Amazon "Simple" TextBuyIt Text-Message Shopping Sounds Complicated

Illustration for article titled Amazon Simple TextBuyIt Text-Message Shopping Sounds Complicated

Amazon.com says its TextBuyIt system for buying merch via text message is "incredibly simple and convenient" but it actually entails a few steps. Weirder still, Amazon says the process happens "using only text messages," which is just blatantly untrue. Here's the rundown of the process—which in its defense can be used on any mobile phone, but frankly seems harder than just waiting until you get home:

Step 1 - Send a text to "AMAZON" (262966) with the product name, search term, UPC code or ISBN code

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Step 2 - Amazon texts back with a numbered list of products that match your search, along with prices

Step 3 - You click on the number beside the item you want—assuming it's even in the 10 search results

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Step 4 - You get a CALL from Amazon "with the final details of their order and asking them to confirm or cancel the purchase"

Step 5 - If it is your first order through TextBuyIt, you will have to provide an e-mail address and preferred shipping speed, presumably during the call

Amazon doesn't mention what you do if you have to order more than one item, but it would be incredibly annoying if you can't combine $25 worth of purchases for free shipping. Clearly, this is more of a statement about the lack of good HTML browsing in cellphones, not to mention how much of a workaround that has to happen for retailers not to bill through carriers, like they do in other countries.

I love Amazon—just dropped nearly $100 there on "sundries"—but my prediction is, the only people who will be using this are people who download WMA files on their cellphones for $2 a piece plus data charges. What's your take? [Amazon TextBuyIt]

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DISCUSSION

Corporations are occasionally making themselves look silly trying to find a way to be hip to the Millennials out there. I have sat in a number of meetings where old guys sit there tossing out buzz words like 'Pod Cast', 'Instant Messaging', and 'Blogs' in some strange attempt to come up with a strategy that is going to make the younger generation want to do business with them.

Apparently in the Amazon Board meeting, the magical idea was text messaging book orders. Genius.