By Kelli B. Grant
One daily email offer of half-priced deals on local restaurants, gyms and other attractions is exciting. Dozens of emails, as the number of sites making such offers multiplies, is overwhelming — and T-Mobile wants you to know that it feels your pain.
The carrier launched a free Android app today that cherry-picks deals from LivingSocial and other deal sites, based on your location and interests. T-Mobile says the More for Me app will be available on other platforms this summer, with a free text-message option for flip-phone owners who don’t have access to apps. The app isn’t exclusively available to T-Mobile subscribers, although they stand to benefit most: the carrier plans to include offers on its own products and services.
Sites that pull together offers from a slew of daily deal providers aren’t particularly new, nor are aggregator apps that match users’ location with the limited-time-only offers: iPhone and Android users can use The DealMap, and there’s 8Coupons.com for iPhone owners. But shoppers have gotten more interested as the daily deal market swells, says Jack Vonder Heide, the president of Technology Briefing Centers. “Consumers are overwhelmed, looking at all the emails,” he says. Aggregators provide a way to unsubscribe from the deluge but still get the deals.
But the T-Mobile app could be more useful for on-the-spot buying than its competitors, since partner LivingSocial is one of the few sites offering deals that can be used instantly, rather than making shoppers wait a day. The app could also eventually give consumers the ability to charge deal purchases directly to their wireless account, instead of needing to pull out a credit card.
All this convenience can have repercussions. A smaller, cultivated selection of deals could make you more apt to buy, says Utpal Dholakia, an associate professor of management at Rice University. Keep in mind, too, that many of the sites and apps pulling deals together have exclusive arrangements with one or more of the biggest sites, meaning you could find deals from either Groupon or LivingSocial, but rarely both. For someone hunting for the best daily deals, one-stop shopping is still a ways away.