Barnes & Noble opens in Digby mobile mall

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Book Retailer√°Barnes & Noble Inc. (B&N) is now available to consumers shopping on BlackBerry smartphones through a new partnership with mobile commerce services firm Digby.

Users who download the Digby shopping mall at www.digby.com onto their smartphones can already shop at Godiva, FTD Best Buy and Red Envelope. Now they can also shop at B&N's new virtual storefront.

"B&N is a terrific addition, and we're happy to have them because our customers want to shop there," said Dave Sikora, CEO of Digby, Austin, TX.

The storefront includes rich content optimized for the BlackBerry smartphones, including full product descriptions and images of all products. Current best sellers and books listed in the Sunday New York Times are merchandised on the storefront, but B&N's entire library is available to searchers.

Consumers select a product and add it to their shopping cart, which supports multiple products and multiple vendors in a single order. Digby places the order through its integrated POS systems with the stores, so the order doesn't have to come via text message or over an Internet portal.

"We believe mobility is the fourth leg of a multichannel retail strategy," added Sikora. "Retailers still need to realize this.

[We're] where we were with the Internet in 1993, 1994. People are asking about cannibalization and how incremental this will be, but we think the mobile channel serves people on the go in their own way, as [does] the Internet and stores in their respective ways."

The phone platform also lets users sync calendars and address books to remind them about events in stores.

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