January 4, 2006, 12:00 AM

Unanchoring the big O

Overstock.com is expanding its wireless commerce program with an initiative it has dubbed Mobile O. Mobile O lets customers of Verizon Wireless, one of the nation’s biggest wireless service providers, browse and shop the entire Overstock.com inventory.

The Big O is becoming Mobile O. Overstock.com is expanding its wireless commerce program with an initiative it has dubbed Mobile O.

Mobile O, which is being designed, developed and deployed by mRocket Inc., a mobile commerce development company, lets customers of Verizon Wireless, one of the nation’s biggest wireless service providers, browse and shop the entire Overstock.com inventory. Mobile O is available to Verizon customers using the company’s Mobile Web 2.0 platform.

The wireless program expands Overstock’s push into mobile commerce. Prior to the launch of Mobile O, users of cell phones and other web-enabled handheld devices could receive daily special offers from Overstock.

“While Overstock.com Daily Deals delivers exclusive deals each day directly to subscribers’ wireless handsets, Mobile O opens up our entire web site to Mobile Web 2.0 customers in a format that is easy to view and use,” says Overstock president Patrick Byrne. “Whether shoppers go to Overstock.com or use one of our wireless commerce offerings to purchase products, they’ll know they’re saving time and money.”

Wireless customers who shop online at Overstock.com and complete a purchase will be doing so over a secure connection that encrypts all transactions with SSL technology, the company says.

Overstock launched Mobile O in November after testing the program in September. It is one of the first major online retailers to delve back into wireless commerce after some forays in the heady boom days came to naught. The technology has evolved since then, but m-commerce is still only just beginning. “Mobile O provides us with another sales channel since wireless commerce is only in its infancy and we believe in its potential,” says an Overstock spokesman. “More importantly, the major wireless carriers see wireless commerce as the next growth area.”

Overstock is promoting Mobile O through both online and conventional advertising programs. Verizon is also promoting the service on VerizonWireless.com and through its network of Mobile Web 2.0 users. “Verizon has moved shopping to the home page of its mobile web service web site,” the Overstock spokesman says.

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