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Popeye?s, Borders, OshKosh B?gosh offer mobile coupons

Brands including Firestone, Hollywood Video, Popeye's, Borders and OshKosh B'gosh are distributing coupons via smartphone applications.

Mobile coupons from these brands are being distributed by Mobiqpons Inc., which already has an iPhone application and recently launched its application for shoppers with handsets running on Google's Android operating system. Mobiqpons aggregates offers from location-based businesses and matches them to the consumer-selected preferences of smartphone shoppers.

"Brands' primary strategy is to try our mobile couponing because they know that there is a first-mover advantage for getting into a channel early and learning as it evolves," said Navneet Aron, CEO of Mobiqpons, Mountain View, CA. "Many stores would like to be able to connect the online browsing -- but not buying -- behaviors of their shoppers to an actual in-store purchase.

"Mobiqpons can really help them out by connecting the online offer to in-store redemption," he said. "Mobiqpons helps businesses increase their engagement with customers by delivering personalized offers in a low risk, easy to use and set up manner."

Shoppers can get Mobiqpons as a free download from Apple's iTunes or Google's Android Market application stores.

The Mobiqpons iPhone application is already in the Top 100 of the Lifestyle category on iTunes, and was recently released for Android.

Bridgestone's Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. distributes various mobile coupons' via Mobiqpon's applications, including a "Buy 2 tires and get one free" offer.

Similarly, Hollywood Video has run a "Rent 2 movies, get another movie free" promotion using Mobiqpon's mobile couponing apps.

Quick-serve restaurant Popeye's tapped Mobiqpons for a mobile couponing campaign offering free two-piece chicken dinners.

Bookstore chain Borders regularly offers 20 percent discount coupons via Mobiqpons' apps, as well as special birthday offers for regular customers who share specific data.

OshKosh B'gosh, a children's apparel company specializing in bib overalls, has distributed various mobile coupons via Mobiqpons, including "20 percent off your next purchase of $50 or more."

With more than 1 billion applications served, the iPhone has changed how people use and relate to their phones.

Mobiqpons provides a way for shoppers to receive and redeem offers from location-based stores, restaurants and businesses using their smartphone.

The company offers a new channel for promotional offer distribution for all location-based merchants who are looking for new cost-effective ways to bring in additional customers and encourage existing ones to come back more often.

The mobile advertising market is growing at 35 percent year-to-year.

The popularity of online coupon distribution sites continues to increase, and the shift of shoppers from print to online to mobile is well underway, according to Mobiqpons.

The opportunity to engage with shoppers in a more personal and convenient way on their smartphones is evident, but the number of businesses currently engaging in search-driven mobile advertising is still relatively small, according to Mobiqpons.

Shoppers are often away from home -- and away from their PC -- when they remember that they need to buy something.

With Mobiqpons, they can look for offers at nearby store by category.

Shoppers can use MobiQpons to decide which store to go to, based on the offer or other loyalty factors, and then can also use MobiQpons to find the address and phone number of the store.

"Initially our [partner] stores will distribute offers that they are also distributing in other channels like online coupons that can be printed and walked in," Mr. Aron said. "What is different in this channel is that the phone user quickly customizes MobiQpons with favorites and we can tell by device how popular a particular store or offer is."

Stores can then create targeted offers that are customized to the preferences of the consumer.

"Right now this is a new channel for stores, so they are primarily experimenting," Mr. Aron said. "MobiQpons gives them a low-risk way to begin building a mobile engagement.

Mobiqpons applications detect when a shopper is a specific store location, and changes the flow of the application to allow for coupon redemption.

When the shopper is ready to buy the item, they show their phone to the cashier, who either scans the bar code or types in the coupon code.

MobiQpons provides APIs and Web portals for businesses to add, manage and track their offers.

Additionally, many large brand-name retailers already distribute offers using data feeds today, and MobiQpons can leverage their existing investment.

MobiQPons has plans to support other smartphone platforms in addition to iPhone and Android.

"Our Blackberry application is coming out soon," Mr. Aron said. "We plan on supporting other major smartphone platforms as well later this year."