Citi today debuted its CitiShopper application, which provides information about offers and deals from local retailers. I tried this out on my iPhone. I typed in the site URL (http://citishopper.citi.com/mp), then my office zip code. Up popped a list of Local Deals, each followed by an exclamation point, as in "This refrigerator is perfect for your home!" CitiShopper suggested I purchase a $600 red microfiber sofa at a Wal-Mart in Secaucus (a bit of a hike from 19th Street in Manhattan), a $500 refrigerator from the Best Buy on 23rd and Sixth Avenue (which is close to the office), and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, also at Best Buy (which I happened to love, eerily enough, although I wouldn't want to buy it).When I enter the zip code of my suburban home, Citi's recommendations get more exotic and intriguing: a pink leather holster with swivel belt clip (at first, I thought this was for a gun, then I realized it was for a BlackBerry) from an online computer store called Computers4SURE that starts at $16.95, and a 60 x 80 (feet? inches?) St. Louis Cardinals "Big Stitching, Super-Plush Throw" ($45.99) from the Wal-Mart in White Plains. These are creative and completely unexpected suggestions.
Citi's clearly trying to interject itself into consumers' mobile shopping activities so that it can encourage them to use Citi credit and debit cards for such purchases. With more local data and a way to search for specific types of products, CitiShopper probably could help the bank pick up some card volume.