FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Shopping by Text Messaging

Spawned by the ability to link a PayPal or credit card account to an SMS-capable cell phone, several US startups are helping to promote text-to-buy shopping.

New Yorkers can use Mobo to order food from take-out chains across the city simply by sending a text message containing a "fave" (saved order from a favorite restaurant via your phone or the Mobo website); Mobo texts you back when your order is ready, and automatically bills your credit card.

LiveBuyIt is a similar concept, though many other types of products are available. Produced in partnership with Lucky magazine, LiveBuyIt makes available everything from clothes to jewelry to cars (!), though as of this writing only a few items are available.

Both systems require a fair amount of technical savvy, so they're not for everyone. Both appear to target young, affluent buyers who may be most comfortable making purchases (large ones in particular) via text messaging. Of the two, Mobo would seem to hold the most promise, helping make a task that all of us do everyday (get a meal) as quick, easy and inexpensive as possible.

RELATED: A somewhat different use of shopping via cell phone is being forged by Quickpons and Cellfire, two services that allow shoppers to download store coupons to their cell phones. Quickpons is SMS-based, whereas Cellfire requires a software download that is only compatible with Cingular phones.

UPDATE (8/3/06): The production version of LiveBuyIt is now live.

Source: Trendcentral