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!! Need some reccs for low-cost or free software solutions for a friend who has a small business

She wants to digitize her punchcard system where customers buy a card in advance, and come into her shop and pick up the stuff and get part of the card crossed off

Any ideas? I am struggling even what to google...

@vickysteeves Not much in the way of an answer but a starting point: MindBody has a feature that allows you to do this for a fitness club. It's got a full retail setup and a customer database. That said, it's not free and also kind of crappy. But maybe useful as a keyword term for finding a free alternative?

@vickysteeves Does she want to keep using physical cards? I had a coffee shop that used that system and we didn’t do anything special aside from ringing them in to a separate department

@vickysteeves I had some ideas about using qr codes and so forth but never did anything with it

@vickysteeves Could try setting up a Mifare NFC system. NFC cards are cheap and can store custom data on them.

@vickysteeves what the beauty salon I go to does is... a table. They just update it and send a print screen via WhatsApp.

There’s gotta be a better solution, though???

@vickysteeves I wonder if a loyalty card app could be used

On paper they’re pretty much the exact same thing

@vickysteeves I believe a Loyalty Program is what you want to search for. Often they're integrated into the existing point of sale system.

In this area, "Free" usually means that the host company finds value by invasively tracking customers. Just something to keep in mind.

My info is a bit out of date, but here are 2 suggestions:

loyalty.whisqr.com/ (There's a fee to print cards, but you can do it yourself.)

loyverse.com/loyalty-program (Part of a full suite of business management tools)

@vickysteeves I can’t speak to software but magnetic stripe readers are a cheap commodity. They even make USB ones that show up as a keyboard. When you swipe a card it “types” out the data.

@vickysteeves You need a database! Each card should have a QR code containing the data, and the database should keep the record of which card has what items crossed. In fact, you could store the entire purchase history: Which day at what time what was bought.

From a consultant's POV, I could tell you that you need a three part system:

a) To print the card/coupons
b) Point-of-sale software to manage the purchases
c) a QR reader to give you the card's id.

But now that I think of it... (cont'd)

@vickysteeves I think what you want is a Point-of-Sale system with support for Gift Cards and Loyalty cards.

So you might want to google this:

* Loyalty card software
* Loyalty software
* Gift card software
* POS software

And I'm sure that something will come up that will fit your needs.

(Note: You might have to spend a few weeks of research for the perfect match)

@rick_777

I think Square and Stripe are the major players in this space.

@vickysteeves

@vickysteeves
Odoo is largely free software and I believe it has all the necessary bits to setup a loyalty program.

However, I must point out that I love the anonymous part of paper loyalty cards and most digitalized solutions will lack this.

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