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ChaCha expands services with mobile couponsBy
ChaCha, the mobile question and answer service, has launched a retail coupon service platform that is accessible online and on a mobile device.
ChaChaCoupon.com launches today in Indianapolis, with plans set to launch in additional major cities in early 2010. Consumers can print coupons at their desktop or send them to their mobile phones to be redeemed in store.
“[The strategy is] to connect our near 10 million Web and text-based users in most of the biggest cities in the nation with special discounts from businesses in their local markets online and through their mobile devices,” said Scott Jones, CEO of ChaCha, Indianapolis.
“During these difficult economic times, we are delivering real value today with online, printable coupons from over 200 local businesses that can be used by anyone, while giving those comfortable with mobile couponing the opportunity to send those coupons to their phone and redeem them at point of purchase,” he said.
“This creates a seamless bridge to mobile couponing which is gaining traction with retailers and users very quickly.”
ChaCha is a free SMS answers service, users call 1-800-2-ChaCha or text questions to ChaCha at short code 242242 on their mobile phones and receive answers within minutes.
Advertisers such as Palm, Ikea, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and the Obama presidential campaign, have used ChaCha’s pay-for-engagement advertising plan.
ChaChaCoupons.com is an online and mobile coupon site with coupons in 13 different categories such as home services, beauty and restaurants.
Mr. Jones said that the coupon service will expand to Philiadelphia, Phoenix, Chicago, Salt Lake City, New York, Dallas and Los Angeles early next year.
At launch, hundreds of Indianapolis-based companies such as Bar Louie, David & Mary Salon and Spa, Fast Tans, Frankey’s, Godby Home Services, Pet Supplies Plus, Puccini’s, Revolution Eyes, Rock Bottom and Stanley’s NY Deli will be featured on the site with special offers.
Revolution Eyes, an eyewear retailer, is offering $50 off of any pair of glasses or sunglasses. Rock Bottom, a restaurant and brewery, is offering $10 off of any $30 order and Bella’s Pizza, a pizzeria, is offering buy one, get one half off.
Forget me not
Mr. Jones said launching a coupon site with mobile and online coupons addresses ChaCha’s varied user base.
“When you talk to consumers you often find that they have good intentions to use coupons, but don’t actually use them because it can be inconvenient to remember to carry them,” Mr. Jones said. “Users tend to forget or misplace coupons before they go to a store.”
Forgetfulness affects businesses too, Mr. Jones said. Consumers may not make a purchase without that coupon.
To combat this problem, Mr. Jones said that ChaCha will provide in-store printers with a text code on their mobile phone upon their arrival to the store. The printer will print a receipt that is then matched to that consumer.
Mr. Jones said that several local advertisers already use the company’s text-based services, so joining ChaChaCoupon.com would be a logical extension.
“Our launch is very timely as consumers continue to look to stretch their dollars and businesses look to expand and keep their customer base,” Mr. Jones said. “We are positioned very well to be a facilitator of this with ChaChaCoupons.com.
“In the first half of this year, coupon redemption climbed 23 percent with some 1.6 billion coupons were redeemed, leading to forecasts that more than three billion coupons will be redeemed this year, so the timing is right,” he said.
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