How to Create Positive Experiences with Transactional SMS

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A transactional SMS is an essential, non-marketing text message. These messages are created within flows that are triggered by a purchase or other direct interaction with your brand in which it is imperative that the customer receives a response. Transactional content commonly appears in flow emails as well, and customers expect you to confirm transactions made on your site. 

Unlike with email, someone will have had to opt in for SMS marketing to receive transactional SMS.

The types of transactional messages you can make in Klaviyo depend on your specific integrations. Different integrations bring over different events (or metrics) that trigger these SMS flows. We recommend reviewing the data for your specific integrations to see which types of transactional messages you can leverage in your account.

By the end of this article, you will have learned what a transactional SMS is and best practices for sending them.

Create Transactional SMS Message in a Flow

Create an SMS flow. This flow should be triggered by a transactional event on your website, such as Placed Order. Then, add your transactional SMS into your flow with the drag-and-drop feature. Transactional SMS cannot have marketing content for other products or your brand beyond what is necessary to communicate about the transaction.

Common transactional flow SMS messages are for orders placed, shipping confirmations, and account creations. If you want to use a metric that isn't synced through your ecommerce integration, you will need to create a custom metric. Klaviyo has an open API that you can leverage to set this up.


Placed Order SMS Flow

A key example of a transactional SMS is a confirmation text for a Placed Order event, as shown below:


Set your trigger event as Placed Order.

Drag and drop an SMS message below the trigger, and edit the content. Keep in mind what information is necessary to include for your customers.

The content that appears in the SMS message pictured above (on the left-hand side) has a friendly tone, but first and foremost, it is informative. It communicates that your customer succeeded in completing a transaction, and also states that they will be sent shipping information in the near future. This prepares your audience to expect subsequent messages in the flow, so they are not taken by surprise or frustrated by additional messaging.

This message opens the doors to increased customer engagement and a positive stream of communication. It is important to remain consistent in tone throughout your flow and follow up with all the information you say your customer will receive.

Shipping Confirmation SMS Flow

A shipping confirmation SMS is triggered by Fulfilled Order, as detailed in this example:


Similar to post-purchase flows, it is important to edit the message content to be customer-specific. Include information like the customer's first name, what they bought, and how many days they can expect shipping to take.

This is your chance to show that your brand cares about the customer experience and keeps them informed on order details. This SMS provides peace-of-mind for consumers that they will receive their order in a timely manner.

Best Practices

Keep Customers in the Know

Customize transactional SMS content to reflect your brand's tone and to contain any pertinent information. Include specifics, such as the customer's name and purchase, as well as any other key details pertaining to the trigger event. However, do not include any marketing content in these specific messages that would make them non-transactional.

Transactional SMS messages keep customers informed of their purchases and interactions with your brand, so be sure to communicate everything a customer needs to know. This ensures that they are not left wondering when they will receive an order or if their order was successfully placed on your online store.

Send Marketing SMS in the Same Flow

Though transactional messages are a part of SMS flows, not all content in the flow has to be transactional. In fact, your business may benefit from adding marketing content to flows after a transactional message. This can boost customer engagement and potentially drive customers to buy again.

For example, if you have a post-purchase flow in which the first SMS is an order confirmation, that would be a transactional SMS message. However, if you decide to add subsequent marketing text messages aimed at generating product reviews or cross-selling related products to specific customer segments, those would be marketing SMS.

If your transactional message is sent to someone who purchased a blue winter hat, you could send them a cross-selling marketing SMS afterward to recommend matching blue mittens.


Further Reading

To learn more about transactional emails, check out our article on Using Flows to Send Transactional Emails.

See other flows to use with SMS: 

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