SMS Marketing Short Codes Are Banned: Everything You Need To Know

On the 1st of September of 2020, AT&T and T-Mobile released their Code of Conduct which relates to Commercial Messaging. The conduct outlines that they will no longer support shared short codes starting March 1st of 2021. The decision was made to avoid spam among consumers.

As per AT&T and T-Mobile's conduct, a Shared Code is defined when multiple Content Providers share the same application address given each Content Providers have capabilities to custom craft a unique content message.

Basically, Short Codes are 5-6 digit numbers that brands use to send high volume text messages to their customers. Also used as a growth tool for collecting text subscribers by sending opt-in promotions for a certain product or campaign.

A high percentage of brands were blasting their audience with texts using Short Codes provided by third-party SMS tools. The only pro of Short Codes was that it made more $ for providers. The cons however are various. Due to the possibility of multiple brands using the same short code number, there are many dangers associated with it such as confusing customers, low deliverability and increased chances of being blacklisted.

However, all of this is about to change for the good.

What does this mean for brands using SMS tools?

Brands that have been using shared Short Codes need to be migrated to dedicated phone numbers by March 31st if they want to continue leveraging SMS marketing. Most probably they will be experiencing obstacles, delays and additional costs.

You can still avoid it though. Merchants that have transitioned from shared short codes to dedicated phone numbers have seen at least 5X increase in engagement rates.

What does this mean for brands using Cartloop?


Brands using Cartloop are covered. Cartloop never used short codes and never will. We've always used dedicated local phone numbers, which are 10-digit standard length numbers typically used by conversational text messaging apps to create a 2-way communications channel between the online stores and their shoppers. Basically a dedicated contact point which you can use to communicate with your customers proactively. This also enables customers to reach out to you at any moment.

Among the benefits are: trust, familiarity, a single point of contact and consistent number for your shoppers to text at anytime.

If you want to dive deeper into this matter, check our recent article on The Difference Between Shared and Dedicated Phone Numbers.

So if you're a Cartloop merchant:

  • No need to worry about migrating your sending number
  • There will be no extra costs or changes
  • Your shoppers are receiving your texts from a single point of contact
  • Your shoppers are able to text that number back anytime for support or assistance

Learn how brands like ShineOn, The Essence Vault or Jazzupco are generating over 25X ROI by talking with customers in real-time and leveraging conversational SMS marketing.

At Cartloop, our focus is building true, meaningful relationships with your shoppers. That's why all our brands have dedicated phone numbers to increase familiarity to shoppers, allow them to reply, start a 2-way conversation, get instant support and satisfaction. That's our mission and thank you for being here for the ride! 🚀

Co-founder at Cartloop. Med School graduate turned to tech. 7 years of eCommerce experience. When she's not working on growing Cartloop, you'll probably find Lisa working out or preparing an avocado toast for a late brunch.

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