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One in 10 Fandango tickets to sell through mobile by year’s end: exec

September 18, 2009

NEW YORK – From pizza chain Papa John’s mobile site that allows consumers to place orders, to consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble’s microsite that lets customers buy products through the mobile site, mobile commerce is on the rise.

This was the key point of a session at digiday: Mobile yesterday in the W hotel in New York. 

“As an ad network, I get very excited, because every single week I see these articles in Mobile Marketer about new apps and mobile Web sites, which means new entrants in the mobile advertising space,” said Jeremy Arnon, senior director of business development at Quattro Wireless, New York.

Quattro Wireless is working with marketers such as Papa John’s and Sony PSP on mobile advertising campaigns designed to drive consumers in-store and to mobile commerce landing pages.

There is much mobile advertising taking place to drive downloads of mobile commerce applications, all the panelists agreed.

“From my perspective, mobile commerce is about 9-12 months away from its tipping point,” Mr. Arnon said.

Mobile commerce can be defined as brands using mobile to drive people to their retail location. It also reflects any transaction that takes place on a mobile device.

Ticket to growth
Last year Fandango’s mobile numbers were nowhere near where they are today, per Darren Cross, director of business development at Fandango, New York.

Mr. Cross said that by year’s end he expects one in 10 Fandango ticket sales to come from the mobile platform.

Indeed, with the slowing economy, mobile coupons can be used as an incentive to drive consumers into stores. 

Quick-service restaurant chains such as Subway, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, KFC and Taco Bell are using mobile coupons to drive consumers in-store.

Meanwhile, fellow panelist Riz Virk, head of mobile strategy at OfferPal Media, Fremont, CA, talked about charging consumers for virtual goods via the mobile phone.

Cellufun is a good example of a mobile company that sells virtual goods to consumers.

Virtual-goods-related mobile commerce lets consumers charge these purchases to their wireless bill or in some cases, download an application for billing purposes.

As of now, consumers are not very open to providing their credit card information to make a payment via the mobile phone. This is similar to consumers’ mistrust of PC-based transactions when the Internet first started last decade.

Sony PSP ran a mobile advertising campaign via the Quattro Network to promote the Rock Band console game.

Instead of building a mobile commerce site, PSP linked the banners to the mobile site, where consumers could buy the Rock Band game.

“Consumers already trust Amazon,” Mr. Arnon said.

This campaign had 93,000 unique visitors and 5 percent of consumers clicked through to the Amazon store.

“It is all about being creative,” Mr. Arnon said. “You don’t need an app to get into mobile commerce.”

With the Fandango mobile site, consumers have to provide their credit card information via their handset, which is why the service was not as successful as it should have been when it first launched.

But now with the iPhone, the consumer’s credit card information is stored, so she does not need to enter it each time she wants to make a purchase.

“Research shows that people want more mobile commerce,” said Jeffrey Montgomery, chief revenue officer of 1020 Placecast, San Francisco.

Consumers in a retail location can use their mobile phones to comparison-shop. As Mr. Montgomery pointed out, everyone loves to get the lowest possible price.

Getting promotional codes in a timely manner – when the consumer is near a store – is a great incentive for a consumer to go into a retail location, he said.

In fact, location-based click-to-call ads for Avis were successful in driving business, per Mr. Montgomery.

Card sharp
Wrapping up, session moderator and Mobile Marketer’s Dan Butcher asked the panelists whether it is up to the large brands to get consumers comfortable with mobile commerce.

Mr. Montgomery said it is an opportunity for retailers to create a stronger relationship with the consumer.

Bank applications, such as the Bank of America application, can get consumers comfortable with mobile commerce, Quattro Wireless’ Mr. Arnon said.

“When fraud laws started coming out on the Internet to protect people’s credit cards was when the tide changed for ecommerce,” he said.

The same needs to happen with mobile.

And then, of course, there’s the siren call of technology.

“I expect 2D bar codes will help drive mobile commerce,” Fandango’s Mr. Cross said.

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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