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OpenMarket helps merchants better target consumers via new mobile payment service

Aggregator OpenMarket is introducing new mobile payment services that help merchants better target the growing market of consumers who buy products via their mobile device.

The expanded payment platform lets companies sell and market their goods and services to consumers via the mobile channel. The new services include WAP Billing and App Store Direct Operator Payments.

“We’re expanding and offering new, more sophisticated service to address needs and [merchant’s] specific requirements,” said Jay Emmet, general manager at OpenMarket, Seattle.

OpenMarket, a division of Amdocs, provides a set of payment, messaging and emerging services to businesses.

Payment services
The payments platform lets merchants charge customers’ mobile purchases to their wireless bill across any carrier network and device type.

The company is using SMS as a purchase initiation mechanism, but is also including the mobile Web, application stores and MMS marketing.

Carrier billing is a convenient purchase mechanism for consumers, per Mr. Emmet.

The company claims that by expanding carrier billing to all channels, such as SMS, MMS, mobile Web and applications, it lets merchants increase sales, conversion rates and build customer loyalty.

“The WAP service allows you to bill to the phone without using an SMS transaction,” Mr. Emmet said. “If I see a billboard for Red Sox scores, I can order that via SMS, send a keyword to a short code, but there are other services  that may be difficult to present on a billboard.

“From the App Store side, it’s similar to the WAP service,” he said. “The carriers are starting to see they have assets they want to monetize.”

Many merchants prefer to bill without using SMS and Mr. Emmet claims that the service platform works for all merchants – for those that want to bill using SMS or via the WAP service or App Store.

“It depends on the individual user preference,” Mr. Emmet said.

In May, OpenMarket expanded its multimedia messaging service connectivity to advertisers, mobile marketers and merchants that want to deliver rich media to mobile devices.

The service lets brands and advertisers deliver customized personal messages to consumers in a manner currently available only on television networks or specialized mobile applications (see story).

“We’re continually adding to our portfolio of payment services,” Mr. Emmet said. “It’s the progression of what we do and not a replacement.”