I know I’m not the only one with a stack of punchcards
Let’s say you have a job where you don’t have an office, but you need to spend a lot of time on a computer with Internet access. Like, maybe you write a blog or something. Well, then you may very well be drowning in customer appreciation punchcards.
Punchkeeper intends to change that. The brainchild of developer Jon Ohrt and designer Matty Mitchell, Seattle U MBA student Val Trask is forming the concept into a business that has recently launched in beta on the Hill. Po Dog Hot Dogs at 10th and Union is the first — and only –business signed up, but hundreds others have expressed interest, said Trask.
“We wanted to keep it really local with some place funky and fun,” said Trask of the choice to start with Po Dogs. “I’m in love with Capitol Hill, so it’s exciting to start off on the Hill.”
Po Dog, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.
Here’s how Punchkeeper works. Android and iPhone users can download the free Punchkeeper app (WIndows Mobile coming soon, they say). When you make a purchase, the employee at the register will show you a barcode instead of punching your card. Open the Punchkeeper app and scan the barcode with your phone’s camera. Here’s the Android download and here’s the app for iPhone. ( CHS also has an iPhone app — download it here. Purple Robot *swears* our Android version is coming soon.)
The app will give you a digital punch, like this:
That’s it. It takes about as long as punching a card, but the service provides far more information to the participating business. Instead of simply punching a bunch of cards and sending them out into the wind, Punchkeeper can track customer age, gender and whether people are returning after their first punch.
“Our app offers demographic information,” said Trask. Businesses that sign up for the service would pay $25 per month for a basic service or $45 for a premium service that offers more information. The first couple months will be free to try once Punchkeeper expands beyond the initial beta test phase. It will be another week or so until more businesses are added, said Trask. You can recommend a Hill business for the service on the front page of their website.
Punchkeeper is in the final round of a UW business plan competition, and the finalists will be announced at the end of May and receive cash prizes. Whether or not they get a cash prize, Trask is dedicated to moving the project forward and expanding.
“I’m graduating in a month, and I’m not even applying for any other jobs,” she said. “So I’m banking on it.”