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A Workaround For Sending Texts To Shoppers Without Texting Plans?

Written by Evan Schuman
December 6th, 2012

Retailers have become—understandably—quite smitten with texting shoppers, given the immediacy and intimacy involved. This starts with capturing their mobile numbers, which has to be done very carefully or retailers will suffer the legal headaches that now bedevils Walmart and Papa Johns.

But there’s a huge downside with texting. Namely, many shoppers either do not have texting plans or they have very limited texting plans. That means those sale price heads-ups are costing your customers’ money and, most likely, alienating them to a massive degree. Although harvesting mobile numbers is relatively easy, identifying who has a generous texting plan is not. AT&T, in what the telco says is an industry first, on Wednesday (Dec. 5) unveiled a program for retailers to send marketing texts to shoppers without those shoppers racking up charges, whether or not they have a text plan. Shoppers must use AT&T and retailers—initial chains include Gap, Staples, Zales and Neiman Marcus—will have to work within the limits of AT&T’s program, suggesting that the texts may be able to flow as freely as a chain might want. But it’s an interesting workaround for the text customer charge issue.


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3 Comments | Read A Workaround For Sending Texts To Shoppers Without Texting Plans?

  1. Mark A Says:

    I must admit I had to do a double take on this and go to Google. I didn’t realise you had to pay to receive texts in the US! That used to be the case many years ago this side of the pond if it came form a different carrier but now only occurs if you are abroad.

  2. ed Says:

    SMS messaging is both expensive and antiquated. In addition, all carriers have different set of rules regarding their Premium SMS program.

    It is cheaper to build a mobile app with push notification on the iPhone, Android and Windows mobile platform than deal with the red tape and thousands of dollars for Premium SMS.

  3. Evan Schuman Says:

    Not everyone does have to pay to receive texts. It depends on the mobile plan that customer has purchased. Many different carriers have many different plans.

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