Verizon Wireless Customers First To Receive Product Information and Comparison Shopping Via Wireless Phones Through Barpoint.com
Agreement with Barcode-based Online Shopping Service Gives Customers Access to Web-Based Information, Reviews on Millions of Products
May 1, 2000
BEDMINSTER, NJ and FT. LAUDERDALE, FL - Customers of Verizon Wireless, through an agreement with BarPoint.com (OTC BB: BPNT), will be able to access comparison shopping information and product reviews based on a product's Universal Product Code (UPC) right on their Web-enabled digital wireless phones. This is another move by Verizon Wireless to bring world-class Internet-based information and content to customers on their handsets.
BarPoint.com is a pioneer in the technology that enables consumers to access comprehensive information based on a unique product identifier like bar codes.
By June, Verizon Wireless' mobile Internet customers using Web-enabled digital phones will be able to access BarPoint.com's comprehensive database with the touch of a few keys to retrieve comparative pricing and detailed manufacturer information on millions of products, ranging from CDs and DVDs to computer hardware and software. By pre-configuring the BarPoint service on Web-enabled digital phones, Verizon Wireless and BarPoint will provide consumers relevant information on products prior to purchasing them, and the power to receive the best deal, regardless of whether they are purchasing items in the store or from an online retailer.
"This will provide our customers with the critical information they need, wirelessly, to make more informed purchases," said Debra Carroll, vice president of marketing for Verizon Wireless. "Customers using our Web Access service will be able go to a major electronics store in search of the best deal on a computer, for example, go to the BarPoint.com menu option on their digital phone and find both product reviews and comparative pricing through various e-commerce sites and other resource sites."
According to BarPoint.com's CEO and President, John Macatee, Verizon Wireless customers will conduct their search by entering a product's unique 12 or 13-digit barcode number on their phone instead of searching by a keyword. This unique product identifier produces a much more exact search than using words and names and returns product-specific information, making it an ideal application for mobile devices that have limited screen size and memory.
Starting in the third quarter of this year, Verizon Wireless customers will also be able to execute wireless e-commerce purchases via the BarPoint.com site from their digital phone.
"Our Internet strategy is focused on giving our customers wireless access to the Web-based information they want, when they want it," said Carroll. "We want our customers to have fast and easy access to information and m-commerce from their digital handset, especially when it comes to e-shopping for the best deal."
Earlier this month, Verizon Wireless announced an agreement with E*TRADE to enable wireless Web-based investing coast-to-coast.
The BarPoint.com service makes searches for information simple and accurate. "If you search for a toaster, there are dozens of different brands and models, not to mention the cartoon entitled Brave Little Toaster," said Macatee. "But since each UPC code maps to just one product, searching with that number gets the exact result desired."
Analyst Andrew Cole of Renaissance Worldwide Inc. suggests wireless e-commerce will amount to as much as 45 percent of the total e-commerce market in 2004 (from 2/28/00 Wireless Week article titled "Making Money in M-Commerce - Partnering, Platforms and Portals"). New York-based research group Jupiter Communications predicts the total wireless data subscriber base in the U.S. will exceed 100 million by 2003.
"These combined predictions make the market for wireless Internet access a compelling business prospect for Verizon Wireless," said Carroll. "We are intently focused on making the wireless phone more functional and valuable to our customers than ever before by combining our superior network with premier Internet content."
Verizon Wireless customers already use Web-enabled digital phones to surf the Web, and send and receive e-mail, get real-time stock market analysis and quotes, and set up customized personal Web pages. They also benefit from a wireless personal organizer and access to several leading content providers.
Try it for Yourself Using the Web
By entering or scanning in a product's unique barcode number, a consumer will find a wealth of product specific information. For example, to receive information on the album, Supernatural, by Santana, simply access BarPoint through its website (www.barpoint.com) or on your web-enabled mobile device, select the "Music" category and enter the UPC, i.e. 078221908023. This will return a page that includes detailed manufacturer contact and product information, competitive pricing from various sources and links that provide online purchasing capabilities.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 16 million wireless voice and data customers and nearly 4 million paging customers. The new coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Bell Atlantic Corp. (NYSE:BEL) and Vodafone AirTouch Plc (LSE:VOD; NYSE:VOD). The new company includes the assets of Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, PrimeCo Personal Communications and AirTouch Paging. Verizon Wireless will be further strengthened by the addition of the wireless assets of GTE Corp. (NYSE:GTE) when it completes its merger with Bell Atlantic. When the merger is complete, the new company will have a footprint covering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets.
Verizon Wireless, headquartered in New York City and Bedminster, NJ, is 30,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company in its Media Center on the Web at: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mediacenter.
BarPoint.com is the single, authoritative source for mobile Internet shopping information; bridging the gap between the broad selection of products offered online with the confidence and satisfaction of retail shopping. Using unique product identifiers, such as the UPC barcode, and patent pending "reverse search" technology, BarPoint provides consumers and businesses with easy, efficient access to comparative pricing, product and manufacturer information, etc. for millions of items. BarPoint has previously announced strategic alliances with companies such as Go America, JP Systems, Motorola (NYSE: MOT), Konover Property Trust (NYSE: KPT) and Symbol Technologies (NYSE: SBL) and last year acquired Synergy Solutions, which is now a wholly owned BarPoint.com subsidiary. Whether using a handheld device to scan or manually enter the product's UPC or even accessing BarPoint's website from a desktop computer, BarPoint.com is the most direct route to better, more informed purchasing decisions-anytime,
BarPoint.com is located at: One East Broward Boulevard, Suite 410 , Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. For information, contact BarPoint.com at: (954) 745-7500 or via the web: www.barpoint.com.
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This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, regarding the Company s business strategy and future plans of operations. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, both general and specific to the matters discussed in this press release. These and other important factors, including those mentioned in various Securities and Exchange Commission filings made periodically by the Company, may cause the Company s actual results and performance to differ materially from the future results and performance expressed in or implied by such forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof and the Company expressly disclaims any obligation to provide public updates, revisions or amendments to any forward-looking statements made herein to reflect changes in the Company s expectations or future events.
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