Thursday, May 5, 2016

Texting has long replaced phone calls and email as the most efficient way to communicate, with more retailers taking full advantage of SMS services each year. People are practically tethered to their mobile devices in today’s world, and while many get annoyed by phone call solicitations, they don’t mind receiving the occasional text message.

The Latest Study

A new report by The Power of Chat Debrief from PSFK Labs took a look at how digital communication tools are being utilized by various brands. The study focused on SMS services specifically and how brands are using them to showcase their range of services. Completing transactions is one of the newest features retailers are working with, as consumers are now capable of purchasing flights, gifts, or just about anything else that’s for sale via chat windows and the pressing of the “Send” button.

Text-to-shop tools give customers the opportunity to make planned purchases as well as impulse buys directly from their phones.

Gaining Momentum

SMS-based shopping’s usability is garnering attention from both customers and the companies catering to them. Magic, for example, is a service that makes good on any request (okay, maybe not any) a consumer has through the sending of a text. Users text the service about rides to the airport, that Chinese food they’ve been craving, or a hot drink, and receive their orders within an hour. They don’t even have to open an app.

This text-savvy concierge has subsequently become the “middleman” to services such as Instacart and Uber, and provides necessary products and services without the hassle of using numerous apps at once.

Beyond Magic

Other examples of similar services include Fooji, which allows New Yorkers to tweet an emoji of the food they desire to said service. A single request saves the user’s information in the Fooji database, which the company then uses to create more customized menu options, among other helpful possibilities. Drunk Shopping is another service that allows intoxicated subscribers to enjoy “outside-of-the-box” product suggestions. When do such suggestions appear? Saturdays at 2 a.m. Users text “heyyyyy” to the service to start the shopping process.

Why Chat Is So Appealing

A 2015 study about American smartphone usage by the Pew Research Center linked the attractiveness of chat with how familiar users are with the concept. This isn’t exactly shocking news, nor is the fact that younger people are more adept at using chat services than their older counterparts.

Streamlined Payments

Brands putting SMS text message services to good use are streamlining the payment process while also providing more personalized service and customized menu selections. It’s a win-win-win.