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How to use SMS Delivery Notifications In Your Communications

SMS delivery notifications command a formidable engagement rate. We’ll show you how to best create and use SMS delivery notifications in your communications strategy using Parcel Perform’s Notification Centre.

Did you know the first SMS notification sent in December 1992 to a single phone contained only 2 words “Merry Christmas”?

The humble SMS delivery notification may look out of place next to its comparably newer counterparts like branded emails and webhook notifications, but don’t underestimate the medium.

Truth is, SMS delivery notifications command a formidable engagement rate:

  • SMS cuts through the noise: SMS messages have a whopping 98% open rate, 5 times that of email.
  • Exceptional response time: 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes and have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook.
  • Seen as less spammy: 75% of consumers are ОК with receiving SMS messages from brands (after opting in).

In this article, we’ll cover how to set up delivery notifications via SMS using Parcel Perform’s Notification Centre and how to get the most out of your post-purchase notifications.

Who is this update for?

  • Marketing managers or e-commerce managers looking for a high-performing communication channel for their brand and want to improve delivery notification engagement rates
  • Customer service managers who want to provide the best proactive customer service for their customers

How can SMS delivery notifications be used?

This form of communication drives tremendous engagement from your customers and is well-positioned to: 

  • Ensure delivery success: a well timed SMS when parcels are out for delivery reduces occurrences of failed delivery.
  • Communicate critical or time-sensitive information: Remind customers to pick up their parcels from self-collection locations
  • Drive customer action: Inform customers to update their delivery address
  • Engage customers after checkout and drive repeat sales: Efficient, opt-in only platform to disseminate marketing messages to your customers
  • Manage customer expectations on delivery dates: Communicate to the customer if there are changes to date of arrival.

What’s new in this update

  • Introducing SMS as an additional channel within our Notification Centre for customised, on-brand delivery notifications
  • SMS supports over 210 countries 
  • Standard templates for each delivery stage. Our field placeholders are also available for SMSes to ensure your messaging is as personalised and relevant as possible.
  • Preview functionality allows you to test the look and feel of an SMS before activation 
  • An updated reporting and analytics dashboard includes the ability to view engagement statistics across all channels

How to create a new SMS in our Notification Centre

If you’re familiar with the Notifications Centre, you would find no surprises here, it follows a very similar configuration process to your Email or Webhook notifications. We’ll go through what the key differences with the SMS configuration are.

Step 1: Click on Add Notification from the Dashboard to configure your new SMS notification!

Step 2: Give your new notification a name for easy reference and apply it to the delivery trigger.

Step 3: Configure your sent-from name (max 11 characters). This includes letters from the GSM-7 character set, numerical digits and spaces.

Step 4: Similar to Email or Webhook notifications, you can apply the configured SMS notification to a specific carrier, tracking experience or tag.

Step 5: Notify your customer by selecting Parcel Recipient, or update your team via the “Notify Others” option 

Once you’ve finished configuring the SMS, hit Next to configure the content of your SMS.

Get started with sending SMS delivery notifications with our optimized Parcel Perform text templates for each delivery event trigger! Either use these to start in minutes or as a starting point for further customisation.

Points to note while configuring the body text of your SMS delivery notification.

  • Field Placeholders automatically picks out the relevant information from the data you’ve provided us with to personalise the content of your SMS notifications – make use of them! 
  • There are two types of character encoding – GSM7 and UNICODE. This impacts the maximum number of characters for a single SMS. 
  • Maximum length for a single SMS for GSM7 is 160 characters and 70 characters for UNICODE. SMSes longer than these limits will be sent in parts. We have a character count on the bottom right, but note the final character count will differ due to text lengths when field placeholders are used. 
  • You can choose to send SMSes using GSM-7 characters only. With this option checked, all UNICODE characters will be replaced with a “?” symbol.
  • An SMS allows up to 160 characters from the GSM-7 character set which includes all Latin characters A-Z, digits 0-9, plus a few special characters. Unicode handles any known character but also takes up more SMS space than GSM’s 7-bit binary code.
  • Special characters may not render correctly because of telco restrictions in certain destination countries. We recommend previewing SMSes before activating and keeping to commonly used characters while crafting your message.
  • You must have pre-approved sender IDs and SMS templates to send SMSes in certain countries. Reach out to us if you need help with setting this up 

Step 6: We recommend previewing your SMS before activating your campaign! Input a phone number with the country code to send a test version of your SMS to you and your colleagues – note that charges apply to SMS previews.

