A Bend company launched a free app Tuesday that takes the paper punch cards and coupons provided by local retailers and puts them onto iPhones.
“The reason why we are doing this is because we all enjoy Oregon and the outdoors, and it makes us sick to think of all the trees that are being clear cut for coupons and punch cards,” said Bud Torcom, director of sales and marketing for CQpon.
For the last nine months, the company has distributed cards depicting question marks and QR codes to restaurants and stores around Bend. Scanning the quick-response code leads to an e-coupon. But the app, currently available at the Apple Store and expected to be released for Android in November, will help phase out the paper card.
Both serve the same goal: to draw customers into local businesses with coupons, Torcom said. But the app reduces the bulge in your billfold.
“Basically, this creates loyalty for all these businesses in Bend — big time,” he said. “We are talking about having 170 punch cards, and if that were to be in your wallet, your wallet would be exploding with punch cards. ... And then you top that off with 170 coupons.”
The company started in August 2012. So far, more than 200 businesses throughout the state have signed up for CQpon, including dental offices, day cares and restaurants. Torcom would like to expand nationwide and hire representatives across the country.
Businesses pay $40 a month, plus an additional setup fee. A company receives and manages a custom coupon, an electronic punch card and once-a-week notifications to send announcements of specials and events to consumers. The app shows those consumers the participating CQpon businesses within 50 miles on a map and provides them with social media links to engage with them.
Unlike other e-coupon companies, Torcom said, CQpon is one of the first apps to combine a punch card with a coupon for multiple businesses, not just one.
“If every business created its own app, then your phone would becomes as flooded as your wallet used to be,” he said.
CQpon is also working on an update that includes notifications to alert consumers when they are within 100 feet of a business for which they have a punch card or coupon.
“How many times have you gone to a coffee place and ordered your coffee and drove home and forgot to get your punch?” he said. “(The app) will vibrate (your phone) and remind you when you go into that coffee place that, 'Hey, you have a punch card here.'”