Digby is a mobile commerce service that lets you shop for stuff right from your BlackBerry. Recently Dave Sikora, CEO of Digby, was kind enough to sit down for an interview…
Q: Do you intend to remain focused on brick and mortar stores for your catalog, or do you plan to open it up to sell software as well?
A: From the beginning we have remained focused on addressing the unique challenges of buying and selling physical goods and making mobile commerce of these goods easier for the user and the retailer will remain a core focus for us. Mobile commerce for software is very different than physical goods with its own unique set of challenges and requirements. We may add software in the future, but only when we feel that we can provide the user as great a mobile experience as we have been able to provide them for physical goods.
Q: So far you’ve focused on the BlackBerry as your platform. Why is that? Do you plan to offer Digby on other devices?
A: Digby was initially launched on the BlackBerry platform for several reasons. First off, the BlackBerry user tends to be very comfortable with mobility. They already look to their phones for much more than voice and text messaging. To these users, their device is a tool that they can use to maximize their time. Providing these users with a way to do more with their phones is a natural fit. In addition, RIM has been a fantastic partner to work with. The development platform is robust, solid and easy to work with and their Alliances team is there to help developers building for the BlackBerry.
It is still too early to talk about future platforms, but we do know that there is a demand for mobile shopping across the different devices and platforms that are out there.
Q: I can visit mobile versions of some online retailers directly. How does Digby improve on the mobile shopping experience?
A: This is a great question. While some retailers have started to roll-out mobile versions of their websites, this is a small number. The vast majority of retailers have the same web site for all users – desktop or mobile.
If we look at the retailers that have a mobile site, they tend to fall into one of two types. Those that have used software to “convert” (or transcode) their web site for the mobile user and those that have developed a whole new site. In both cases, while these sites can provide some value to the mobile user, the results tend to be less than impressive for users trying to actually search, browse and buy products.
Mobile commerce has unique challenges that make it very different than the desktop. Screen size, bandwidth and signal availability/strength are all factors that make the challenge of mobile commerce unique. In addition, mobility offers certain opportunities that the desktop does not. A BlackBerry is much more than a phone and email device. Users have their lifestyle information in there (Address book, Personal and Work calendars, etc..) . Why not take advantage of it?
Digby gives you:
Optimized interface for the device
Advanced search capabilities
Strong security to prevent credit card theft
Universal Shopping cart allows one checkout for multiple retailers
Integrated with your address book
Ability to set Reminders for special occasions
All of these features and more makes shopping on your phone easier than shopping on your desktop
For retailers, Digby provides a way to provide their customers with a mobile optimized storefront accessible anytime, anywhere.
Q: Alltel’s BlackBerry devices will now come preloaded with Digby. Can we expect to see Digby on devices from other carriers as well?
A. We are having conversations with carriers that are interested in providing their customers with Digby but it is too early to say when we will announce our next carrier relationship.
Q: 2007 has been a big year for Digby. What challenges do you anticipate in 2008?
A: You can expect to see exciting news from Digby in 2008 as we continue to build on what we accomplished in 2007. You can expect to see Digby deliver our base access to more retailers as well as more tools to make the mobile shopping experience even easier.
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