Tap, Text, Transaction: The Products Thriving with Text-to-Buy Programs

Sam Schrup
April 12, 2023
January 11, 2024
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In an era where convenience and speed are paramount, the retail landscape is undergoing a significant transformation. At the forefront of this change is Text-to-Buy technology, a revolutionary method that streamlines the shopping experience. Enabling mobile transactions to be completed in a matter of seconds without ever clicking a link.

What is Text-to-Buy?

Text-to-buy is the ability to make a purchase directly in the text message thread without having to click on a link or completing a lengthy checkout process. The customer's credit card & shipping information is securely vaulted so the entire transaction can be authorized with a simple text message.

This innovative approach not only simplifies the buying process for consumers but also offers a seamless, frictionless shopping experience that is unparalleled in today's digital age. By integrating this technology to their existing marketing strategy, businesses can significantly enhance customer engagement, leading to increased loyalty and repeat purchases.

But what types of products are best suited for this cutting-edge approach? The merchants we work with that have the most success when their products fit the following criteria.

  • Consumable
  • Limited Customization
  • Easy Decision
  • Single Category

Let's explore each of these characteristics in more detail.

Consumables: The Perfect Match for Repeat Purchases

Text-to-Buy technology shines when applied to consumable goods. Items that consumers purchase regularly, such as coffee, wine, cosmetics, and health supplements, are ideal candidates.

The ease of reordering these products through a simple text message can significantly enhance customer loyalty and streamline repeat purchases. Imagine running low on your favorite single origin coffee and being able to restock with a quick text message—Text-to-Buy makes this convenience a reality.

Take coffee for instance. The habitual nature of coffee consumption means that a consumer, though they may have a preferred roast, is often open to exploring different brands and varieties within the coffee space. This openness presents a significant opportunity for coffee retailers and roasters to engage with their customer base multiple times throughout the year—or even within a single month—by offering a wide variety of coffee options.

Tinker Coffee Co

Tinker Coffee Co shows how effective a Text-to-Buy program can be with a consumable product. By featuring limited edition or small batch coffee roasts to their customers every two weeks Tinker not only keeps the offerings fresh and exciting but also taps into the consumer's desire to try new and unique coffee experiences. This strategy has proven to be highly effective, with the roastery experiencing a remarkable 8%+ conversion rate with their coffee drops by text.

The Simplicity of Limited Customization

Products that require minimal customization options are also well-suited for Text-to-Buy campaigns. When a purchase decision comes down to selecting a color or size, the simplicity of a text exchange is more than sufficient. This avoids the complexity and potential confusion that can arise from products with numerous customization options, which are better explored in a visual format. Text-to-Buy keeps the selection process straightforward, ensuring a smooth transaction for both the customer and the retailer.

Decision Fatigue

The concept of decision fatigue plays a crucial role in understanding why limited customization options are advantageous for Text-to-Buy. In a world inundated with choices, having too many options or customizations can be overwhelming for consumers. Faced with so many choices, the consumer might experience analysis paralysis and a higher likelihood of abandoning the purchase altogether. This phenomenon underscores one of the core strengths of text messages: their ability to facilitate instant responses and low friction in transactions.


Adopting a model similar to WineText, where a single bottle of wine is featured each day, can exemplify the seamless integration of minimal customization with Text-to-Buy technology. By spotlighting one specific wine—like a 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from a prominent winery—customers receive a straightforward, enticing offer directly to their phones. This approach not only simplifies the decision-making process by focusing on a single, curated selection but also capitalizes on the impulse-buying behavior by presenting a daily, limited-time offer. Such a strategy effectively demonstrates how products with little need for customization, like wine, can thrive in a Text-to-Buy campaign, fostering a unique and engaging shopping experience that encourages quick decision-making and enhances customer satisfaction.

Impulse Buys: Capitalizing on Instant Decisions

The impulse buy is another area where Text-to-Buy technology excels. Products that are typically bought on a whim, without the need for extensive research or consideration, can benefit greatly from this instant purchase method. Retailers can tap into the power of impulse buying by sending timely offers or limited-time deals via text, making it incredibly easy for customers to make an instant purchase decision.

Mattress Shopping

To draw a clear distinction, let's compare the purchasing behaviors required for high-intensity research products - like a mattress - versus "no-brainer" offers. Not only is a mattress usually a significant monetary investment, but it's also a purchase intended to last for many years. It's natural for consumers to engage in thorough research to ensure they're making the right choice. This buying behavior leans more towards browsing and deliberation rather than instant decision-making. Even presented with a fantastic deal on a mattress, most consumers are unlikely to commit to a purchase unless they have already completed their research. The nature of the product and the buying process simply doesn't lend itself to impulse buying.

