PC World is launching a "text and collect" service using SMS technology to allow customers to check product availability and make reservations on the go.
The text option adds to the electrical retailer’s existing in-store, online and telephone shopping facilities and is designed to offer customers another way to buy.
Phil Walker, PC World multi-channel director, said that with more than three-quarters of the UK population owning a mobile phone, and more than 23bn texts sent last year, the SMS facility would open a new and growing sales channel.
"The technology allows us to offer our customers an even greater choice and even more flexibility when shopping,” said Walker.
Customers text "collect" plus a postcode and a product number to check the availability of a product in up to three of their closest stores. The system responds with availability, allowing the customer to text "reserve" back to the retailer to hold the product, sending the customer a reservation number.
The implementation of the SmartAgent eSMS technology from Numéro was conducted by business change consultancy Advocus and gained positive customer feedback during trials. It allows PC World to quickly add new product lines or delete old ones from the system, as well as extend it to new stores as they open.
The technology integrates with the existing web services created for PC World’s e-commerce site, using the same process to look up the customer's nearest store or check stock availability as is used for its online application programming interfaces (APIs) linking into back-end store and stock databases.
PC World was able to complete implementation within four weeks by re-using this existing technology infrastructure and in-house customisations.
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