Friday, January 20, 2012

QR Codes Make Sure You Always Get Your Perx

Unlike Ruth, I am part of the 5%. This summer I developed an unhealthy addiction to QR codes, and whipped out my iPhone every chance I spotted one--living in New York City, where every surface is potential ad space, my QR-code scanner got a lot of action. I became fascinated by the power held by this geometric black-and-white square--where was it going to take me? A website? A YouTube video? The excitement of discovering a new QR code and the subsequent surprise only fed my addiction.

I certainly agree with Ruth's frustrations regarding QR codes. Unfortunately, many marketers have developed the habit of thoughtlessly slapping a QR code on all consumer-facing communications. Nothing is more frustrating than being directed to a non-mobile-enhanced site, and don't get me started on QR codes in underground subway stations--if I can't make a phone call underground, how do you expect me to access 3G?! Frustrations aside, I still believe that intelligent and effective usage of QR codes provides a beautiful consumer experience.

Take, for example, a new iPhone app called Perx, which stores all of your loyalty program cards into one clean and convenient space. Isn't it the worst when you realize if you had your loyalty card you could get that tenth ice cream cone for free? With Perx, you no longer need to carry around the world's thickest wallet or key ring to get rewarded for your purchase. Users subscribe to their favorite merchants' loyalty programs directly on the app. When making a purchase, users just scan a QR code provided by the merchant with the QR-code scanner contained directly in the app and automatically get recognized for their purchase. Although participating merchants are currently only in Singapore (the app's creator Maiplay Pte. is located in Singapore), with merchants like Dunkin' Donuts and Subway, there's potential for the app to make it big in the US. See this video to learn more about how the app works:

Perx from Perx on Vimeo.

Perx is an example of an intelligent use of QR codes, and really takes advantage of the smartphone's best qualities: convenience, mobility, and easy access. If you're like me, I hate when my wallet is too fat (although, as a poor college student, I certainly welcome cash) and I constantly take out gift cards, loyalty cards, and other random papers so it can fit comfortably in my pocket. With Perx, users don't have to worry about leaving loyalty cards at home because they are contained right within their smartphone, which they always will have with them. Moreover, Perx provides for a swift checkout--you no longer have to search through every pocket to find your card and hold up the rest of the line--just load the app during the transaction and you're set to go. Lastly, the stationary transaction allows for an easy QR-code scan. Needless to say I hope this app takes off in the US, and I hope to see a similar one for gift cards in the future!

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