CTIA Wireless Conference This Week
By David Dorf on Mar 30, 2009
The CTIA Wireless conference is being held this week in Las Vegas. There should be plenty of announcements from the likes of Apple, RIM/Blackberry, and the carriers about new innovation in the mobile phone arena. This conference is interesting to me for two reasons. First, mobile phones have become ubiquitous and are therefore an ever-increasingly popular platform for retail. Uses for retail fall into four distinct categories:
1. Product search and information
Customers can use their mobile phone inside stores to get additional information about products and services. Most often this is done using an enhanced user interface optimzied for phones.
Mobile phones can be used for near-field payment linked to credit cards. So far this has been directed at small purchases, but will go mainstream in the near future.
Software like Digby and Sears2Go can enable the entire e-commerce process on your phone. I think the market for this is limited as most people prefer a full-blown website via the PC.
Phones can be used for loyalty and pushing promotions via bluetooth and SMS. I don't know of any major retailers taking advantage of this in the US, but it seems popular in Japan.
The second reason the CTIA Conference will be interesting is that the mobile carriers are also retailers themselves, operating lots of small stores and store-within-a-store concepts. For this reason, Oracle Retail is demonstrating its point-of-sale along with Siebel products that have been optimized for wireless/cellphone stores.
I'll be monitoring the press releases to see what's new.