel.

Everyone has their phone on them pretty much at all times. This makes SMS a potentially great channel for direct communication and instant sales, but only if it’s used correctly. There’s a fine balance businesses need to strike between convenience and being spammy. 

Osa Gauis, CEO and Founder of Parrot, explains his thoughts on this in the preview clip below. If you have the time, listen to the full episode to really understand how you can take advantage of SMS.

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We chatted with Osa about his past experience at MailChimp and how that lead him to the world of SMS. Among the points we discussed were:

  • SMS for direct communication without being spammy
  • Sales via SMS
  • SMS and online security
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Who are Osa and Kevin?

Osa Gaius is the founder and CEO of Parrot, a mobile payments platform that helps companies sell products directly to their customers over text and collect 1-click payments. His passion is helping small businesses reach their goals and build their brand loyalty using devices that nearly everyone in the world has – their phones.

Kevin Stagg is Optily’s Chief Marketing and Customer Officer. He has years of experience in international companies both big and small, including Microsoft and Ding.

SMS as a conversation, not an ad

As Osa said in the clip above, most people will end up looking at a text message that comes through on their phone. It might be their mother messaging, after all. However, if it’s just a spammy promo code from a site they bought something from two months ago, they probably won’t be too happy about seeing this ad in a very private piece of real estate.

Rather that using SMS as another marketing channel, Osa thinks brands need to rethink their comms strategy.

While small DTC brands can handle a certain amount of direct communication manually, as they scale they’ll need to invest in some automation. Osa Gaius suggests automating the first message to customers, such as thanking them for their purchase. After that, a human can take over in order to maintain the personalization, while still being able to scale.

SMS Checkouts

For products that are consumable, think drinks or dog food, for example, there’s a good chance that your customers will want more of them soon. While many companies do offer subscriptions, this may not be to everyone’s liking. Getting locked into a payment cycle for a product you’re only trying for the first time isn’t always popular.

This is where SMS can play a really big role. Since they’ve already checked out with you, you have their information on file linked to their phone number (by using a payment app like Parrot). You should know how long it typically takes for them to drink their drinks or for the dog food to run low. Then, you can send them an SMS a week or so ahead of time to ask them if they want to restock. This enables them to instantly check out without going through you website, making it just as simple as Amazon 1-click. 

Less friction and more personalized sales are possible through SMS. If they respond to your message saying anything else, you can now leverage this touchpoint and delay their delivery or offer a discount at this stage.

SMS and Security

SMS text scams from the “IRS,” online security, and phone spoofing all some to mind when discussing using your phone for payments. So, how can smaller eCommerce brands instill the same level of trust that consumers have in brands like Amazon?

Osa Gaius stresses the importance of having a partner who is an expert in compliance to help you navigate secure payments as a DTC brand. You use Shopify to manage your store and inventory, right? So, you need a trusted partner who is an expert in payments. 

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