Of Buying Cell Phones and Lipstick...
On Thanksgiving Day, Sam's Club stores in Texas and in Washington D.C. area have begun offering consumers an interesting service. If you come into a store, and a cell phone or a PDA you wish to purchase isn't available, the salesperson will get the phone FedEx-ed to your home overnight.
It might not sound like much, but this service, provided in partnership by online wireless retailer InPhonic, Sam's Club and Radio Shack, could go a long way in making cell phone buying -- which most people find to be long and torturous -- as easy as buying cosmetics. After all, I can already ask Nordstrom to mail me an out-of-stock lipstick or an eye shadow. Why can't retailers do the same with cell phones?
In fact, I would prefer for my mailed-in cell phone to be already activated, personalized and loaded with content I like by the time I open the FedEx package. That's actually where InPhonic is heading. It's just signed a deal with AOL to run AOL Mobile, so now InPhonic will pre-load content and AOL features like AIM onto cell phones (The AOL deal is separate from the Sam's Club one).
Now, if only the AOL and Sam's Club features could be put together!