A Q&A with Subports

Subports is a retail mechanism disguised as fun. They provides vendors with a text “shortcode”—you know, like the way they vote on reality TV shows—that customers who have enrolled their credit cards can use to purchase products via text message. But instead of rolling out in support of big box retail, Subports chose to work with artists, designers and record stores, and build stores (both virtual and pop-up) as sales points. We spoke to Subports honcho Will Robison.

Q. Are there some retail experiments you have in mind but can’t yet pull off?

A. I have a list of ideas the size of my leg. We have played with and discussed other fun under-utilized technologies like self-tinting glass for window displays, RFID readers, retinal and fingerprint scanners and bone conduction to enhance the retail experience. We do have some amazing experiments coming up in the new year. Real soon we will be giving away keys to an apartment in Williamsburg to all of our members. The apartment will act like a store and all items inside would be text-to-buy. Customers could also just use it to take a nap or watch TV or grab a rare Finnish cider from the fridge. Another one is retrofitting old vending machines that will be able to be used using text messages. These vending machines would dispense unique items such as jewelry, art, design and fashion accessories. We are building one for an undisclosed fashion designer for their store in the Hamptons and one to sell T-shirts at Roberta’s, the most amazing pizzeria in Bushwick. READ THE REST. (Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor, in this case American Express Open Forum; advertisers do not produce the content.)