Pressin' all the right buttons

Summary:A brick-and-mortar cellular-phone distributor faces special challenges as it went ahead with plans to adopt e-commerce solutions. Two years later, during ePhone's first Christmas season, on-line sales boosted revenues US$300 000.

EPhones faced some special challenges attributable to the nature of the wireless industry. There was a particularly strong need for personalization and customization, for example.

"The availability of cellular-phone models and rate plans varies according to where someone lives in the U.S.," notes Srinivasan Jalakandapura, lead architect at OneSoft. As a result, ePhones needed to be able to serve up customized pages to its Web-site visitors, based on their locations.

Also, wireless rate plans can change quite rapidly, can the need for related Web content, such as seasonal promotions. EPhones needed to be able to reflect those content changes on its Web site as soon as they occur.

EPhones also wanted to offer co-branded sites to partners, a business model that founder, chairman and CEO Mike Merrill dubs "e-franchising." The "e-franchisers" are small regional dealers that want a Web presence but don't have the resources to build sophisticated sites of their own.

Topics: E-Commerce, Mobility, Reviews, Telcos

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