April 4, 2002, 12:00 AM

The next frontier in order status: wireless

Some vendors are already devising systems that will allow customers to receive order status updates via cell phones or PDAs. "People don’t appreciate how simple the wireless function can be," says one vendor.


To most retailers and consumers today, e-mail notification of order status is just fine. But that requires the customer logging on to their e-mail, then opening the e-mail message to learn the status. That may not be fast enough in the future, say some customer service and fulfillment vendors. The next stage in the evolution of customer order status may be wireless text to cell phones or PDAs. "There is a definite movement toward this," says Mark Layton, CEO of Plano, TX-based PFSweb Inc. "Consumers will be able to specify how much and how frequently they want to be updated about orders."

There already is movement in that direction. UPS is expanding its wireless access to notification services so customers can get tracking information on PDAs and wireless devices. And Greenwich, CT-based NewRoads Inc. says its Customer Concierge technology that notifies customers about orders can be configured to support voice-response systems as well as text messaging. "People don’t appreciate how simple the wireless function can be," says David Himes, senior vice president of business process solutions. "All we have to do is reformat the message to make it shorter and people just need to know their text messaging address."


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