US e-retailer Amazon has launched TextBuyIt, a new service that enables customers to use text messaging to find products and make purchases using their mobile phones.
To find a product, US customers send a text message to the retailer citing the name of the item or a UPC or ISBN code. Amazon says it then replies within seconds with details and prices of products matching the search query.
If they decide to make a purchase customers enter a unique single digit number next to the item they want before receiving a phone call to confirm or cancel the order.
The first time a customer uses the service they are asked for their e-mail address and shipping postal code for their Amazon account. The firm uses this information to find default settings for payment method, shipping address and shipping speed.
Amazon's mobile Web site already enables customers to use its 1-Click, prime, reviews, wish lists, search and stored payment and shipping options through the browser on their phone. The company has also introduced a customised version for the iPhone.
Howard Gefen, director of Amazon Mobile Payments, says the new service enables customers with any mobile device to buy products from the site "at anytime, anywhere they are".
"If you're walking out of a concert and want to buy a CD from the artist you just saw, or if you're at dinner and a friend tells you about a great book you should read, all you have to do is get out your mobile device, send a text message to Amazon, reply to the response, confirm your order, and your item will be on its way. It's incredibly simple and convenient," he says.