When Are You Adding SMS To Your eCommerce Strategy?

Amazon did. I haven’t made a purchase yet (I tried) but I started looking at the service tonight by Texting 245BW to 262966.

Within seconds I received a Helper Text response with the Commands I could use when responding to the system.

  • 1: Buy Item 1
  • 2: Buy Item 2
  • 1d: Item 1 Details
  • 2d: Item 2 Details
  • m: More results
  • h: Help

That message was immediately followed up with some results to my query in another Text.

  1. Samsung SyncMaster 245BW 24″ LCD Monitor $489.99
  2. Samsung SyncMaster 226BW 22″ LCD Monitor $369.99

The second result is interesting because it’s not really what I was after. I supplied a specific manufacturer model number. The SMS results are actually the top 2 that a consumer would see in the browser based store.

Then came two more Text messages.

  1. Reply w/1 to buy the Samsung SyncMaster 245BW 24″ LCD Monitor, PC, Electronics, Free Super Saver Shipping, In Stock, 4.2 stars.
  2. Reply w/1 to buy, $499.99, web: http://amazon.com/dp/B000P6MOG2

This is where it got interesting; the Text offer appears to decay within an hour. I received message 1 at 8:56PM. I broke away and responded with 1 to buy at 9:42PM which resulted in weird search results for “1”.

The Amazon SMS System treated my purchase attempt as a new search. I can understand that these things have to eventually time-out but I think Amazon missed an opportunity to re-text me just prior to the complete decay of the original session.

So, is SMS Commerce in your plans? I’m not convinced that it’s right for every etailer. Especially for those stores that carry sophisticated product sets requiring lots of configuration, that’s just really hard to pull of via SMS. Can you imagine trying to configure a new PC purchase from Dell via SMS? Doesn’t sound too enticing huh?

Zero or low attribute products though should be really straightforward. Books, CD’s, Flashlights, Tickets etc… Things that don’t require lots of option selections.

I think there’s some opportunity for SMS Commerce especially if you have something impulse offered just at the right time. The Internet Retailer article touched on this using the example of offering a CD just after leaving a Concert for that artist. Perfect timing right? Nailing the timing like this can really have a tremendous impact on conversion. What the Internet Retailer article doesn’t tell you though is how do you get the consumers to opt in? By running an SMS campaign on the Jumbo Screen during the Concert. I know Blumo delivers Jumbo screen Text campaigns for arena events, not sure about post concert offers though. I’ve got an email into them to find out.

What kind of products would you purchase via SMS?