Sometimes it seems hard to figure out whether younger consumers enjoy shopping more than using their cellphones, or vice versa. Soon, readers of a Condé Nast magazine will be invited to do both at once.
The magazine, Lucky, will offer readers of its September issue a chance to send text messages from their mobile phones to buy merchandise from 18 marketers and retailers, which include Avon, Liz Claiborne, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Target and Unilever. The program, called « Live Buy It, » uses a service from the PayPal unit of eBay known as PayPal Mobile Text2Buy.
Consumers who prefer a PC screen to a cellphone screen will be able to order the merchandise, ranging from cosmetics to clothing, from a Web site (livebuyit.com).
The promotion is being introduced to Lucky readers with ads in the July and August issues of the magazine. The July ad explains how Text2Buy works and the August ad offers a way to try the service, by buying a CD from Lucky for $5.99, « The Lucky Mix: The Soundtrack to Shopping. »
The « Live Buy It » program is another sign of how ardently mainstream advertisers and media companies are pursuing the concept of mobile marketing. Spending in the United States on marketing via cellphones, estimated at less than $50 million last year, could climb as high as $1.5 billion by 2010, according to a report from RBC Capital Markets, a unit of the Royal Bank of Canada.
Among the blue-chip names making forays into the field are the Carlson Companies, for Carlson Travel and T.G.I. Friday’s; the Coca-Cola Company, for Dasani water; the Procter & Gamble Company, for Crest toothpaste; and the Time Inc. unit of Time Warner, for People and Teen People magazines.
• »We have been looking into mobile marketing; it’s hard not to, » said Allison Slater, vice president for retail marketing at Sephora in New York, a beauty products unit of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
« I do think it’s the next way of shopping, not that people will stop shopping online, » Ms. Slater said.