E Channel – Introduces Wireless Store

Posted: 10/2001

E Channel Introduces Wireless Store
By Josh Long

M Inc., an Internet direct marketing and membership services company, has introduced an online store that allows members to buy wireless phones and service plans.

Herndon, Va.-based Simplexity, which owns an eCommerce platform that enables shoppers to compare and buy telecom services online, is powering the wireless store.

The MyPoints Wireless store initially plans to market four cellular phones and 14 service plans, the company said recently.

The agreement is a response to strong customer demand for wireless services and creates an additional revenue stream for the company, CEO John Fullman said in a press release. will receive revenue from ongoing plan and equipment sales, a company spokeswoman said, declining to elaborate on the business arrangement. members receive points for purchasing phones and service plans, a structure similar to frequent flyer miles. Instead of earning a free airline ticket, members receive free merchandise, services and other perks once they have accrued a certain amount of points by visiting web sites, reading e-mails and buying merchandise. serves about 16 million members, and it draws even more visitors to its web site and affiliates, according to Internet research firm, Jupiter Media Metrix.

Analysts and executives point out that millions of web surfers have visited such portals to compare telecom services but far too few of them have purchased enough plans to make the model a financial success. Without a brand name and past relationship with the customer, among other incentives, the business-to-consumer model allowing consumers to compare and buy telecom services has proven a disappointment, analysts say. This has changed the way some companies are doing business.

During the past year, Simplexity and other companies with proprietary eCommerce platforms have adopted a business model that creates partnerships with companies that have strong brand names and large customer bases, rather than going it alone in the business-to-consumer e-marketplace.

“MyPoints members are exactly the type of users who will research, configure and purchase customized products online,” said Mike Ferzacca, Simplexity’s president and CEO.

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