Shopping by satellite

Bargain hunters will love this new application that gives real-time information and location of specific discounts.20 Jun 2000 - Say you're trolling the local mall for bargains.

Bargain hunters will love this new application that gives real-time information and location of specific discounts.

20 Jun 2000 - Say you're trolling the local mall for bargains. No need to wander from store to store anymore: A new service will notify you by Web-enabled phone or PDA about specific discounts based on your exact whereabouts at that moment.

GeePS.com (www.geeps.com), in testing in New York and San Francisco, combines Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technologies to deliver a geographically localized shopping service. It will be accessible over the Internet, initially through WAP phones, Palm PDAs, and Windows CE devices. Later you'll be able to use it on Internet-enabled pagers and other wireless devices capable of displaying HTML.

The service will let its users, known as GeePSters, to browse or search, using their cell phones, for coupons and discounts offered by stores in their physical vicinity. A half-mile radius is probably the most effective, but users can adjust that radius to suit their preferences, says Andy Goren, CEO of GeePS.com.

Local merchants within range then alert GeePSters to special deals, or provide other shopping aids such as price comparisons among merchants. The user then goes to a store to get the goods, and the transaction is completed using the phone or PDA, with charges billed to the user's credit card.

The aim of this shopping scenario? "To bring to brick-and-mortar retailers the same advantage that e-commerce brought to e-tailers—dynamic interaction between consumers and retailers," Goren says.

GeePS.com should see a national rollout by September and international availability by year's end. Business travelers are expected to be the first major users, with gadget fans coming in a close second. The company hopes to sign on at least 100,000 merchants this year and 1 million merchants by next year, according to Goren.

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