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Perka has unveiled a new cardless loyalty marketing platform that runs on an iPod, enabling small businesses to connect with customers via their mobile phones and offer custom-tailored incentives.

With the platform, local merchants can make targeted offers to customers who opt in, and automatically keep track of their purchases and rewards. In addition, store managers can access program performance metrics on the Web, while the Perka merchant support group continually monitors individual program effectiveness, offering suggestions for greater success in their program.

Merchants who subscribe to the Perka system receive an easy-to-use iPod-based POS device to authenticate customer visits and purchases. Customers check in using the free Perka smartphone app or by sending an SMS text message, and then the merchant validates each specific purchase.

This personal interaction enables merchants to get to know their regular customers even better since each chec- in displays the customers' names and how frequently they visit. Business owners work directly with a Perka loyalty specialist to design a custom incentive program for their unique business.

Perka's platform was designed specifically to cater to smaller, local merchants and even the playing field with larger businesses that have extensive loyalty strategies in place.

"Essentially, we've consolidated the technology and expertise that multi-billion-dollar companies use to run profitable loyalty programs and put it in a package at a price that enables any local business to create their own incentive program," said Alan Chung, CEO and co-founder of Perka. "Merchants using the service are realizing profound, positive impacts on their businesses."

Portland-based Flying Pie Pizza is one such merchant that has been using the Perka platform during a pilot trial.

"Perka allows me the ability to reward the backbone of my business, my loyal customers. Now they get a chance to know that I appreciate their business and value them as a regular visitor. In small business, with this volatile economy, it is these customers that sustain us," said Ty Dupuis, owner of Flying Pie Pizza.

Perka Inc. just announced its plans for national expansion, entering the Seattle market last week and predicting more than 25 cities over the next 12 months.

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