Order by text message, pay by credit card

Cellphone users now have the ability to purchase items immediately using text messages.  With the introduction of a system from New York-based ShopText, consumers no longer need to visit a store or go online to buy something they see in a magazine.

For example, a consumer who spots a must-have piece of clothing advertised in their favorite fashion publication can simply use the text code next to the item to place an order via cellphone.

Before using the system, the consumer must call ShopText to establish an account by providing a mailing address and credit card account information.  After the account has been set up, ShopText can then take customer orders, charge them to the shopper's credit card, and then have the product shipped, when necessary, from one of the firm's warehouses across the U.S. 

ShopText's founder and chief marketing officer explained that e-commerce only makes up a fraction of total retail sales, since it is limited by consumer access to an Internet connection.  He noted that cellphones can link products to media, enabling customers to make purchases with the cellphones they already have on hand.

Meanwhile, the ShopText system benefits marketers by allowing them to see which magazine generates the biggest sales volume, since every text code is unique to the publication that features it.

But text messages are not the only way to make purchases by cellphone.  MasterCard is testing mobile payment in New York with Nokia phones that can used to buy items via a radio technology called near-field communication at stores such as CVS and McDonald's.  Other marketers are trying out other systems like Bluetooth, G.P.S. and bar codes.

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Updated: 03-21-2019