December 29, 2008, 12:00 AM

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American Eagle Outfitters pays Pelago a monthly fee, and pays “far less,” the company says, per text message than the 10-20 cents wireless carriers typically charge mobile phone users without text message packages. Mobile experts say an individual text message in a mass text program typically costs between 2.5 cents and 5 cents. The retailer says shoppers use Send To Phone on a daily basis. It adds that return on investment for this program is difficult to track because the goal of the program is to drive mobile consumers into stores.

“The majority of people online are gathering information, and we wanted to make it easy for them to do something with it, to create an environment of sharing where people can have fun with mobile technology,” Grover says.

Whether it’s consumers making purchases or sending product information or retailers sending promotions, coupons or other marketing material, text messages have an edge over online buying and e-mail marketing because they enable convenience and speed for customers, who virtually always have their mobile phones with them, says David W. Geipel, co-founder and chief operating officer at QWASI.

“We’re seeing 10% to 20% response rates on mobile marketing campaigns, which dwarfs the response rates of e-mail marketing. There’s no spam filters on text messages, and there’s no overwhelming in-boxes, where people may not open an e-mail for days, or perhaps just delete it,” Geipel says. “Overall, text messaging gives you the most direct and personal relationship you can have with a customer. Text messages cut through the clutter and immediately deliver specific messages to customers anytime, anywhere.”

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