Mobile Shopping Alerts

It's been popular to offer coupons when people check-in to a store, because you're catching them at the best possible time - they're presumably in a shopping state-of-mind, and they're at your store. But wouldn't it be even better to catch the people walking by your store and entice them to visit? That's the concept of geo-fences. When people enter a geographic zone, they are sent a relevant text message alerting them about something nearby.

I wrote about Placecast doing this for The North Face, noting that the messages were a unique combination of both offers and useful information about outdoor activities.

After creating a program with European carrier O2, Placecast recently entered into an agreement to provide similar services to AT&T customers. The ShopAlerts program allows AT&T customers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco opt-in to receive these messages. The program will be expanded nationwide as early as this summer.

It's a much better model for customers (and Placecast) to sign-up once with the carrier instead of each individual retailer, but I hope the messages aren't restricted to advertising. I really the like the idea of providing other information, such as nearby special events, races, and perhaps even things to avoid like construction.

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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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