Unlocking retail success: the optimal timing for SMS marketing campaigns

At Text Marketer, we’ve looked through hundreds of thousands of messages and tonnes of data, to pinpoint the optimal times for retailers to send SMS marketing messages.

With 7.33 billion smart phone users across the globe (90.04% of the population), it’s no surprise that more and more retailers are increasing their investment in SMS marketing to promote and sell their products.
Alongside its low-cost benefits, SMS firmly holds the lead with the highest open and click-through rates among all the marketing channels – so for retailers it offers the best ROI.

At Text Marketer, we’ve done our homework, looking through hundreds of thousands of messages and tonnes of data, to pinpoint the best times in the day for retailers to send SMS marketing messages, along with the most opportune days and prime times of the year.

Best times in the week to send bulk SMS

According to our data, there are two main time slots from Monday to Friday that have enjoyed the most success from their SMS campaigns.

The first is the morning shift from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm. This time seems to work well for those settling into their work-from-home routine, or just arriving at their desks, and even having a little browse before getting into the swing of their workflow.

If you follow any retail brands, you’ll see that a lot of their comms for last-minute sales or one-off discount codes go out first thing in the morning.

The next is the post-work slot from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm. From early to late evening can be a great time to capture attention, as smart phone usage peaks around this time for social media.

Ever found yourself having a ‘quick’ scroll to yourself on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok and then suddenly it’s an hour later and you’ve got 10 items in your basket across multiple tabs?

Timing your SMS campaigns with social media traffic can be a really effective way to position your brand as a go-to for those who have been ‘influenced’ into jumping on a new trend from these apps.
Equally, we wouldn’t recommend leaving your SMS marketing sends too much later than this as traffic starts to drop off. The ‘leave it until the morning’ feeling starts to set in, and it starts to feel a bit invasive for business hours.

The three most popular times that retailers send bulk SMS during the week are from 5:00 -6:00 pm (21%), 11:00 – 12:00 pm (17%), and 6:00 – 7:00 pm (11%).

Best days in the week for SMS marketing

There’s a clear pattern of retailers sending SMS marketing campaigns on Monday and Tuesday, with almost 40% of all messages being sent across these days. Monday marginally takes the lead with 21% of bulk SMS sends, whilst Tuesday sits at 19%.

After this, we see a clear midweek drop-off with Wednesday coming through as the least popular day to send SMS campaigns, taking only 14% of the share of messages sent.

As we get towards the weekend, the volume of SMS campaigns picks up from Thursday to Friday, creating a U-shaped trend across the weekdays.

It’s best practice to avoid sending an SMS marketing campaign during the rush hour commute on weekdays, and also to time your sends for the beginning and end of the month for better conversion rates. Although, it’s worth bearing in mind that this can vary from month to month depending on the season.

Best times at the weekend for SMS marketing

The first weekend sending sot is from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm. It’s worth mentioning that very few messages are sent after 1:00 pm as weekend plans set in and this time is usually spent with friends and family.

Our advice is to get your bulk SMS sends out early so you can catch customers in their lazy morning routine. Give them time to fit a bit of retail therapy around their plans.

Next we’re looking at the prime time Sunday slots. The first of which is the morning shift from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Much like the previous, it’s a popular time for retailers to draw attention whilst people are enjoying a slow, and relaxing morning.

Finally, the afternoon slot from, 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. The final time in the week to send a text message to customers is late afternoon/early evening. Most people have wrapped up their weekend plans and are practicing some self-care or a little self-indulgence before the week of work ahead.

Historically there has been a clear pattern of SMS marketing activity towards the end of the week compared to the start, with a 38% increase in the volume of SMS campaigns being received.

With all that being said, make sure to run tests before you commit to a sending schedule. When building your SMS marketing strategy, leverage your own data, brand image, and audience insights to maximise your conversions and nurture customer loyalty.

Is there a best time of the year to send SMS?

Based on our customer send data, we’ve noticed a significant amount of traffic for the retail sector surrounding Black Friday & Cyber Monday – which goes without saying. It’s the most important time of the year for retailers, especially with the run-up to the holiday season at the end of this period.

Invest time and resources into setting your SMS campaigns up for success during this period, as a win here could mean a for your bottom line.

Fast approaching we’ve got the season of love with Valentine’s Day. The commercialisation of this holiday has become another important milestone for retailers with the ‘love economy’ continuing to provide a healthy amount of spending. A well-timed SMS marketing campaign could offer gift guidance and what’s in versus what’s out for 2024 to those who might need a bit of help.

Next up we have Mother’s and Father’s Day. Both are significant points in the calendar for retailers, with families sharing their love and gratitude in the form of presents and gestures. Get organised with your bulk SMS sends to send out a thoughtful campaign before your competitors. It’s always worth sending out a last-minute campaign to collect business from those who inevitably forget.

Don’t sleep on the growing opportunity of birthday marketing. We’re seeing more and more retailers now investing in personalised birthday offers and rewards for loyal customers. A thoughtful SMS campaign to show customers that they’re valued is a simple yet powerful way to build a more meaningful relationship with your brand.

Retailers, it’s time to start delivering top-tier SMS marketing to your customers

Remember that customers come in all shapes and sizes, these are some patterns and trends that we’ve noticed on a more generic scale. It’s worth investing in your own customer data and taking the time to measure the ROI of your SMS campaigns throughout the year to really nail the niche of your target audience. Set up some tests and try sending messages at different times or different days to see what works best for you.

If you’re looking for more content ideas and fresh ways to communicate with your customers, browse our 2024 marketing calendar or SMS template library.