With more and more F&B outlets providing more options to consumers, it gets increasingly harder for these businesses to retain customer loyalty. To help sustain business, most F&B operators have taken drastic measures in offering customers unique discounts. This has provided a huge opportunity for startups to capitalize on, and recently we have seen an increase in the number of mobile loyalty apps such as Perx, around!, Squiryl, and most recently, Pouch. Joining the list is Pirq, a U.S. based company that has just set up a base in Malaysia.
What is Pirq?
Pirq is a location-based smartphone application that enables users to discover quality deals from selected restaurants and cafés in real time. Users receive a 20% to 50% discount off their entire bill. Unlike Groupon, no advance payment is required, which minimizes wasted coupons. Unlike other mobile loyalty apps, where users can only enjoy discounts after collecting a certain number of points, Pirq offers instant discounts to users.
Other than that, Pirq has developed the trademarked SmartYield technology that automatically and intelligently schedules deals for the restaurant. It recognizes when a restaurant is busy and when it is not, then automatically makes real-time adjustments to the amount of offers available to maximize customer traffic during both off-peak and peak hours.
Malaysia is Pirq’s first international expansion; Singapore is next
Pirq is new to the region, having only recently expanded their business into the Asia-Pacific region, with Malaysia being its key market and only office in the region. The team of four in Malaysia is currently focusing on merchants acquisition. Pirq also shared with us that Malaysia is chosen as their first choice of international expansion due to its cultural diversity and vibrant food and lifestyle culture. For foodies in Singapore, Pirq promises availability soon. “You can expect Singapore as the next country due to its proximity, English speaking consumer market, and number of restaurants. Also both countries share a similar passion for food!, shared Pirq CEO James Sun.
Competitive advantage of Pirq
When asked about Pirq’s competitive advantage, James shared that they focus on strategic partnership with local players.
“Our R&D is based out of the United States, and we support PIRQ Malaysia with all the resources to stay ahead of the game. In the US, we currently have a solution that is ahead of the competition. Our strategy of working with a local strategic partner as a joint venture; rather than doing on our own gives us the local presence, commitment, and most importantly local market knowledge which is key to any business.”
Pirq is confident in capturing the hearts of consumers in Southeast Asia
According to James, Pirq offers a huge advantage above other group buying sites.
“Consumers love deals, but some get burned by ‘daily deals’ that don’t get used, especially food and service deals that expire. Pirq is an innovative, location-based 100% smartphone application with no need for printed coupons and without the hassle of tracking expiry dates on coupons, and Pirq does not charge upfront and there’s no pre-purchase required. This is going to be a huge advantage in SE Asia.”
Pirq Malaysia CEO Benson Tan added that Pirq has a high merchant retention rate.
“Building brand loyalty is something that all businesses strive towards. However with Pirq, it becomes very easy for those businesses to do so and track their existing and new customers being sent to them everyday. In fact, merchant retention in the US for Pirq is as high as 85%, with many merchants still participating and benefiting 11 months on.”
According to TechCrunch, Pirq has recently raised an extra US$ 1.2 million in funding from existing investor Rally Capital, increasing the total funding amount to US$ 3.2 million. It is currently adding a digital punchcard to its retail restaurant deals offering, as it prepares to take the service nationwide and to other categories besides food.