Fortumo moves from virtual to physical goods

14 OCT 2014

Carrier billing specialist Fortumo is claiming a first for the mobile industry, thanks to a trial which involves paying for physical goods via a user’s phone bill.

Using carrier billing to pay for physical rather than digital items such as games, movie or bus tickets is unusual, but Fortumo has launched a trial with Angry Birds creator Rovio and SingTel, the Singapore operator.

The pilot involves the now familiar Angry Birds’ toys on sale via an e-commerce site (rather than physical store), which Fortumo says is the first time real goods have been charged to users’ phone bills.

The vendor is hoping to woo more merchants and operators to adopt carrier billing for selling other physical items.

In a blog, Fortumo CEO Rain Rannu (pictured) wrote that conversion rates in the trial are encouraging compared to conventional mobile checkout. In the first week, shopping cart abandonment was five times lower than previously with credit card-based checkout.

The process is open to SingTel’s post-paid subscribers.

Rannu explained about Rovio’s suitability for the pilot: “Branded plush toys make good candidates to be sold via mobile operator billing, because they are not very high-ticket items (costing between $5-50), have relatively high margins and are usually impulse purchases.”

He goes on: “This is relevant, because with impulse purchases, the decision whether to buy or not hinges on the simplicity of the purchase process. If the checkout flow is too complicated, people abandon the shopping cart.”

Author

Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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