Swag Bag

A fun new app turns the Pearl District into a scavenger hunt for great deals at shops, restaurants, bars, and other neighborhood businesses.

The Pearl District Business Association recently partnered with the fast-growing local marketing and advertising technology company SWAG’R to launch an app that aims to revolutionize the way consumers and businesses throughout the neighborhood interact with one another. “We’re thrilled to be the first business district in the country to partner with SWAG’R,” says PDBA Board of Directors President Larry Jackson.

The Pearl District—SWAG’R app “uses gamification and location-based technologies so that businesses can communicate with users when they are in predictable locations, like the Pearl District,” says SWAG’R CEO and Chairman Greg Williams, who further describes the platform as the “Pokémon GO for business.”

The app is easy to use. “When you open it, a map of the Pearl District appears with pins showing deals from participating businesses,” says Jen Talbot, who works in the Pearl and recently downloaded the app. Dozens of businesses have created offers for the app, including Gallo Nero (25 percent off your entire bill on Mondays from 5 until 8 p.m.), Bang & Olufsen (10 percent off one Beoplay product), Biketown ($10 credit toward a ride), CENTRL Office (a free day pass), and BridgePort Brewing ($1 off imperial pints).

“The app provided a great incentive to get out of the office and walk around the Pearl on a nice sunny day.”

“I pulled up the list of offers and walked over to Jamison Square,” says Talbot. “A notification popped up telling me that I could grab an offer for all-day happy hour prices at On Deck sports bar.” Talbot simply clicked to grab the offer and it was added to her “swag bag,” which enabled her to redeem it at her convenience. You can also “gift” your swag to a friend, and even share it on Facebook. “The app provided a great incentive to get out of the office and walk around the Pearl on a nice sunny day,” she adds. “It was exciting when the offer notification appeared—it really is like a game—and it was fun using it for discounted drinks a few days later.”

Developing an app for the Pearl District was a natural fit for Williams, a longtime resident, and supporter of the neighborhood. The PDBA is excited about this new partnership. “The benefits for our business members as well as residents and visitors to the Pearl is tremendous,” says PDBA Executive Director Carolyn “CC” Ciolkosz. “The app enables local businesses to engage with mobile phone users in this amazingly effective new way, and for about a tenth of the cost of traditional platforms.” –Andrew Collins | Photos by Greyson Stanton