Pirq expands mobile social marketing platform for small biz

The Seattle-based startup plans to take its mobile rewards and loyalty platform for local businesses nationwide.


It takes a titanium-clad set of cojones to use "instantly amazing" as your tagline, but hey -- when you're a startup, bold is de rigueur.

Seattle-based startup Pirq has, until now, largely focused on bring mobile deals to Seattle-area businesses -- specifically, restaurants and other local shops. The idea: encourage customers to be more loyal by offering them discounts, perks or other incentives via their mobile phones. (It's also a good way to drum up business during slow hours, days or seasons.)

This concept is immensely popular and hyped right now -- Groupon and LivingSocial are already experiencing backlash, with backlash-to-the-backlash coming next -- but Pirq is trying to differentiate itself by focusing on the data. 

In its own words:

Pirq's current SmartYield program automatically and intelligently adjusts mobile deals in real-time to maximize a business’s off-peak and peak hours, which helps deliver new customers and increase profit for the business. The new additions to the SmartYield program include a digital punch card as well as a new frequency component, which complement Pirq' existing yield management program.

Today's announcement takes the Seattle-Bellevue experiment and scales it to the rest of the United States.

Here's how it works:

  1. Step one, implement a "digital punch card" that tracks loyalty (and gives rewards) via a mobile app.
  2. Step two, try to increase customer frequency by making targeted offers directly to customers' mobile phones -- for example, shortly after a visit.
  3. Step three, standardize success by setting deals at specific times of the day to increase off-peak business.

In a crowded market, can CEO James Sun succeed? It comes down to business basics: if he can find a way to offer something of true value to small businesses, he'll be well on his way. The high-profile flameouts of Groupon et al are a double-edged sword: "deals" may be a term tinged with too much hype, but the market is still anybody's to win.


You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All