Alarm bells for consumers

WAP phone users who subscribe to a new service from Saverfone will be alerted to retailers within a 500-metre radius who have snatch promotions on offer
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Saverfone will launch in October and will allow WAP phone users to state their current position and view special offers from any nearby retailers who have signed up with Saverfone.

A promotion code is then sent to the handset, which the customer can redeem in

the store.

Saverfone trials in Greater London, although there are plans to launch it UK-wide.

"We are targeting impulse buyers," said Geoff Smith, vice-president of business development at Saverfone.

"Because it is in real time, retailers can take off and add promotions as they wish," said Smith.

But dont get too excited just yet: tapping your location into the current WAP phones is a real pain andthis sort of service will only come into its own when the more user-friendly Third Generation (3G) WAP phones come on the market in 2001 and 2002.

However, once up and running, it will be possible for a cyclist to set up an alert so that whenever he or she is walking along (or cycling or driving or whatever) their phone could vibrate and alert them to a special deal that an IBD is offering for the next two hours only.

In the main, these pull technologys will attract bargain hunters but they will also stimulate footfall as a whole and loss leading products could be used as the bait to attract customers in. This is just like standard advertising, except its much more targetted, and can be turned on and off at will. Something to perhaps add to your promotional mix in the future, then...

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