SMS-based mobile purchasing system is first offering from m-retail JV
The Mobile Money Network, a joint venture established by Carphone Warehouse, Best Buy Europe, and Monitise to help customers buy items using their mobile phones, has announced details of its first service.
The service, called Simply Tap, will work like this. Users will register to be able to use the service. Registration details will be close to the usual online retail details: name, payment and billing details and a delivery address. Where a shopper sees an item that is offered by a Mobile Money Network Simply Tap partner, they will be able to enter that product’s code into a Simply Tap app, or enter the code in an SMS. Payment and delivery will be taken care of from that moment using the registered details.
Products could be bought online, or from a print ad or article, or in person. Obviously, its scope will be determined by how many retailers sign up to be partners – Carphone Warehouse investor Best Buy will be the first launch retailer. Retailers will pay a per-transaction fee to MMN if a product is bought through Simply Tap. John Milliken, MD of Mobile Money Network, said that he could not share what that fee would be at the moment.
Milliken said the advantage of MMN’s Simply Tap is that retailers can plug in to a central platform and integrate to the level they are comfortable with, with functionalities such as live stock and order checks.
The MMN hopes that by being agnostic to the device, operator or bank, it will differ from many of the more vertically integrated mobile payment and retail applications. Milliken said the service was just the start for MMN, with financial services the next destination for the JV.
He added that the company hopes to deepen its relationships with mobile operators, as he is aware operators add scale and reach. “The barrier to a bright idea is often the ability to scale quickly,” he said.
So have operators missed a trick by not putting together a similar mobile retail payment capability- given they already have the scale and the cross-device capability? Milliken said that operator attempts to date, either to act independently of each other or to try and offer a universal payment mechansim “had not really worked so well for the retailers.”
MMN secured a coup today by announcing that Stuart Rose, former CEO of Marks & Spencer, had joined as non-executive Chairman. MMN is holding an event tomorrow with 50 retailers, financial services companies and other potential partners, at which Rose will be presenting the launch of the service.