Retailers participating in a wireless coupon program through the University of South Florida are experiencing a 10% redemption on the coupons, which are delivered to students’ cell phone, PDAs and pagers. The program was developed by the university’s IT department and has 46 participating merchants, restaurants and nightclubs. Retailers pay 10 to 15 cents per message.
Since the service launched this spring, over 700 students have signed up for the MoBull Messenger, which delivers discount coupons and notifications from the university.
The university’s IT department built the program on the Air2Web wireless platform.
Retailers control the content of the message, who it is sent to and when. The manager of a restaurant having a slow night, for instance, could go to a computer, log onto www.mobull.usf.edu/messenger, enter the discount the restaurant wants to offer, select the age of the students the restaurant wants to target, a geographical location, then confirm the price per message and the number of messages being sent. The vendor`s credit card is then charged the amount calculated and the wireless discount coupon is sent to students` cell phones, PDAs or pagers, as instructed.
Students can also sign up to receive university alerts, such as class meeting changes, school closings, emergency alerts and payment deadline reminders. The IT department conceived the program as a money-making venture. The University of South Florida and Air2Web hope to sell services to other universities.
"This is one of the more interesting wireless retail programs I have seen to date," said Jeff Roster, senior analyst, global industries - retail, Gartner Dataquest. "One of the key advantages of this wireless coupon program is that retailers don`t have to make any investment in IT infrastructure to participate. The retailers simply pay a set charge for every coupon they send out."
The university says it expects to undertake a major marketing campaign to students in the fall.