Austin, Texas-based technology incubator Jutera Labs has just launched Perk, a web browser which enables website visitors to earn points that they can use when purchasing their favorite brands.
Couponing is a practice that right from the beginning caught on very fast with consumers, many of whom are increasingly looking to save money and find deals. This was the starting point for the Jutera Labs team, who have developed a web browser specifically targeting consumers with this mindset. Their Perk browser offers users rewards for conducting site searches using Perk. Rewarding users for their web searches is not exactly new, of course. Microsoft has already tried this approach with Bing, which paid its users to browse using its search engine. However, that initiative did not really succeed in attracting a sufficient number of users. Jutera Labs is taking a similar approach with Perk, a web browser geared specifically to rewarding loyal users and so building a sizeable community of online shoppers, which in turn opens up new opportunities for partnering brands.
An opportunity for brands
Perk’s business model is to offer a win-win situation for loyal users and the brands who sign up to partner with the browser. Users are rewarded every time they surf, search or purchase online. The points that users can earn and use depend on what exactly they do online and also on the particular brands they wish to spend their points on. Perk points can be redeemed for rewards such as gift cards, airline miles, gadgets, prizes and even donations to charities.As an example of points equivalence, at Walgreens Pharmacy – the largest drug retailing chain in the United States – three points are worth $1. The Perk team have already garnered support from over 2,000 brands, among them the electronics giant Best Buy, Starbucks coffee bar chain and Bloomingdale’s department store. Perk works on both Windows PCs and Mac, and an iOS version will be available soon.
‘Lite’ version links up with other browsers
The Perk creators are thus betting on a very basic online tool – the web browser – to promote e-commerce. This would appear to be quite a gamble, given that most users remain loyal to the browser they habitually use, where they store their data and list their favorites. With this in mind, the Jutera Labs team have also developed Perk Lite, an application available on the Chrome web store which offers Chrome users who want to stick to their preferred browser the opportunity to integrate Perk functionality. Perk could turn out to be a winner. After all, the browser offers rewards exclusively to its users, while rival search engines frequently get a bad press for their general lack of efficiency.