Pushkart uses QR Codes

Yesterday, I was in a local fast food restaurant and noticed this point of sale (POS) sign, which is from a new company called Pushkart.

Pushkart QR Code
Pushkart, which will officially launch in a few weeks, describes themselves as an easy and cost-effective way to offer customers exclusive Deals on their mobile devices and computers. When a customer uses Pushkart at a retail location, the retail company's message is posted to the customer's social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, creating word-of-mouth viral exposure for the company.

Currently, the Pushkart app and barcode platform only works with iPhones but, come November, the company will be up and running on Android and Blackberry mobile devices as well.

In speaking with Dan Shifrin, SVP Business Development, he said that QR codes were considered from the very beginning, and for two reasons. First, QR codes seem to be on their way of becoming the standard here in the U.S. versus other more proprietary types of codes, and second, by way of the codes they can verify that an actual transaction was made, which helps to differentiate Pushkart from other similar "Deal making" companies. Mr. Shifrin also said that the company offers QR codes to merchants in their system, which they in turn can use for local advertising and other marketing collateral.

The one hangup I have about how the company makes use of and presents QR codes is that on their website they choose to link the term "QR Code" to a Wikipedia page rather than keeping people on their site and explaining QR codes in their own words. Going as far as they have to build their website and collateral, I would like to believe they could find someone to write a paragraph or two on the technology. 

Overall, it's refreshing to see 2D technology being used outside the realm of product-based magazine and billboard advertising. Pushkart is already in a number of select cities across the country and will add to them over time.


  1. Leading with a product intended for mass use via an iPhone app is a strategy that is highly risky. Even if they can add Android, quickly, they still are only reaching a small percentage of the overall phone market. Few build for Blackberry (it's a hassle) Symbian continues to have market share (while we all wait to see what happens with Meego).

    The point is, currently, a proprietary iPhone campaign can only reach, at most, apx. 8% of the public. In an iPhone intensive environment (say, East Village or Palo Alto), maybe you skew to double that, on a good day. That leaves 85-92% left out.

    This app looks fairly simple from a tech standpoint and seems as though it could have been mobile web based and accessible by any phone with a QR Reader onboard or via MMS and a data plan (which would have been nearly 50% of all phones and 90% of aggressive mobile users)?

    It's a nice idea, but, by the time they can reach and satisfy a large enough number to make this seem friendly to the general public?

    I was in an AT&T store yesterday. If you watch the customers, most play with the iPhone but move on to purchase something else. It's a niche market and even with Verizon (mid-late 2011), it has an awful lot of competition and is projected to top out at 10% of total mobile devices, max.

  2. I see this QR code, I use my QR Reader on it, what happens?


    I need a combined proprietary App/Reader only available for iPhone?

    While you reference the company stating they went with the emerging "standard" (QR) have they effectively bastardized it by making it unreadable with a QR Reader?

    It would be great to see some follow-up from the company on this. I don't want to be unfair to them if I've completely misread (no pun intended) their offering?

    Using a QR Tag in association with proprietary Apps is a slippery slope that will likely result in a lot of user frustration and disappointment. I understand the value of the proposition they offer, but, worry about this fracturing of the public grasp of what a QR symbol indicates as a course of action.

    If a QR symbol can't be read by a QR Reader, should it be used at all? Or, should a proprietary image be used? Is this a misuse of open source tools that will set everyone back two giant steps?

    I look forward to seeing comments from the company to these points.

  3. Thank you both for commenting. I plan to follow-up with the company to see how the official launch goes. Yes, it would not have made sense to only offer the product to iPhone users and how they plan to offer and announce the app for Android and Blackberry I am uncertain. Stay tuned.