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Here’s a refreshing take on location-based services: It’s not an app and users don’t have to manually check-in when they’ve arrived at a destination.
Today, Placecast is launching a new advertising-based service called ShopAlerts, which lets consumers sign-up for offers from some of their favorite stores or restaurants when they’re in geographic range of the location. The service goes live today starting with three retailers: SONIC, REI and American Eagle Outfitters.
In a way, this brings to life the well-fabled use-case scenario in mobile, where you are walking by a Starbucks and you receive a coupon by text message for a $1 off a latte. It’s just taken about five years to get there.
Placecast is developed and owned by 1020, an advertising firm that was founded in 2005 and is funded by Voyager Capital and Onset Ventures.
ShopAlerts works like this: Consumers can sign-up for specific brands at the store, online, via text-message, mobile website, or social networks. Once activated, consumers automatically receive alerts when they are near a location that they are interested in or when the brand is offering sales and specials. Because everything is delivered by text message, ShopAlerts works on any phone — not just smartphones.
ShopAlerts has been tested in a pilot since September 2009 with retailers including SONIC, American Eagle Outfitters and REI. In a survey, 79 percent of respondents said it increased their likelihood to visit a store; 65 percent said they made a purchase as a result of a ShopAlerts message; and 73 percent of participants would definitely or probably use the service in the future.
In a NYTimes story, Placecast detailed a trial with North Face. The outdoor retailer created 1,000 half-mile wide geo-fences in and around New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston in which messages to users would be triggered. North Face could tailor its messages based on the immediate weather outside.