June 8, 2006, 12:00 AM

Impulse e-commerce: Anytime, anywhere, sans computer

Multi-channel American Greetings is pioneering mobile technology that enables shoppers to make purchases from mobile phones, AG SVP Bryan Biniak told the Internet Retailer 2006 Conference this week.

 

Because of the ubiquity of mobile phones and a massive cultural shift from formal to impulse communication, there is a growing market for electronic commerce via wireless phones and other handheld devices, Bryan Biniak, senior vice president of the AG Interactive Division of American Greetings Corp., said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 6 in Chicago.

“Though it represents only a small portion of the overall wireless revenue of telecommunications carriers, revenue from wireless data connectivity and services is heating up,” Biniak said in an address titled “Wireless Web: Cashing In When the Buying Impulse Strikes.”

AG Interactive, No. 132 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, began experimenting with mobile e-commerce three years ago, selling ring-tones, games and wallpapers. However, revenue was insufficient to support the program, and a lack of mobile telecommunications standards among carriers dampened the effort.

After the initial experiment, the company decided to focus mobile e-commerce efforts on two demographics it determined were most likely to purchase via mobile phone. “African Americans and Hispanics often own more than one device each, are first to buy new ones, use text messaging more and spend more on mobility,” Biniak said. “And they often create what becomes mainstream in popular culture.”

The company is investigating the lack of mobile telecommunications standards, knowing retailers for the time being cannot create one mobile system but instead must develop different applications for varying mobile devices. It also is honing its overall mobile efforts, Biniak says, ready to follow where customers lead.

 

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