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Rogers Communications partners with retailers to deliver location-based offers

Retailers such as Sears, Pizza Hut and Future Shop are delivering location-based offers to mobile users as part of a new program from Canadian wireless carrier Rogers Communications.

The Rogers Alerts program is an example of how carriers, who already have a relationship with mobile users, can leverage location-based marketing to capitalize on the quickly growing mobile ad market. Using geo-fencing technology, retailers are able to target Rogers wireless users in close proximity to their stores with personalized and timely offers.

?The benefits of a carrier program like Rogers Alerts is that it deepens their relationship with subscribers which reduces churn and opens up a new revenue stream from advertising,? said Alistair Goodman, CEO of Placecast, San Francisco.

?Mobile offers programs also provide a way for carriers to begin to monetize their highly valuable subscriber data on an anonymized basis,? he said.

?Whether through SMS or display, carrier data for ad targeting gives advertisers another strong mobile option to complement programs like Google and Facebook; and unlike these services which require an app, carrier programs can take advantage of location from the network, so the alerts work on any feature or smartphone without anything running on the phone. This is key for advertisers to get the reach and scale they require for their campaigns.?

The Rogers Alerts program is powered by Placecast?s ShopAlerts platform.

Finding new opportunities
As more users embrace free instant messaging applications, the amount of time spent on SMS and MMS messaging is expected to decline over the next few years, putting pressure on wireless carriers? revenues.

To address the issue, carriers are increasingly exploring new revenue-generating opportunities, such as advertising.

For the Rogers Alerts program, SMS messages will be sent to subscribers who have signed up to receive offers and who are located within a geo-fence created by the retailer.

Other brands participating in the Rogers program include A&W and Second Cup.

While this is the first such service from a major carrier in Canada, according to Placecast. AT&T has offered a similar program for the past couple of years.

Relevant offers
As mobile adoption grows, users are increasingly interested in signing up to receive promotions and product offers on their smartphones.

Delivering offers for nearby retailers increases the relevancy for users and the likelihood that they will act on an offer.

When registering for the Rogers program, subscribers can customize content preferences so special offers are prioritized and targeted to their personal shopping and retail preferences.

The challenge for wireless carriers in a program such as this is making subscribers aware of the program and encouraging them to sign up.

This is why Rogers is promoting the launch by offering wireless customers who text the keyword RALERTS to the short code 5050 $5 Canadian dollars off their next Rogers Wireless bill.

?In our four-plus years of running programs like this, we have found that consumers really see the value in getting offers based on where they are and their preferences ? consumers in Placecast programs see offers programs as getting more valuable over time, and they think more positively about the wireless carrier bringing them the service,? Mr. Goodman said.

?We also see low opt-out rates, and often times, consumers ask for more messages,? he said.

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