The New York Times reports on a new system that allows people to “buy products instantly using text messages, a process that eliminates the need to go to a store or even visit a Web site. For instance, a woman seeing an ad for a pocketbook in a magazine can order it on the spot simply by sending the text code found beside the item through her cellphone… At the center of the technology is ShopText, a small company in New York that takes the orders, charges the consumer’s credit card and ships out the merchandise. To use the system, a consumer must first place a phone call to ShopText to set up an account, specifying a shipping address and card account. After that, all purchases can be made by thumb… When ShopText receives text messages about donations or products, it charges the credit card it has on file for the buyer, then, if appropriate, sends the product from one of its warehouses around the country.”
- KC's View:
This strikes us as a technology with enormous implications in terms of how to market to the younger generation of consumers, for whom text messaging is a natural and constant activity. Forrester Research says that while about a third of cellphone users use text messaging, more than three quarters of people between 18 and 24 use it…and that’s an enormous number of people.
We can imagine retailers offering text codes for virtually every product listed online or in print advertising, so that people looking for the quick, convenient buy will have that option. Food retailers looking to be a viable option to fast food joints could use the system to make its foodservice products more easily ordered, with either a pick-up or a delivery option.