Text to Buy:  an Ecommerce Game-Changer

By Scarlett Payne  |  December 1, 2021


In October, Walmart began testing a Text to Shop feature that lets users add to carts and complete orders over text. SMS commerce isn’t new, but this is the first sign it could hit the mainstream.

What Is  Text to Buy?

Text to buy is selling products over text without external links or checkout. Buyers text what they want, and the order is placed through stored shipping and billing information.

Text to buy is new enough that exact terminology has yet to be established. It goes by a variety of names, including: - Text to buy - Text to order - Text to shop - Shop by text - Reply to buy - Text to get

The  Automated Approach

Some text-to-buy systems are automated. The ecommerce store texts occasional product offers, and the buyer replies with “yes” or the amount they want if they’re interested.

The Conversational Approach

Other stores use a conversation approach that is more natural. Users and the company may exchange more texts as the user can ask questions or initiate orders themselves.

Many already use text-to-buy successfully—some base their entire model on it. Examples include: - WineText (wine) - 11th Hour (food) - BeautyText (makeup) - FellowDrops (coffee) - Stefan’s Head (clothing)

Does It Work?

1. It shortens the customer journey. 2. It makes checkout a matter of a few texts (or less). 3. It makes impulsive buying easier. 4. Texting is personal by nature. 5. The buying process feels natural.

Why It Works

6. Texting is easier than making lists and shopping. 7. There’s no competition in a text thread. 8. Trying a new product is easier when it’s recommended than when you’re in a rush at the store.

More Reasons It Works

Should Your Business Use Text to Buy?

Brands that sell subscriptions, have natural reorder cycles, or have buyers who regularly frequent their store are an excellent fit for text to order.