A new smart phone app created by two Lancaster University students enables discounts and offers to be sent directly to students walking close to businesses on campus.
The software sends deals, vouchers and discounts specifically targeted at students who are within a short walk – 75 metres – of 25 Lancaster University campus shops, bars or cafés, by making use of the GPS technology within smart phones.
Although apps that make offers and discounts available to users are not new, NotifU is unique because it makes use of phones' positioning technology.
The NotifU app is the creation of Tom Young, 20, an entrepreneurship and management student, and Filip Sobiecki, 19, a second year business studies student. They have received more than £40,000 from start-up investors Oxford Technology Management to develop the app.
Following an agreement with Lancaster University Students' Union, offers available through the existing Purple Card will also be highlighted through the app – though cards will still need to be presented.
Tom Young, who is originally from Tameside near Manchester, said: “The design of NotifU has been a long process. The business’ target market, goals and the actual technology changed constantly to the ever changing demand for proximity marketing tools.
"The emergence of proximity marketing is quite new, but over the next few years we will see retailers utilising a number of different technologies within this field – such as geofencing, iBeacons, and Bluetooth. It’s an important development as retailers can directly target consumers inside and outside of their stores when the consumer is nearby. It works very much as a relationship manager, building the bridge between brand and consumer.
"We decided to create a niche app for deals just aimed at students, one that is free for users and will always be free. Being a student, I always want to find those drinks deals. If I can find a bar with a 2-4-1 offer I'd be straight at the bar!"
The app includes a map and directions of how to find the offers and vouchers – which can be shared with friends through social networking platforms.
Although Lancaster students might not need the map to find their nearest university coffee hit – it is indicative of the pair's ambition to roll out their app to businesses across Lancaster so students can also benefit from deals off campus. They are also in talks with other universities to make NotifU available for people studying in other cities.
As well as bringing benefits for students using the app, it also enables small businesses with limited budgets to reach a digital audience with their products and services.
NotifU is currently available to download on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/notifu/id930123020?ls=1&mt=8, with an Android version in development, and more information is available by visiting www.notifu.co.uk