Getting deals with your cell phone

SEEN THIS MORNING
September 4, 2008 6:35:48 AM PDT
How many times have you found out about a great deal after the fact? Or clipped a coupon only to lose it? Now, you can find bargains on things like restaurants, spas and Broadway shows, and you don't have to remember to bring your coupon. All you need is a cell phone. Friends Jessica Arcos and Antonia Bernal are about to save a few bucks at 16 Handles in Manhattan. When they buy one yogurt treat, they'll get the other for free.

But there's no paper coupon.

Arcos and Bernal will redeem this deal from a cellphone.

"I love the easy use of the text messaging," Bernal said. "You show your phone instead of printing out a coupon."

Arcos says she gets lots of discounts this way.

"I've gotten manicures, I've gotten pedicures, I've gotten my eyebrows threaded," she said.

The two-for-one coupon was texted from 8Coupons.com.

The start-up was co-founded by Landy Ung to help people find great deals in their neighborhoods.

The Web site has weekly promotions for local businesses in Manhattan, including restaurants, spas and Broadway shows.

There's also the Ocho Loco coupons that feature $.08 deals on things like hot dogs, beers and falafel sandwiches sold at Snacklicious.

"It's good for me that people who never tried our falafel, they come and they try it," owner Redwan Farran said. "And for them, eight cents is basically for free."

Participating merchants pay a monthly fee. In return, they get new customers.

"Just about everybody has a cellphone," 16 Handles owner Solomon Choi said. "So I thought, what a great way to market to someone because they usually have a cellphone."

The site is easy to use. Just click on a coupon, type in a phone number and cell phone provider, then wait for the text message.

You can also get special deal alerts from your favorite hangouts.

Right now, the site has coupons for places in Lower Manhattan. But by year's end, it will include merchants in all five boroughs. And there are plans to take it nationwide.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Lucy Yang

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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