Wedded Channels: Email And Text Have Strengths, But Work Best In Tandem

It’s time to get over those squabbles about which channel is better -- email or SMS. Both have their jobs to do, and they work best together. 

Consumers who subscribe to both email and SMS have a 30% higher customer lifetime value than those who sign up for just one, according to the 2023 Listrak Cross-Channel Benchmark Report.  

But the metrics depend on the purpose of the message. 

In general, texts show better clickthrough rates, but email has higher conversions. Here are the specifics: 


Transactional emails generate a 12.8% click-through rate, and cart abandonment emails are next with 5.4%.  

Texts achieve their highest click-through rates with price-drop alerts: 21.5%. Back-in-stock notifications achieve 19.6% and transactional receives 13.7%. 


Replenishment emails draw a 25.1% conversion rate and shopping cart abandonment messages pull 21.4%. Welcome series receive 14.2%. 



On the text-messaging side, welcome series score a 14.3% conversion.

Revenue Per Send

Shopping cart abandonment emails average pulling $2.16. Second is Back in Stock Alerts, at $1.06.  

In contrast, SMS back in stock alerts realize $2.20 per send, $1.95 for welcome series and $1.63 for shopping-cart abandonment.   

The study notes that transactional emails are ‘a standout in revenue per send metrics. Retailers can capitalize on the excitement customers feel about their recent purchases by cross-selling and upselling in these messages.” 

This study seems slightly skewed toward SMS. For example, it notes that retailers sent 75% more texts during the 2022 holiday season YoY. And it notes that “the average time from opt-in to opt-out on SMS campaigns was significantly longer than the opt-in to opt-out time on the email side.” 

Brands should use a unified platform for both, so that the channels can share data and communicate with customers in the channel they prefer, the study contends.

Listrak examined campaign performance across its client base of more than 1,000 retailers, analyzing  approximately 112 billion email and SMS/MMS messages from January 1 through December 31, 2022.

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