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DRTV marketers drive mobile sales via text-to-buy

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September 18, 2012

TV viewers can text to purchase infomercial items

Direct response TV marketers are starting to include a text-to-buy option on short- and long-form infomercials as a way to drive sales.

Sootherz and NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop are among the first DRTV brands to take advantage of new text-to-buy platform Paywhale. The solution makes it easy for TV viewers to purchase the products they see on screen by texting a keyword to a short code.

“It is a natural that marketers deploy text to purchase options in light of the ubiquity and frequent use of the mobile device,” Tony Besasie, president of direct response media agency Cannella Response Television.

“The primary goal of any marketer is first and foremost to generate transactions,” he said. “Mobile provides them with another tool to make that happen.”

Mobile ordering
Cannella has entered into a strategic partnership with Pittsburgh, PA-based Songwhale – which offers the Paywhale platform – to provide text-to-buy services to its DRTV clients.

The first deployment of Songwhale’s text-to-buy Paywhale platform can be seen in a short-form spot for Sootherz and a long-form campaign for the NuWave Precision Induction Cooktop. 

In the short-form infomercial for Sootherz, a natural relief tablet for heartburn, the screen includes copy encouraging viewers to text “Relief” to a short code to order in addition to the traditional “Call Now” call to action.

The Paywhale program also enables marketers to text customers for additional sales opportunities.  

“Between 20 percent and 40 percent of all orders from a show are emanating from a cell user, thus text ordering provides this large group of consumers an additional ordering option, thereby increasing conversion rates,” said Chris Rebholz, president of DRTV fulfillment company Christopher Morgan Fulfillment.

“Marketers’ goals with respect to any ordering method are simple: the more options you provide a potential client to quickly and conveniently act on a marketing offer, the better response and higher revenue you achieve,” he said.

Another benefit of text-to-order for DRTV marketers includes making it easy for those who place an order to forward their purchase experience to a friend, per Mr. Rebholz. Additionally, consumers tend to keep their mobile phone numbers for longer periods of time than a physical address, meaning marketers can reach out to text-to-order purchasers over a long period of time.

Second-screen opportunities
Paywhale is free to use for consumers.

DRTV viewers who have already signed up for a Paywhale text-to-buy account simply text the DRTV spot’s key word to a short code to place an order.

DRTV viewers who have not already signed up for the Paywhale text-to-buy account can also order by text. Their texts lead to a mobile Web site where they can place the order and be entered into Paywhale’s database for future purchases.

Viewers can also sign up online on DRTV marketers’ ecommerce Web sites

Many consumers are already engaging with their mobile devices while they are watching TV, so providing a mobile call-to-action on the screen makes sense for DRTV marketers.

Additionally, by offering a text-based solution, this insures marketers reach the widest possible mobile audience since all mobile phones have this capability.

“DRTV is based on a direct action by the consumer,” said Wendi Cooper, president of DRTV production house C Spot Run Productions. “More and more people now sit and watch TV with their mobile phone.

“Texting is easier, accessible, quick, and easy,” she said. “Most of all it’s not IVR (interactive voice recognition), live obnoxious agents or the battle to rank on search or losing the consumer to competitors online.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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