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Meijer’s Mealbox attracts thousands

BY Alaric DeArment

CHICAGO A new service offered by Midwest big-box chain Meijer that allows customers to create online shopping lists has proven an even bigger success than it originally anticipated.

Thousands of customers have begun using Mealbox, and 50 percent of users have redeemed their coupons. Developed by a principal at e-commerce firm Fry Inc., Mealbox is a widget on Meijer’s Web site that lets users browse products and recipes while digitally offering coupons for any products that have them. Users can then print out the coupons, which come with barcodes.

Meijer, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., operates stores in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky.

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Cellyspace.com enables consumers to recieve product-specific text messages from retailers

BY Alaric DeArment

BOSTON Shoppers at retail stores may soon start receiving messages from stores where they shop, thanks to a new application from Skycore, a company that develops multimedia messaging services.

Retailers and brands will be able to market to customers by sending multimedia coupons, product reviews and other content to their cell phones while they’re in the stores through Skycore’s point-of-purchase application on Cellyspace.com.

In a typical implementation, customers would type in a keyword for a product and receive an automated message about it in their text-message inboxes. Markets would create the messages using Cellyspace’s online composition tool, with up to eight slides of images, audio or video and 4,000 characters of text.

Cellyspace is an online service and does not require a contract or special infrastructure to use. Instead, marketers pay 20 cents per message.

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Father’s Day sales look to be slower this season

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK It looks as though dad might have to do without this year.

Sales of some expensive items for Father’s Day are down this year because of the lackluster economy, according to consumer research firm BrandKeys Inc.

In a survey, BrandKeys found that 90 percent of consumers—a 7 percent increase over last year—planned to buy their fathers greeting cards. At the same time, however, the number of planned purchases of computers was too insignificant to even make the list.

Overall, the numbers of consumers planning to buy gifts are down by 7 percent, from last year’s 77 percent.

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