Shop Site of the Month
Keen's Body Shop - Columbus, Ohio
What we liked most about this site is the simplicity of the home page. No clutter, and the sections were all neatly organized in the drop-down navigation, allowing customers to easily find answers to their questions. The audio commercial that plays automatically is a nice touch, too.
Web Wise: Are You Ready to Take Payments Via Mobile Phone?
You're on the phone with a new customer reviewing her repair estimate. After answering all of her questions and assuring her the car will be ready as promised, you hang up. End of story, right?
Wait, there's more: Twenty seconds later, you hear the chime on your cell phone. Viewing the text message, you see that your customer has paid the bill via her cell phone. Well, that was quick!
I'm not talking about a feature five or 10 years down the road. This scene is already being played out more and more - and not just to pay for smart phone applications or music. People are ordering dinner, buying movie tickets and sending each other money ... all via mobile phone and without the aggravation of typing in a 16-digit credit card number and billing information for each purchase.
The number of mobile phone users is finite, and providers know the only way to grow is through new products and convenient services. Thus, banks, credit card companies, mobile phone service providers and investors are joining forces to make paying bills, banking and other purchases via your mobile phone easier than ever before.
There are a number of services available already. PayPal has launched a mobile version, both Visa and MasterCard are heavily investing in new mobile services, and branch-less, online banks are springing up around the world.
Then there are the startups, including Obopay.com. For a mere 25 cents per transaction, Obopay account holders can send money via mobile phone application, a mobile Web browser or a simple SMS (text) message. Recipients receive their money at no charge, and they don't even need an Obopay account.
But is it safe? When setting up your account, you choose a secret PIN. That PIN must be used to send, spend or receive money through Obopay. "Even if you lose your mobile phone, your money is safe," says Obopay, though it recommends changing your PIN immediately if you lose your phone.
How much mobile-commerce (m-commerce) grows depends on two things: the ease of the purchase process and the confidence of users in its transaction safety. It will be interesting to see how soon your Web- and cell phone-savvy customers embrace the new technology.
ASA Web Ways: Straight from the Show Floor
Automotive Service and Repair Week (ASRW) is fast approaching, and the AutoInc. staff will be previewing the International Autobody Congress & Exposition (NACE) and the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) shows in October, as well as reporting daily news from the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas from Nov. 4-7. Sign up for ASRW Now, our online daily, at www.ASAshop.org/news/news.htm.
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