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Harvey’s fast food chain pushes out deals to nearby mobile users

September 22, 2011

Offers are sent when users are close to participating businesses

Restaurants in Toronto are pushing out deals to mobile users who are nearby as a way to drive in-store traffic.

Moxie’s, Harvey’s and Swiss Chalet are among the local businesses working with Push a Deal, a new app that leverages smartphone GPS information, to send deals when a user is nearby a business. The model is based on popular daily deals sites such as Groupon but uses hyper-local information to increase the relevancy of the offers.

“We are trying to give users an easier and more relevant way to get offers,” said Mike Egan, business development manager at Push A Deal, Toronto.

“This is an evolution of the deal phenomenon,” he said. “Users are not going to get a daily email and may not receive an offer for a few days because we won’t push out offers until they are close to one of our businesses with a deal.

“People are more likely to take advantage of a deal that is in their vicinity.”

On the street
One of Push a Deal’s first relationships is with Aramark Canada, which operates many of the food franchises for the University of Toronto.

Students at the university’s St. George campus who download the app are alerted to nearby deals from dozens of food service locations including cafes, coffee shops and Indian food takeout.

A recent deal offers a free Grande coffee at Starbucks in the Robarts Library Cafe. Users were informed how close they are to the deal and can click to get directions.

Push a Deal will be rolled out to additional Canadian cities in the coming months. The company is also looking to expand its exclusive deals beyond local restaurants.

Consumers can download the Push a Deal app at or via an app store. It is available for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone devices.

Once signed up, Push a Deal will automatically send out offers when users get close to a location that has a special or deal.

Users do not have to be using the app to receive offers.

The deals are sent out at relevant times during the day. For example, a coffee and muffin deal will be sent out in the morning.

When someone receives an offer, a “Redeem Now” button shows up on the screen which the user can show to an employee at the business in order to redeem the offer.

Push a Deal will send out a maximum of two deals a day to users.

Push a Deal has its own exclusive offers and also showcases group offers from other sites, pushing these out to users only when they are close to a business offering the deal.

Currently, users in Vancouver and Montreal can take advantage of these group offers.

The few businesses using Push a Deal for the past five months have experienced a redemption rate between one and 10 percent.

Push a Deal points to a recent survey from Microsoft as evidence that consumers are looking for location-based services.

The study of 1,500 people in Britain, the United States, Canada, Japan and Germany found that 51 percent have used a location-based service and 62 percent were aware of such services. Of these location-based services users, 94 percent found them valuable. Four-in-10 use location-based services once a week.

“We’re in the right time to do this,” Mr. Egan said.

“People are very aware of all the deal sites that are out there and they are trying to get away from having their inbox filled with all these deals that are not closely,” he said.

“When someone is close by, redemption rates go up.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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