Amazon is testing new waters in mobile marketing with its Text-Buy-It technology launched earlier this week. The new service allows customers to check prices from their cell-phone completely through text messaging – bypassing the need to access the mobile web (many people still don’t have web access or incur extra costs per web page viewed). Most if not all phones are text-ready and in general it’s not complicated to figure out.
Since Amazon undersells most brick-and-mortar retailers and is aggressively expanding its product line (including wines), physical stores could turn into local showrooms for Amazon’s inventory – only to help push customers towards an Amazon conversion.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Text a product name, search keyword, UPC code or ISBN number to “AMAZON” (262966)
Step 2: Amazon sends back a numbered list of products and prices matching your search
Step 3: If you find the item you want in stock and at a favorable price you can click the number beside the result to buy
Step 4: Amazon calls (not texts) you back with final details of your order
Step 5: You confirm or cancel your purchase, provide an email address and select a preferred shipping speed
While customers can’t access features that makes Amazon famous like customer reviews and cross-sell suggestions, this is likely going to be a very popular service that could really nail local retailers – the country is in a recession, businesses are already feeling the pinch and customers are more price sensitive.
No word on super-saver shipping options for multiple purchases or if purchases made within a certain time period can be combined.
We can thank Amazon for pioneering many innovations in ecommerce and now mobile commerce. This is certainly an exciting development for discount retailers like Overstock who could develop similar services. It could also work well for etailers that sell items carried by other retailers and can’t compete on price, but have earned loyal and passionate customers through rewards programs, great service or word-of-mouth (Zappos is a good example).