November 26, 2014
Would You Buy A Car Over Text Messaging?
The ability to buy a car over texting is coming to a pocket near you.
You heard that right: you can now buy a car with a few clicks of a virtual button. The U.S. Census Bureau recently found that American consumers are open to using text to sell vehicles and communicate post-purchase.
More promising news: consumers are more interested in using text purchasing than they were last year.
So then, why is it so hard to open our minds to the idea of digital commerce? It’s not like we’ve already done it before…
Oh wait, we have.
The Internet mind shift
Twenty years ago, you would have thought it was crazy to buy something over the Internet.
Now, you can’t imagine life without it.
Hard as it is to believe, people didn’t have high hopes for the internet back when it was introduced. Critics derided the Internet as a passing thing, a flash in the pan that would soon fizzle out. Newsweek writer Clifford Stoll delivered this infamous Internet takedown:
“The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”
Similarly, the thought of buying things over the Internet was equally absurd. Other writers were mystified by the once out-there notion of e-commerce, or as they described it, “a tele-magical shopping experience.”
Much to the chagrin of Stoll and others, all of this came to pass. Today, you can buy anything from Ferraris to castles to private islands with the click of a button (and some credit card information). Most Americans make much smaller purchases, spending the bulk of their money on consumer electronics, books and clothing/apparel.
In addition, Americans spent over $260 billion in online transactions last year, and we’re on track to spend an additional $40 billion this year. Pretty incredible numbers for pundits who once pointed out that their “local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month.”
That’s because sites like Amazon can do business anywhere, anytime, and it turns out texting can too.
But just like the Internet, it’s taken a little while to get there.
From the desk to the device
Most Americans were just as ambivalent about text messaging as they were about the internet. Consumers were much more enamored with mobile voice than they were with mobile messaging.
However, when mobile phone providers started offering prepaid plans and the ability to communicate across networks, texting took off with the younger generation. Needless to say, it hasn’t really slowed down since.
Texting has evolved a lot from its early days. In addition to letting friends know you’re lol-ing at their latest joke, you can use texting to:
- Reset passwords
- Track an item’s delivery status
- Alert citizens about disasters
- Announce your presidential running mate to supporters
- Vote for your favorite singer
- Receive health tips during pregnancy
- Donate money to causes you care about
That’s just a start. Where texting is really starting to make strides is in mobile commerce. People are doing everything from buying cars to closing business deals over texting. In fact, African countries have been using SMS for banking for nearly a decade. The precedent for mobile commerce already exists, and if it’s anything like e-commerce, this kind of behavior is only going to increase.
Who’s to say we won’t be buying islands next?
Have you ever bought anything over text messaging? Leave us a note in the comments below. To learn more about text purchasing, visit onereach.com.
Photo by Pixabay user SplitShire.
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