BTW LMK RN: Texting & tracking

Getting delivery tracking updates via SMS/text has never been more popular

Given the rise in customer acquisition costs, email has expanded its standing as the most cost-effective staple of the DTC marketer’s channel mix. But given the relative low cost of email, consumers’ inboxes have become a crowded space, one that’s becoming a wasteland for conversion and a prime target for a new crop of solutions to inbox management.

But transactional/triggered emails have long had a higher engagement rate than the average “sign up to unlock savings” opt-in flow. Benchmark data from email platform Klaviyo shows that “Thank You” emails—i.e., emails sent after confirmation of a purchase—are significantly more likely to result in an open than other types of triggered emails.

This leads us to ask—what other post-order communications could marketers leverage for better customer engagement?

Tracking: green field for engagement

A fixture of our Weekly Trackers feature since April this year, our BOXpoll surveys regularly ask consumers how often they check tracking information on average per online order. The responses have remained remarkably steady: consumer check tracking an average of more than 3 times per order. That is an astonishing amount of engagement, especially since delivery times average less than a week. It’s unlikely any marketing email flow engages customers 3 times per week—begging the question as to whether digital brands need to leverage this channel better for customer engagement and cross-sell promotions.

Given this sustained engagement, we decided to ask consumers how they preferred to receive tracking information.

  • Email remains king, with 53% of consumers overall saying they prefer email more than other channels
  • However, email is seeing declining preference as you move down the age scale. For Gen Z, the #1 preferred channel for tracking notifications is SMS/text (44%, vs 32% for email)
Chart - Tracking SMS/text notifications

SMS/text: the greenest of green fields

Given the ascendancy of SMS notifications, especially among younger consumers, we weren’t surprised to see 74% of Gen Z consumers say they would be likely to sign up for SMS/text tracking notifications if made available by a retailer. What was astonishing, however, was that older consumers—specifically, Millennials and Gen X—were in fact even more likely to opt-in for SMS notifications (78% for each generation). Even Boomers are getting in on the act, with 63% telling us they’d sign up for SMS.

In our branded tracking solution, Consumer Connect (which we include at no cost to clients of our ecommerce logistics services), we are seeing results consistent with this finding. Among PB clients who have enabled tracking notifications via our service, 16.3% of tracking page visitors sign up for SMS notifications, and 7.8% of visitors sign up for email notifications—more than 2x adoption rate for SMS compared to email.

And the click through results from SMS communications are promising compared email as well—comparing Klaviyo’s 2020 benchmarks versus data from’s 2021 SMS Benchmarks for Ecommerce Marketing, SMS tactics can result in a 2-3x better clickthrough performance compared to email.

BOXpoll™ by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture, and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult //2094 US consumers surveyed September-October 2021.© Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc.

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