What is Transactional Messaging: Definition & Guide

Natalya Ustymenko

Today, it is essential for a brand to maintain constant interaction with users. There are some messages that users not only want to read and see on the screen of their mobile phone but also look forward to. Remember those SMS messages that help you enter the mail when you forget your password. Or delivery confirmation of an important document. And a short message informing about the financial transaction. As well as a reminder of the appointment in your favorite beauty shop.

The transactional message is responsible for all this, which must be present in the marketing strategy in order to increase brand loyalty. All notification channels are worth considering and should not be excluded. But short messages and modal pushes are the fastest. Let's look at why it is so.

What is a Transactional Message?

A transactional message is an automated communication between a company and a customer. Usually, it contains text with essential and high-priority information for the user (two-step authentication, order confirmation, delivery details). Transactional communications are always sent individually and require the recipient's confirmation.

The advantage of text messages is that they are easy to read, given that people do not let go of their phones. Transactional SMS can interact with customers in any business function. For example

  • Vital messages. Send an SMS to confirm registration in the online store or a new account in the application. This is a kind of congratulations to new clients and assurance that you are ready to maintain a partnership. They facilitate the relationship between the business and the customer.
  • Confirmation of the order. People shopping online want instant order confirmations. Therefore, transactional SMS is the best choice to report it immediately.
  • Two-factor authentication. Increasing the level of security of personal data through SMS has become the standard for privacy protection programs. For example, Google Mail will notify you via a two-factor authentication message (2FA) when you sign out of another device. 

Of course, this is not the whole list of applications for transactional messages. It is worth considering the type, size, industry of business, and purpose of business communication. Depending on the requirements and goals, there may be several options for using short messages, but do not confuse informational text messages with promo.

Promotional vs. Transactional Messages: What’s the Difference

Let's see the difference between promotional and transactional SMS, so you can  better understand what they are and won’t  mix them up. Promotional messages are sent to attract users to sales, seasonal discounts, new product collections, etc. That is the alert for marketing purposes, not logistical ones.

Transactional messages may be called “important” messages as they are characterized by request confirmation, password reset, delivery update, and so on. Let's take a closer look at the types of messages customers want to receive on time:

  • OTP-in messages. Maximize the security of your platform through transactional SMS with One-Time Passwords. Through such messages, you can make an entrance, payment, and other personal actions required from the user.
  • Messages to keep informed. For example, a customer has ordered a product from you. You inform the client throughout the journey from order to delivery about what is happening: confirmation, packaging, delivery, invoice number, and the notification that goods have arrived at the address.
  • Booking confirmation/cancellation. SMS messages have proven to be a reminder of an event, a hotel reservation, a trip, and visiting various services (dentist, beauty, fitness). 

Consent Mechanism For Promotional And Transactional Messages

All notification channels require consent from the user. For push notifications, this is permission on iOS or Android devices. Promotional emails should comply with GDPR. In turn, consent for receiving promotional and transactional communications differs  from other channels. Technically, the user signs permission to receive text messages with the program through a mobile connection.

Benefits of Transactional Messaging

The main advantage of important communication is that it's fast (the text is read on average up to 90 seconds) and convenient (most people always have their phone at hand). Also, for businesses, transactional SMS are

  • Economical. Sending SMS to customers requires attention, experience, and effort from you. As we all know, “time is money,” and by wasting this valuable resource, you limit yourself in developing and improving customer communication. In turn, short messages are fully automated and require a minimum amount of time to set up. The low cost of relevant SMS in mass sending in relation to their profit covers the costs. Customers see better service and respect from the app owner.
  • Integrative. You can use the platform for integrating SMS into an application or CRM. Such a platform will help you create and automatically synchronize messages, assign triggers and receive analytics. It is also possible to add advanced features and plugins that suit your needs. This way, you can contact customers at any time, regardless of their location, and provide them with important information at the right time.

How to Use Transactional Messages in Your Mobile App

To attract more users to the app, companies are using multiple marketing channels along with text messages. So it is likely that those users who did not confirm receipt of the push will be able to see the promotion launch. And the in-app messages stimulate further purchase actions.

How to send a transactional message? You can do it with the help of the SMS API, which allows you to send informative texts to your target audience through simplified actions on the phone. What should be done? Integrate, assign an audience from your base, and set an event and possible reply. Then, set up a message and sender ID.

After the completed actions, the automated platform will send the client a unique transactional SMS. If this is an order, then it's a confirmation of the order, and if this is a service booking, then a booking confirmation. In this way, you simplify the interaction with the client, instantly responding to his needs through a secure communication channel.

How Do You Choose The Best Software

Ease of use. A good program should have a clear interface that is intuitive to use for setting up text messages.

Support. You should receive prompt support from the developers and a complete answer to your questions that arise while using the tool.

Functionality. Explore the features and functionality of SMS-sending software. Choose from those that can reach your target base globally, track delivery and engagement analytics, and email-to-SMS support.

Examples of Transactional Messages

SMS marketing has many impactful benefits, which is why large and small brands use this strategy to reach customers and profit in their business. Transactional SMS messages are relevant throughout the whole customer journey. Below, you’ll find common practices for using this notification channel.

  • Greeting. A company sends a message with gratitude that the user chose its services or products. In this SMS, the company can also tell the person where to start.
Transactional messaging example
  • Confirmations. When buying something online, people expect to get a confirmation that their orders are in progress.
  • Delivery updates. Buyers wish to know where their purchases are and how long they need to wait.
Transactional sms example
  • Authorization. Usually, users receive security codes on their phones to log in to their personal accounts.
Two-factor authentication
  • Reminders. SMS is a good way to reach out to clients to remind them about an upcoming appointment, meeting, payment, or something else.
  • Support. When a user contacts support, they should get a request number to check the status of the problem solution. Then, the company can use the SMS channel to ask for estimating the quality of its support service.
Transactional messages
Transactional communications

Some companies did not stop at traditional transactional communications – they created something new and succeeded. Let's look at a few leaders.

Ziavia Jewelry Brand 

A popular jewelry-selling company, uses the best methods of text marketing. A message confirming the consent to receive SMS from the company is accompanied by additional messages about the discount with a promotional code.

Opt-in messages from Ziavia

Dua Baby Store

The narrow customer niche of Dua Baby Store alerts customers about abandoned carts with a well-timed transactional message. In order-confirmation text messages, they also indicate the product's popularity  that they can buy and stimulate the purchase with an additional discount. 

Text message about an abandoned cart

Riot Swim Swimwear Brand

Order message notices from the Riot Swim brand are accompanied by a subtle question about the convenience of making a purchase and receiving a response from the consumer to improve customer experience. 

Promotional and transactional sms


Ready to launch transactional SMS in your company? As you can see, this type of short message is now a must for those looking to improve customer interactions and grow their business. 

An interactive communication channel increases user loyalty and confidence that they will not be let down. If you already have an idea but need a tool to implement SMS marketing in your business, contact Reteno, and we will help you set up transactional communication in the shortest time possible.

Vladyslav Pobyva


October 11, 2022

Alex Danchenko


October 28, 2022

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