Mobile online shopping the next 'next big thing'

The company today announced mobile phone users will now be able to purchase goods using their mobile phones and wireless application protocol (WAP) technology.

David Gold, dstore's CEO, said the store's current product line on its website will be available to mobile phone users, but some categories will be more suited to mobile commerce than others. Generic categories such as CDs and books are more likely to be purchased by mobile users. "Clearly people are not going to use their mobile phone to buy a fridge," Gold said.

According to Gold, the availability of WAP services will enable dstore to target customers with specialised marketing wherever they are. "I think we will see very high growth from WAP users because of the targetability it gives us," he said.

"This technology also gives consumers the ability to take advantage of special promotions. dstore can send text messages to concert-goers with a special promotion on Ricky Martin CDs immediately."

While the store offers fully encrypted mobile transactions, Gold said it will also offer consumers a number of non-mobile purchasing options. "It will be up to the consumer . . . it will take a bit of time" to adopt mobile commerce, he said.

Gold said consumers can set up their WAP account online and provide their credit card details through the website or they can phone, fax or mail their details.

Coinciding with the launch of the WAP service, dstore and Cable & Wireless Optus (CWO) announced they have signed a deal to provide WAP-powered online shopping services to Optus Networker subscribers. Optus Networker is CWO's WAP service for GSM subscribers, providing online information such as email, breaking news, stocks and movies.

According to a CWO spokeswoman, this is the first time the carrier will offer an online shopping service and mobile commerce capabilities. CWO is currently trialling a banking service with the National Australia Bank. In addition to providing GSM and digital security, CWO will provide appropriate security measures for online transactions when the services commence.

CWO users will be able to access dstore by next month. Telstra WAP subscribers automatically have access to dstore and other WAP sites.

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Luisa Bustos

PC World

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