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I just received an email from nutritional supplement retailer Jigsaw Health, about a new program they offering their existing customer base.
After speaking to President and Co-Founder Patrick Sullivan Jr, I learned that 80% of their monthly revenue comes from returning customers (and they don't even offer an auto-ship program).
How? By setting up Google Voice so that repeat customers can place orders via text message. Let's take a look at how this works...
Patrick came up with an idea to make it simpler for these customers to re-order from him, knowing that most people don't spend all their time in front of a computer (unlike many of us internet industry folks). But customers often think about what they need to do online when they are offline, and almost everybody has their cell phone at thier hip at all times. An opportunity.
For example, if you wanted to re-order your three bottles of magnesium supplements, you would send a text message to the phone number they provided you and you would have in your address book (especially if you downloaded the VCF contact card file they provide you as well). The message would say something like "please send me three bottles of Magnesium w/SRT" and would include your email address.
This text message would be routed through Google Voice and sent to the customer service team at Jigsaw Health. One of the team would then enter the order into the order management system, and then log in to Google Voice to reply to the customer so confirm despatch and provide an order confirmation number.
If the customer chooses to dial the number instead of sending a text then that's no problem either. It will simply ring through to the customer service team where they'll take the order over the phone, using the past order details from the billing information. All this courtesy of Google Voice and a couple of hours to set it all up.
In fact, within a few hours of sending out the email, Jigsaw Health picked up several orders by text message.
This may not be the ideal for the largest of e-commerce operations, but certainly is viable for thousands of companies out there as one more tool in their arsenal.