"No Brainer" Offers

Products that work well for Text-to-Buy campaigns are those where the customer can immediately discern whether the offer is relevant to them. These are typically items with a lower cost of entry, less need for customization, and a clear appeal to a specific interest or need. For instance, a limited-time offer on a new flavor of a popular snack brand can trigger an instant purchase decision among fans of the brand. The decision-making process for these types of products is swift because the investment is minimal and the risk is low, making them ideal candidates for impulse buying.

This distinction highlights the effectiveness of Text-to-Buy for "no-brainer" offers, especially when merchants have cultivated a list of consumers who have already expressed interest in their product category.

Curating Collections for a Targeted Audience

Acting as a curator for a specific range of products or a particular category can significantly enhance the effectiveness of Text-to-Buy campaigns. Businesses that specialize in a niche market, such as specialty snacks or unique home goods, can cultivate a list of subscribers with a pre-existing interest in their offerings. This targeted approach ensures that Text-to-Buy messages are relevant and appealing to the recipient, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.

Specialty Store vs General Store

Consider the analogy of selling coffee. It's much more straightforward and effective to sell coffee to someone who frequents a coffee shop than to attempt the same with a random visitor to a general grocery store. The coffee shop visitor has already demonstrated an interest in coffee, making them a prime candidate for coffee-related offers. In contrast, while a grocery store shopper might be interested in coffee, they could just as likely be there for entirely unrelated items, making any coffee-related marketing to them less targeted and potentially less effective.

Product Verticals

This principle applies beautifully to the concept of curating collections for Text-to-Buy campaigns. By focusing on a clearly defined product range or category, businesses can ensure their messages reach an audience that is already inclined towards their offerings. For example, a business specializing in gourmet chocolates can target individuals known to appreciate fine foods and sweets, rather than casting a wide net over a diverse, less focused consumer base.

Such targeted marketing is akin to speaking directly to a room full of interested listeners rather than shouting into a crowded hall, hoping to catch the attention of the few who might be interested. The grocery store analogy underlines the importance of context in sales. Just as coffee shops provide the perfect context for selling coffee, a well-curated subscriber list provides the ideal context for Text-to-Buy campaigns, greatly enhancing their effectiveness.

Beyond Expectations: Surprising Successes

Text-to-Buy technology isn't just for the everyday items; it's breaking barriers and surprising us with its success across a spectrum of unexpected product categories. Needlepoint stitch canvases and disc golf equipment might not be the first things that come to mind when you think of text-based shopping, but they're turning heads with how well they're doing in the Text-to-Buy scene. These examples highlight the tech's versatility and its potential to shake things up in retail, no matter the niche.

Needlepoint Canvases

You might be surprised to learn that selling needlepoint canvases via Text-to-Buy has been a hit, and honestly, we were a bit skeptical at first too. The hobby typically attracts an older demographic, who we assumed might not be all that into texting for purchases. But here's where it gets interesting: they're actually loving the convenience that Text-to-Buy brings to the table.

Picture this: you're relaxing at home, deep into your needlepoint project, and suddenly, a text message showcases a stunning new canvas design. No need to power up the computer, wade through a website, and input payment info. Just a simple "yes" reply, and that gorgeous design is yours. This straightforward approach has proven to be incredibly appealing, especially to the older crowd. They value the hassle-free experience Text-to-Buy provides, perhaps even more than younger consumers do.

Disc Golf Equipment

The experience of needlepoint is worlds away from disc golf. It's a sport that's been gaining traction, and with its growing popularity, comes an audience ready to grab the latest gear. When disc golfers receive a text showcasing the newest disc with just the right features for that perfect throw, making a purchase is as easy as sending a quick reply. This convenience factor is pushing the boundaries of how sports enthusiasts shop for their gear. It's not just about the ease of purchase; it's about how quickly they can get back to playing the game they love with the best equipment in hand.

Both of these examples defy the initial skepticism around Text-to-Buy, proving that it's not just about what you're selling, but how you're selling it. From the tranquility of needlepoint to the active world of disc golf, Text-to-Buy is showing that it can reach and resonate with a wide range of audiences, including those we might not automatically consider as the typical texting shopper.

This success across varied demographics and interests underlines the adaptability of Text-to-Buy technology, offering a peek into a future where the retail experience is more inclusive, accessible, and tailored to each customer's preferences and lifestyle.

The Expanding Horizon of Text-to-Buy

As businesses continue to seek innovative ways to connect with customers and streamline the shopping experience, Text-to-Buy technology presents a promising avenue for growth. By focusing on products that fit the model—be it through regular consumption, limited customization needs, impulse buying potential, or niche curation—retailers can harness the power of instant transactions to enhance customer satisfaction and drive sales. As we look to the future, the possibilities for Text-to-Buy are boundless, promising a new era of convenience and immediacy in the retail landscape.

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