Merchant Innovation

Will Mobile Apps Give Way To Text Messages?

While it’s hard to deny the popularity of smartphone applications, many startups are staring to capitalize on the fact that some people are truly “apped out.”

As Bloomberg reported late last week, the mobile app fatigue some consumers are starting to feel has pushed emerging tech companies to think outside of the mobile app box when determining the best way to reach users.

Enter the traditional text message.

Rather than investing significant time and money into the development of a mobile app, Ethan Bloch, CEO of the digital savings tool Digit, told Bloomberg the service uses text messages to communicate with its user base.

[bctt tweet=”Consumers’ app fatigue may lead to an increase in companies reaching out through text messages.”]

Bloch believed people would appreciate forgoing the need to find and open an app each time they wanted to use the service, which encourages users to save by using software to analyze spending habits and automatically tuck away funds into a savings account.

“A lot of the benefit of Digit takes place in the background. You don’t need to do anything,” Bloch explained.

Another startup, Magic, is taking that convenience to new levels through its SMS-based service.

Magic allows consumers to order services, food and products simply by texting the service, making anything from booking flights to grocery shopping a breeze for couch potatoes and overworked multitaskers alike.

According to reports, Magic began as a weekend side project, though when it was promoted on Product Hunt, the service went viral, which experts largely attribute to the service’s text-only function. The startup’s cofounder, Mike Chen, said the company had already seen 17,000 text messages as of this March.

[bctt tweet=”Many new tech services are now reaching “apped out” users with text messages.”]

Whether it’s the simplicity of text messages or the intimacy that comes with feeling like you are talking to another human, more people may begin opting for text messaging-based services rather than dealing with yet another app.

Even Uber jumped on the text message bandwagon earlier this year with the launch of its TextBER service, which allows users to request a ride by simply sending a text message, rather than solely relying on a phone with app and Internet capabilities.

The beta service was developed by winners of the 48-hour “Hackathon for a Cause” event, sponsored by Uber and Coding Dojo, a fast-growing coding bootcamp.

To check out what else is HOT in the world of payments, click here.


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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. Check out the February 2019 PYMNTS Digital Fraud Tracker Report


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