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E-commerce sites are putting their future success at risk by failing to offer users the ability to buy through their mobile websites, a new study has revealed.

The Strategy Analytics Wireless Media Lab looked at e-commerce sites eBay, lastminute.com, and Odeon Cinema and the mobile offerings they put forward. It found that mobile customers wanted to be able to buy through their handsets, something some companies overlook.

The e-commerce giants' mobile offerings paled in comparison to their fixed internet sites, with the lack of payment facilities being a major bugbear for users. The report found that users were extremely dissatisfied with some of the sites, and expected to be able to buy content from lastminute.com and Odeon Cinema, or bid for items on eBay through its mobile portal.

In contrast, Amazon and iTunes were the most sought-after mobile e-commerce sites.

"Consumers were profoundly dissatisfied with the concept of only using the m-commerce sites for research and pre-purchase evaluation," said Paul Brown, senior analyst, user experience research.

"Participants were surprised and disappointed that when using the lastminute.com mobile portal they could search for flights and vacations but could not purchase either tickets or trips."

The analysts said to be successful, mobile commerce sites needed to offer users the core features they associate with the brand.

"In order to ignite m-commerce transactions, m-commerce sites must offer efficient search engines, the ability to customise results and assurance of secure transactions," said David Kerr, vice president of the Global Wireless Practice.

There have been moves in this area in recent months, with credit card firm Visa announcing in March that it was pushing for closer collaboration between the wireless internet and credit card industries. The payments company has even invested in the Dublin-based dotMobi domain registry and has launched a mobile phone platform.

© 2007 ENN

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