If you picked up your phone right now, how many unread emails would you have or how many apps are downloaded that you haven't opened in months? If you are like me, then you probably have a lot, but now look and see how many unread text messages you have...most likely none.
Kate Myers and Kelly O'Malley saw this trend happening in their everyday lives and came up with a business plan that doesn't sell through email, you don't have to get online to shop, and you don't have to open an app, all you have to do is open a text message and reply "yes" to buy a product.
"Shop Or Not is a weekly text that you can shop. We text you one new item, once a week and subscribers just reply 'Yes' to buy it. That's it, super simple," said co-owner of Shop Or Not, Kelly O'Malley. "We partner with local, small batch makers all over the U.S. to text you something you've never seen before, personal to your area code and subscribers can text back questions and chat with us."
I sat down with O'Malley to talk Shop Or Not and see what local treats I can expect to get when I sign up for Shop Or Not.
What do you think Shop or Not will bring to the D.C. area?
We think what we bring is twofold, first we've onboarded a number of D.C. businesses that lack national distribution and are getting them out to our subscribers in all 50 states, which is great for the brands to have pockets of fans outside of the market where they are based. Second, we bring micro brands from all over the U.S. to subscribers in D.C. (think coffee from Montana, hot sauce from Denver, and candy from Portland, Oregon).
Can you tell us some of the D.C. businesses that have signed on to sell with Shop Or Not?
Our first product vertical is food and from the DMV area, we've featured products from Shrub District fruit vinegars, Chups Ketchup, and Potomac Chocolate. We have also partnered with Dorpare Ginger Tea, Commonwealth Coffee and Dough Run Granola as well. We're in early talks with many local fashion and beauty companies - we'll be launching new verticals in the coming months including fashion for both men and women, grooming for both men and women, and coffee. Currently, we have over 100+ partners from nearly all 50 states and all of these fall under the overall brand ethos of made in America by incredible indie makers.
Why do a text service instead of an app or email subscription?
SMS cuts through the noise, with an over 90 percent open rate. You only get texts from someone you know, who you have a relationship with. Our whole thing is, your friend saw something you’d love and texted you a pic of it - we’re that friend.
What do you see for the future of Shop Or Not?
We'll be rolling out more verticals starting in May. You'll be able to opt in via our website or text for as many as you'd like. Later in 2017, we'll also be rolling out a Late Night vertical, where we'll text you weird things at midnight on Saturday night.
What do you want people to know about Shop Or Not?
We don’t bug you - we only text you once a week. Because it’s a conversation, we get to know you really well after a while. You can always ask us questions about the products we text you, and we’ll ask you some questions too. The better we know you, the more awesome things we can text you about, and you’ll love the stuff we find for you. We’re super committed to customer service so if you have any specific questions, there will always be a real human on the other end to text you back.
Tell us how we can sign up:
To sign up, just add your phone number through our website, toshopornot.com or text HELLO to 347-482-0881.