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The Difference Between Shared and Dedicated Phone Numbers

As a brand, one of your continuous goals is standing out from the crowd.

SMS is cutting through the noise by creating direct communication with your audience. However, most brands use SMS just like they use email. While there's nothing wrong with that, SMS is an intimate channel that opens a whole new world of possibilities.

With today's technology, brands can now use SMS to chat with their customers just the way you'd do with a friend: through 1:1 messages.

Conversational SMS marketing is now an essential SMS feature that helps brands communicate in a more personal way.

How Conversational SMS Marketing Works

Conversational marketing has been around for some time. Brands are now looking to create closer connections with their audience.

But how does it apply to SMS?

Unlike marketing blasts which push out promotions and discount codes with no intention of offering personalized real value, conversational SMS focuses on engaging customers, and offering support, and getting real-time feedback. It’s an empathy-driven approach, which other mediums like email or push notifications can't offer.

This has a number of benefits, like reducing the number of support tickets, increasing customer retention, and converting more abandoned carts. With almost 70% of carts ending up abandoned, many brands face issues converting them to a final sale. With tools like Cartloop, your shoppers are guided through every step of their journey.

What are Shared Phone Numbers?

A Shared Number is actually a pool of numbers, and an algorithm decides from which number to send your SMS. If you're using an SMS provider that uses Shared Numbers, your customers will receive text messages from the same number they might be receiving text messages from other brands as well.

What are Dedicated Phone Numbers?

A Dedicated Number is a 10-digit standard length number typically used by conversational text messaging apps, like Cartloop, to create a 2-way communications channel between the online stores and their shoppers.

It's basically a dedicated contact point which you can communicate to your customers proactively. This enables customers to reach out to you at any moment.

Pros and Cons of Shared Phone Numbers

The only pro is it makes more $ for providers.

The cons however are various. Due to the possibility of multiple brands using the same number, there are many dangers associated with using a shared phone number:

  • Shared phone numbers are confusing. What if your customer has post-purchase questions?  Will they be left unanswered? Will they be redirected? Either way, it might come out as unprofessional and impersonal.
  • Shared numbers risk the chance of being blacklisted. If a brand isn't compliant or uses SMS in a wrong way, that shared number could be blacklisted by some or all of the major carriers, preventing brands that use that number from reaching their customers. If a brand relies on text messaging to keep its audience up-to-date with news, discounts, or even shipping and order confirmations, it can be extremely costly to not be able to reach them.
  • Shared numbers put your subscribers to risk. If one of your customers subscribes to text marketing to other brands that are using the same phone number as you are and they try to opt-out of just one of the brands (without using a dedicated keyword), the customer could be opted out of every brand’s list—including yours. The system will see the opt-out request coming from the customer’s phone number, but will not necessarily know which brand to associate it with.

Shared Numbers Hurt Your Brand And Customer Experience😓

  • Lower the shoppers' confidence in your brand
  • Confusing to the recipient
  • Don't offer shoppers the possibility to reach out to their brand at any time
  • Don't allow recipients to save your brand as a contact in the phone book
  • Expose your subscriber list to risk if one of them wants to opt-out to just one of the brands using the same shared number
  • Can't be used for post-purchase support
  • Increase your chances of being blacklisted by carriers

Examples of Shared Numbers

Dedicated Numbers Create a Better Experience😍

  • Built brand recognition and familiarity
  • Increase shoppers' confidence in your brand
  • Enable your shoppers to get post-purchase support
  • Enable shoppers to reach out to their brand at any time
  • A single point of contact and a consistent number for your shoppers to text
  • All interactions appear within the same chat instead of short code or random numbers
  • Enable recipients to save the name of your brand when they add it in their phone book
  • Simplify the shoppers' journey by allowing them to get product information, give you feedback, or simply get the latest status on their purchase – all via text

These are the reasons why dedicated numbers build strong relationships and create the ultimate customer experience.

Examples of Dedicated Numbers

Examples of brands using dedicated numbers

BionicGym is a fitness brand with high ticket products and is using conversational SMS to provide assistance and educate customers on the benefits of its products.

LEVO is using conversational text messaging to reduce the number of hesitant first-time customers that were having product-related questions.

Key Takeaways

Conversational SMS Marketing is an effective empathy channel available to brands right now. Customers demand real-time, empathic communications, and reject anything that seems impersonal. As a matter of fact, 84% of consumers consider customer service to be a key factor when deciding whether to purchase. So why don’t eCommerce brands pay more attention to their customers' experience?

Consumers' perspective has changed over the past 10 years. They want (and are actively looking) to support companies that are concerned about people just as much as they care about profits. This is why using a dedicated phone number when texting with your audience is key to building strong relationships, loyalty, and, of course, increasing revenue.

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 and start a 2-way conversation.

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Lisa Popovici

Co-founder at Cartloop. Med School graduate turned to tech. 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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