Punchkeeper makes your wallet lighter, but in a good way.
We now live in a world where there’s an app for everything. If you have a smartphone, you can find an app to do just about anything you want. You can play games, make fart noises, play the vuvuzela, the sky is the limit. Very rarely do we come across an app that is actually useful in your day to day life. Mostly, we just use them to waste time.
Punchkeeper is one of those useful apps.
Punchkeeper is a Seattle-based startup that was founded on one basic principle: Carrying around a lot of punchcards really sucks. We have all, at some point, cleaned out our wallets or purses to find punch cards galore. Coffee shops, sandwich shops, bakeries, boutiques – everybody loves taking advantage of the loyalty that can be inspired by giving stuff away. It creates regular customers, and more importantly, raving fans who will not only come back over and over, but who will tell everyone they know about your shop.
Punchcards can be a burden, at least if you’re like me – forgetful – you never remember to bring your punchcards with you, forget you have them, etc. At one point, I had five punchcards from my favorite bakery, each with only one punch out of them. They said I could combine them if I brought them all in, but who can remember stuff like that?
Punchkeeper solves that. Imagine being able to have all of your punchcards stored in an app, and simply scanning a QR code in order to get your loyalty points, discounts, etc. If you own a smartphone, it’s probably always with you, so you’ll never be without your punchcard.
There are even more exciting benefits for the retailers out there. Punchkeeper allows you to monitor and reward customer loyalty, doesn’t require you to purchase any hardware, and – best of all – it’s absolutely free until you sign up your 50th customer, and then only $29/month after that.
“The story of Punchkeeper is pretty simple – it began with my co-founders – developer Jon Ohrt and designer Matty Mitchell – going out to lunch every day and commenting on how much they hated carrying punch cards.” – Val Trask, Business Development, Punchkeeper
Jon Orht, Matty Mitchell, and Val Trask realized that they could do something about this problem, and started developing both the app and the business components to go with it. They ended up being finalists in a local business plan competition, and launched the app last summer.
It’s a small, tight knit team, who seem to have a lot of fun, even in dealing with challenges, according to Trask, “What’s wonderful about a startup is that we’re forced to evolve fast and learn faster. What’s challenging about a startup is that we’re forced to evolve fast and learn faster.”
Finally, Punchkeeper is able to remain innovative because of their reliance on customer feedback. Trask states, “We’ve been talking to business owners, managers, employees, and everyone we can find with a cell phone since before we even started building the app, and continue to incorporate feedback into every phase of development.
At some point I started joking that it takes a village to start an app like this, but it’s really true. Feedback literally drives all aspects of our business from which features are added next to which business owners we call. It all sounds pretty formal but I can’t tell you how many people have heard about our app, pulled out a wad of cards and begged me to make the appropriate phone calls.
Some of our best ideas have come from people in passing saying, “You know what would be awesome…” In my experience that’s usually how great things begin – Punchkeeper being no exception.”
Punchkeeper is a great app, and a great company. Their open, feedback-based approach to development should keep them competitive in what is a tough market that many much larger companies are trying to corner. Thanks to Val Trask for being so gracious and taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for this cool new company.