Getting the customer through the door by cell phone text message

 AT&T wireless  is teaming up  with retailers (March 2010) via Placecast to text messages of shopping alerts of  deals when you are near a store. The cell phone company knows where you are and if you are willing to sign up you’ll get  a text message for that last minute holiday gift or regular grocery item  that you forgot.

Given the huge Internet search and social media sharing of  deals (like Groupon)  this sounds like a good way for the brick and mortar retailers to connect with  a customer  who can take advantage of her/his location., There are privacy concerns,however, as is the possibility of getting a lot of junk messages since to start with AT&T is piloting the program on just age,gender and education. Later, there will be interests which you can outline and hopefully cut down irrelevant messages.

The idea will give a boost to the brick and mortar retail industry that in sectors like electronics and books ,have tough competition from online retailers.

Finding a way to target cell phone users who are unenthusiastic online shoppers could also enhance the reach of this new  physical “geo targeting” media.Prospects seem particularly bright in categories like apparel,homeware,home-improvement   and grocery where retail traffic could be shored up and online retailing is slower. For apparel, the “touch feel” advantage should also work well.

If you think about it, this can be a huge deal for brick and mortar retailers where if a customer actually walks in the door because of a text message, its not a split second “easy click “to leave as it is in online retail!

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