Social Passport Goes After Retailers and Consumers with Its Own Take on Loyalty Cards and Deals

11/28/11Follow @jpruth

New York’s Social Passport wants to appeal to retailers and restaurateurs who are not quite sold on the other check-in deal programs on the market. CEO David Merel founded the startup last December and brought his company’s technology out of beta this October. Thus far Social Passport has raised some $350,000 from angel investors, and Merel says the company wants to take in upwards of $3 million to fuel its expansion into more cities.

The daily deals industry currently faces questions about its viability as players such as BuyWithMe wither and are acquired. Merel says the predominant strategy for offering discounts that are not scaled to retailers’ budgets is not cost effective. “There is no way to continuously bring more foot traffic into the store” with that model, he says.

Social Passport says it has a different approach, thanks to technology that brings together several options for businesses to offer discounts and loyalty rewards to their customers. Retailers who use the software can scan their customers’ personal quick response (QR) codes displayed on paper or on their smartphones. These unique codes let the retailer dole out discounts and spread the word across the customers’ social networks. Consumers with smartphones can likewise scan QR codes posted in the store or restaurant to redeem available offers.

Social Passport’s technology can also be used to check-in attendees who bring their QR codes for admission to concerts and tradeshows. These codes can be scanned by smartphones, webcams, and traditional barcode scanners.

Businesses can also use electronic chips supplied by Social Passport … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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