Mobile phone providers Sprint, Nextel, and GPShopper have teamed up to launch a service that uses the web and global positioning technology to guide shoppers to products they want and the local stores that carry them. It utilizes web based cell phones.
The service is a new version of GPShopper's Slifter application, which consumers can download from the web to their cell phones. Slifter is connected via the web to databases that let shoppers search more than 85 million products, available at more than 30,000 retail stores nationwide.
By entering a keyword like blue jeans, for example, a phone equipped with Slifter will produce a list of the closest retail stores that carry blue jeans. It will also provide information on price and current availability. Retailers bid on keywords to have their stores appear in search rankings, which also take into account a store's geographic location.
"With Slifter from GPShopper, Sprint customers can use their phones to find the closest retailer to purchase a desired item, without needing to check a phone book, Internet listing, or map," said George Ranallo, Director of Wireless Data Applications for Sprint.
The global positioning version of Slifter is currently available only for Sprint mobile phones. It adds an extra monthly fee of $1.99 to the bill. It differs from the standard Slifter application by automatically identifying a shopper's geographic location and providing more accurate listings of products and retail stores, according to a GPShopper spokeswoman.
The version of Slifter that is not GPS enabled is available for other wireless services, and requires a shopper to first enter a zip code. GPShopper said the company expects other wireless carriers to eventually offer a global positioning version of Slifter.
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