RealTime IT News

M-shopping Expands with Virgin Mobile's Shopping Assistant

Virgin Mobile yesterday unveiled the Virgin Mobile Shopping Assistant, which it claims is the first Wap service that offers mobile Net users product searching, price and feature comparisons, and secure transactions

The Shopping Assistant runs on a platform designed specifically for wireless delivery by digitalRUM. digitalRUM also provides retail information for the service through its partnerships with retailers including Blackwell's and the Co-op. The service is to go live with several shopping categories, including Music, DVDs, Videos, PDAs, Computer Accessories and Games, with more categories to be added as Virgin develops the site.

The service is available now to the more than 50,000 Wap-enabled Virgin Mobile subscribers, who can pre-register and personalise the service at the Virgin Xtras section of Virgin's website.

Tom Alexander, MD of Virgin Mobile considers the Shopping Assistant to be "the killer WAP application" and sees it turning around the current sluggish consumer response to Wap: "Its introduction on Virgin Mobile will prove to be a turning point in consumer acceptance and take up of WAP services. The fact that someone can now walk into a High Street store, pick up a product in one hand while checking to see if it is available more cheaply elsewhere, or even if there is a better version, truly empowers the consumer."