Once you’re done, Activate your campaign when you’re ready to go or Save it to continue editing another time.

Ready to launch your SMS delivery notifications campaign? Follow this checklist first

  1. Does your parcel data uploaded to the Parcel Perform platform include the destination number and country code?
  2. Have you decided which character set (GSM7 or UNICODE) to use? 
  3. Have you checked your SMS body length while factoring the differences from any field placeholders present? 
  4. Do your special characters (if any) preview correctly in your SMS? 

How to measure the performance of your notifications within the Notification Centre.

We’ve enhanced the Notification Centre dashboard to reflect our new SMS functionalities!

  1. Top left – Total notifications sent (Last 14 days): Total number of notifications sent from your Parcel Perform account, across all channels. Note: the count for Sent notifications includes notifications that bounced.
  2. Top right – Engagement metrics for your email and SMS notifications, respectively
  3. Bottom: All configured notifications in your Parcel Perform account.

You can measure the general performance of your SMS delivery notifications from the Notification dashboard:

Clicked: Number of people who clicked on a link within your SMS

Bounced: Percentage of SMS messages that were not delivered successfully to the recipient

Unsubscribed: Percentage of recipients that opted-out of your post-purchase communications.

If you’re looking for more detailed insights, users of our Logistics Intelligence feature can access comparison charts for more granular or broader analysis of your notifications performance. 

Some of the advanced reports available within Logistics Intelligence:

  • Clicks/bounced/unsubscribed over time 
  • Breakdown of unsubscribes and undelivered notifications
  • View and compare performance across channels, triggers and individual notifications
  • Destination countries for SMSes sent 

Interested? Speak with your account manager or contact us for more information on our Logistics Intelligence capabilities. 

Frequently asked questions

At any point if you’re unsure how to proceed, reach out to our customer success team or your account manager for help. 

How much does an SMS delivery notification cost?

SMS notifications are priced individually. Contact your account manager or customer success team if you’ll like to understand the prices for your country. Note that there will be no charges for any undelivered SMSes.

Which countries do I need to register a Sender ID for?

Refer to this article for more info

I want to send an SMS to one country listed above. How do I register for a Sender ID?

We need these depending on local government regulations. Not to worry, we’ll take care of the administrative details for you! Speak to our customer support team or account manager and we’ll help you process the documents.

My SMS delivery notifications seem to have a high bounce rate or are undelivered. How do I resolve this?

First, check if your recipient falls within the countries that require a Sender ID registration. If yes, have you registered for the Sender ID? 

Second, check to see if the recipient phone number is valid and entered correctly (with country code and area code). 

If you also have our Logistics Intelligence add-on, you’ll be able to view detailed engagement stats in the module if you want to diagnose the root of the problem. 

Look at these reports to help you analyse the issue and come to a solution: 

  • Invalid_Phone_Number Tag to filter for failed SMSes due to an invalid destination number in Parcel Overview
  • Sender ID – Bounced SMS Report: View by Destination Country
  • Bounced SMS Report: view a breakdown of all bounced SMSes

Get started on your SMS campaign with these ideas

  • Luxury item retailers take note here. Naturally, the higher value the item, the more your customers will expect prompt, accurate notifications on the status of their order. Use SMS notifications to track the movement of your deliveries and send active updates to your customers.
  • Giving your customers the opportunity to respond via call-back or request to be called by customer service also opens a two-way, transparent conversation with your customers to resolve urgent queries nearer the time of delivery.
  • The same applies for furniture or sellers of bulky items. Often customers will need to be at home to receive the item and wait for the item handlers to reach their destination. SMS notifications are fantastic to cut through the noise and get immediate attention from your customers nearer the delivery. It might be a good idea to send a notification the day before delivery date to confirm the timing of arrival.

Harness the power of SMS delivery notifications for your e-commerce business

SMS is a powerful channel to transform your post-purchase customer experience from good to great. Tap on this powerful engagement channel to delight your customers at high-priority contact points,

To recap: where SMS notifications are valuable.

  • Safeguard delivery success – remind customers to be at home to receive a delivery
  • Manage customer expectations before delivery
  • Communicate important information like reminders to collect their parcels from self-collection points 
  • Ensure customer information is updated promptly when needed

We look forward to seeing more uses of SMS notifications from you! Got a cool idea or use case? Let us know on our LinkedIn chat. 

Add this engagement channel to your post-purchase communications today! SMS Notifications are now available to all Notification Centre users. Any ideas, questions or feedback? Connect with us on LinkedIn or speak to your account managers for more details.