Cellfire: Shopping By Phone Just Got A Little Easier

Living in the fast-paced world of drop-offs, drive-thrus and pickups (as perhaps anyone with mobile and/or text-messaging capabilities already knows) I don't know where I would be...without my cell phone.

A day late, a dollar short and probably lost...no doubt.

If you enjoy the convenience of shopping online -- not to mention appreciate an opportunity to save a buck, or two -- you may want to consider a new service that allows you to carry your coupons with you...on your cell phone!

What is it?

Cellfire is software for your cell phone. Install it and you'll have access to coupons for a growing number of great restaurants, stores, entertainment venues and more.

How does it work?

Store the coupon(s) in your phone, press the "use now" button when you are in the store or restaurant, show the "coupon code" to the cashier and...BAM!...you're done.

Is this a deal, or what!?!

Cellfire is free -- but, the cost of downloading the software and coupons depends on your normal carrier charges -- and a limited number of retailers currently offer coupons:

Bath & Body Works
Carlson Travel
Hollywood Video
North Beach Pizza
Pizz'a Chicago
Red Rock Coffee

The idea of getting my savings sent to me, electronically, sounds interesting and simple enough -- coupons expiring and missing out on "sales blow-out" events, as we speak -- but, are you ready for "mobile marketing?"

The New York Times reported on Text2Buy (read: Paypal goes mobile) a service being offered currently through magazine ads and seems to be some sort of experiment that advertisers and media companies are hoping consumers will buy:

The magazine, Lucky, will offer readers of its September issue a chance to send text messages from their mobile phones to buy merchandise from 18 marketers and retailers, which include Avon, Liz Claiborne, Estée Lauder, L'Oréal, Target and Unilever.

The program, called "Live Buy It," uses a service from the PayPal unit of eBay known as PayPal Mobile Text2Buy.


If you see something you like, but you're still not sure - no problem - you can even text-message your request for a sample!

Apparently, mobile marketing is a hot trend right now and has the potential of becoming the new black -- especially when it comes to profits -- as Online Media Daily's Susan Kuchinskas blogs about companies, like Procter & Gamble, that are thinking about going wireless...about bad breath, seriously:

Hot-to-trot scenesters could check their “Irresistibility IQs� from mobile phones in this summer promotion, which also tied into a TV, print, and Web campaign. Ads on bar napkins and bathroom signs invited party animals to text the words “IQ� or “Extreme� to C-R-E-S-T.

I love text-messaging as much as the next person...standing near someone really nice-looking at the bar...yet, I can't imagine how a crowd of cell phones going off and people yelling, "Dude...smell my breath," can be anything more, than annoying:

“We wanted to reach consumers in a place where they are really thinking about fresh breath, in an intense social situation, so it made sense to connect with them through mobile phones,� says Kevin Buss, interactive product manager for P&G Oral Care.

“This campaign reaches them in places where they’re receptive to the message. It’s a fun way to interact with the consumer.�

I don't know -- I don't think I like the idea of companies advertising to kids on my 12 year old's cell phone -- then again, it is an opt-in choice at the moment, with a quick touch of button on my cell phone and having access to a coupon like this:

Bath & Body Works - Free Signature Collection Body Lotion

With any purchase.

Available to all Cellfire users in the United States.

Valid thru August 23, 2006

Free Signature Collection body lotion (up to $9.50 value).

Perhaps, as more merchants participate and carriers sign on (Cellfire is currently only available to Cingular customers) it certainly has the potential of being a useful service...afterall.

I could live with more of that - couldn't you?