Cellfire's network of 5,000 grocery stores here in the U.S.Have you ever arrived at your local grocery store only to realize that you had left your trusted stash of carefully clipped and saved coupons at home? That may no longer be an issue with today's launch of geo-targeted mobile grocery coupons that work with mobile application
Now, instead of browsing through the newspaper for coupons to clip, you can opt to receive a real-time alert on your mobile device of the coupons available to you, as you enter the grocery store itself.
Beyond the Check-in: Location Gets Practical
Location Labs may not be a familiar name to consumers, but its services operate on the backend of many well known consumer-facing products, like AT&T's FamilyMap and Sprint's Family Location service.
In this case, the mobile couponing service is provided by Location Labs' Sparkle Platform, a toolkit for developers that allows mobile apps to incorporate geofencing technology into their offerings. For those unfamiliar with the term "geofencing," it means that a developer can define a particular geographic area and then have a specific action occur when a mobile user crosses the boundaries of that area.
For example, Sparkle works to power the third-party Foursquare application called Mayor Maker, an app which automatically checks you in to your favorite Foursquare venues without you having to launch the Foursquare app to do it yourself. While Foursquare is fun, and sometimes offers rewards to its users in the form of discounts or other specials from participating merchants, its focus has been more on the gaming aspects - acquiring badges, points and the honorary title of "Mayor" for the places you frequent the most.
While maybe not as fun as Foursquare, coupon clipping is a more practical use of location-based services, those services which use GPS and/or other mobile tracking technologies to determine your physical location in the real world.
With Cellfire, Sparkle is making "geo-targeted" coupons, as they're called, possible - and it's a first for the grocery store coupon industry.
The Cellfire mobile app is available for free from iTunes or from the mobile website at www.cellfire.com. To receive the coupons, you must first enable the Store Alerts feature - it's not on by default. Cellfire also allows you to customize the stores and other conditions that will trigger the alerts.
At present, Cellfire only works in conjunction with stores that offer customer loyalty cards as it allows you to select coupons which will then be processed at checkout when the card is scanned. Unfortunately, the list of participating grocery stores is not remarkable. There are less than 20 brands that work with Cellfire, and Kroger is the only major brand listed on Cellfire's site.
That being said, this is a new and unique use of location-based technology which can provide real value to consumers. The challenge now is getting more brands on board to make it useful to a larger group of shoppers.