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How to use IVR as E-com portal

I have posted one article how IVR can be used to generate revenue, mainly from caller paying to use the IVR services through a voice portal in collaboration with a telecom operator. No doubt, it is a lucrative Voice VAS(Value Added Service) for many M-VAS companies as well as telecom operators, but there are other ways too where one can use IVR to generate revenue, even without any collaboration with any telecom operator.

Also, one of the negative side of collaborating with telecom operator is, they take away majority of the revenue generated while IVR service provider does all the investment as well as majority of the promotions for the IVR services.

There comes in IVR E-Com portal! One may actually generate revenue by establishing an IVR e-com portal! IVR e-com portal can be thought of as corresponding voice portal for an e-com ( e-commerce) web portal. While an e-com portal is accessed using a web browser on a PC/Laptop or mobile phone, IVR e-com portal is accessible by any phone or mobile phone. A successful IVR e-com portal can be even hosted on a toll free number where caller will not be charged anything!

An IVR e-com portal would be capable of selling products like music album after listening to music trailers, can buy movie tickets after hearing some famous dialogues of the movie etc.

Credit card can be charged securely on IVR e-com portal for making payment. Delivery of products would be just like e-com portal, by using courier or postal service.

There are few advantages of IVR e-com portal. For example :-

1. Easy browsing
User will be focused on browsing category wise and will not be distracted by many colorful links as in a e-com web portal. Browsing of products are quick and to the point.

2. Selling Adult products
Many people, specially in India, are unable to buy many products like condom from a chemist shop. There have been many advertisements by governments and other NGOs encouraging people to buy condoms from chemist shops boldly. Using IVR e-com portal, everybody would be able to buy condom or other adult products without any inhibition.
3. Listen trailer
For products like musical album, children CD, etc. could be heard on IVR e-com portal by browsing through them. They can also listen user feedback in original voice form by celebrity users or common users. It will increase authenticity of testimonial of the products.

4. Good option for certain disabilities

IVR e-com portal is a solution for people with visual disabilities. Presently, I am not aware if there is any shop or e-com portal for people with visual disabilities. IVR e-com portal can serve them better with many options.

Challenges in running IVR e-com portal
There are some disadvantages of IVR e-com portal. Many products would be difficult to sell on IVR e-com portal. For example, shirts, pants etc.
Also, not many people may want to dial an IVR and pay for the outgoing call. Also many people may not like the idea of pressing keys on phone many times while browsing through products. Clicking on keys are easier than pressing buttons on phones.

Apart from few ticketing IVR service for airlines, IVR e-com portal has not really picked up or even started. Most probably, not many people are thinking in this direction. If you are thinking now to start IVR e-com portal abd make Ebay in IVR, remember me too that I also had this idea. :). Jokes apart, in my next articles I would try to list the services which could be sold or how IVR e-com portal could be monetized.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Lalit November 16, 2009, 9:57 am

    Like the idea. Falling ARPU is going to change the MVAS market and smart ideas will be better rewarded. I had written a long convoluted idea on my blog. It need to be polished to make revenue generating services.


  • Uttam Pegu November 16, 2009, 1:36 pm

    Hi Mr. Lalit,
    I agree with you, falling MVAS will requre telecom operator to look for new revenue sources.
    I had read your idea f ‘smart pricing’ on voice calls! Also I liked your theory “talk time is free but the time to talk is not” very much.

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