We gave Amazon’s (AMZN) new “TextBuyIt” shop-via-text message service a whirl. It worked! Cool trick? Absolutely. Would we use it to buy stuff again? Probably not.
How does it work? First, we visited Amazon’s site using our computer to set up our mobile profile, some security settings, and the default shipping and billing info we’d like to use for text-message shopping. Amazon sent a message to our phone with a security code, which we had to type into their Web site. Easy enough.
A few minutes later, we were ready to shop. We decided we wanted to help our boss earn out his advance by purchasing a copy of his manifesto, “The Wall Street Self-defence Manual: A Consumer’s Guide to Intelligent Investing.”
- We sent Amazon (SMS short code 262966) a text message saying “blodget”
- It sent us back a list of TextBuyIt commands for future reference
- It sent us back a list of two products: “The Wall Street…-BOOK $10.36” and “The Blodget Name in History-BOOK $29.95”
- We wanted to make sure the first selection was actually Henry’s book, so we sent Amazon a text saying “1d,” or “details for item 1.”
- It sent us back a text message “Reply w/1 to buy. The Wall Street Self-defence Manual: A Consumer’s Guide to Intelligent Investing, (Henry Blodget), BOOK”
- And a second text message “Reply w/1 to buy, Paperback, Release Date: Jan 1, 2007, Prime Shipping, In Stock, 4.3 stars, $10.36, Web: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0977743322”
- We decided to buy the book. We sent Amazon a text message saying “1” to buy.
- Amazon called us to confirm the order. We enter our PIN, and we’re good to go.
- Amazon responded: “Your purchase of The Wall Street… for $10.36 has been confirmed. Please go to your account at www.amazon.com to view details.”
So, was it worth it? It’s nice to know that Amazon’s catalogue — like Google’s (GOOG) search engine — is only a text message away if we need it. TextBuyIt could easily come in handy if you’re at Barnes & Noble and want to compare book prices.
But we don’t see ourselves using the service to buy anything again. Ordering from Amazon at a computer is a lot easier, and using the text message service didn’t speed our order up at all — unless you’re not going to be at the computer for eight hours, two-day shipping is two-day shipping.
(Caveat: Keep in mind those text messages aren’t necessarily free. If we didn’t have a text messaging plan with our wireless carrier, those 13 messages would have cost $2.60 — 1/4 the amount of the book.)
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