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SMS Service options for E-commerce

If you are running an e-commerce website then SMS should be your primary mode of communication.

Recommended Read: http://blog.technify.pk/2018/03/20/how-e-commerce-businesses-can-use-text-messaging/

There are two aspects to setting up the right communication.

  • Writing the code to decide at what point and how to communicate with consumers.
  • Using an SMS service to send the actual message.

In this post, we are going to talk about just the SMS service options which you can use.

SMS Service:

1. Masking:

It’s a service where you get your brand name masked from a service provider an when you send a message, instead of the mobile number showing in your message box, it shows the actual name of the brand.

Pros:

The customer receives a message from your brand name which creates authenticity.

Cons:

Messages are one way. The customer can not send a reply back.

Message deliverability is questionable especially on MNP (Mobile Number Portability) numbers.

Cost:

You can get masking done for your brand for as low as Rs1000 or free, depending on the number of messages used. All you need is a request on your company letterhead. Messages cost anywhere between 20 to 50 cents again depending on the number of messages.

Integration:

Your service provider will share an API document and your development team can use this API to send an SMS

Recommendation:

Personally, I do not recommend using Masked numbers of e-commerce communication because of the mentioned cons.

 

2. Dedicated Short Code (DSC):

A DSC is a 4 digit code which you can use to communicate with customers. Similar to the communication you receive from your bank. Sana Safinaz is using a DSC for their e-commerce store. You have to buy a DSC from either directly from a Telco or a service provider.

Pros:

A 4 digit short code looks authentic

2-way communication is possible

Cons:

Takes 3-6 months to register a DSC with all Telcos

Expensive to get and manage

Customer replies get charged at Rs2-5+tax

Cost:

Setup cost can range anywhere from Rs 125,000 to 200,000. Fixed monthly cost can be from Rs30,000 to 70,000 depending on service providers. Messages cost anywhere between 20 to 50 cents + tax again depending on the number of messages.

Integration:

Your service provider will share an API document and your development team can use this API to send and receive SMS and take an action OR contact Technify to get a plugin for most e-commerce platforms including Magento, Shopify, Woocommerce, Big Commerce, Open Cart.

Recommendation:

Recommended, if you can afford it and you have a high order volume.

3. Shared Short Code (SSC):

An SSC is a 4 digit code which you can use to communicate with customers but you are sharing this with other brands. Your service provider will assign a prefix to your brand. You have to get an SSC from either directly from a Telco or a service provider.

Pros:

A 4 digit short code looks authentic

2-way communication is possible

Cons:

Slightly expensive to manage

The customer has to use your registered prefix to reply otherwise, the customer gets an “Invalid command” error.

Customer replies get charged at Rs2-5+tax

Cost:

Setup cost can range anywhere from Rs 0 to 50,000. Fixed monthly cost can be from Rs12,000 to 40,000 depending on service providers. Messages cost anywhere between 20 to 50 cents + tax again depending on the number of messages.

Integration:

Your service provider will share an API document and your development team can use this API to send and receive SMS and take an action.

Recommendation:

Better than masking but limits customers response.

4. Technify App:

Technify has an android app which turns your customer service phone into an SMS service.

Pros:

Inexpensive to run and manage

Customer deliverablility is guaranteed

Customer sees your actual number

Customer can call back on the same number

Very low SMS cost (subject to SIM package)

Cons:

Outgoing message limit of 13/min

Cost:

Free for upto 100 orders per month. $49 (Rs5000) for upto 3000 orders per month. $99(Rs10,000) unlimited orders.

Integration:

Seamless integration availbale for e-commerce platforms. Create SMS settings and responses via Dashboard.

Recommendation:

Highy recommended for small & medium sized businesses. If you order volume is less than 500 per day, use this, if more then 500 per day get a DSC (Dedicated Short Code).

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