Australian provider of mobile ticketing solutions bCODE recently launched the newest in their product line: bCODE-Drinks, an online portal that enables consumers to purchase drinks for friends and colleagues through encoded text messages. bCODE encoding is based on standard phone text messaging and is supported by 99 percent of all mobile devices, including PDAs.
How it works? A generous buyer logs onto bcodedrinks.com or a venue's own website, selects a bar and a drink, enters the recipient's mobile phone number and pays for the drink online. The recipient receives a message, takes their mobile phone to the bar and holds the sms drink voucher under a scanning device. The voucher is verified and the drink can be grabbed at the bar.
The service's website lets users choose different themes and graphics to jazz up a voucher with an animated, personalised message. They can write a message and upload their own images, which can be projected on a venue's big screen. "For retailers, applications like bCODE-Drinks demonstrate how they can convert a web visitor into a store customer using the mobile phone. It's like pay-per-click advertising, but it goes from online to offline into the physical world," said Michael Mak, CEO of bCODE.
A limitation is that the service is a tad on the expensive side – both for the consumer and the bar, which has to install special scanning equipment. This isn't the first time an idea like this has cropped up: check out our previous spotting Buy me a beer. Whether a gimmick or a true convergence of beer and bytes, the concept is definitely a novel way to buy someone a drink and embarrass the hell out of them with a message on their local's big screen ;-)