New form of impulse: Shopping via text message!

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Written on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 by Gemini

Impulse shoppers, watch out. Your cellphone might soon get you into trouble.

A company called ShopText has introduced a system that lets people buy products instantly using text messages, a process that eliminates the need to go to a store or even visit a website. 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.

Consumers can already use text messages to buy some products. Ads for the new CD by singer Tim McGraw carry a texting code, as do magazine writeups for the new Harry Potter novel coming this summer. Some concert halls are selling tickets by text message, and some charities are taking donations that way. CosmoGirl magazine will feature text-message codes throughout its June/July issue, both in the advertising and editorial pages.

At the centre 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.

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