Facebook link boosts Barnsley IT business

Ben Hawley, of Barnsley IT business Gozapi
Ben Hawley, of Barnsley IT business Gozapi
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Business is taking off for a Barnsley start-up that is harnessing the power of Facebook, smartphones and QR Codes to boost the business of other companies.

Barnsley Digital Media Centre-based GoZapi is the brainchild of Ben Hawley, aged 30, who was running a beer delivery service when he spotted a gap in the market after orders from clients using smartphones more than quadrupled in April.

Ben came up with the idea of using two-dimensional barcodes, called QR Codes, to enable local businesses to offer discounts and build their customer base at the same time.

Independent businesses like coffee shops, hairdressers, bars and boutiques display GoZapi QR Codes offering discounts in their window.

In order to get the discount, customers scan the QR Code using their smartphone and then have to share the offer with all their Facebook connections. Ben Hawley says that gives retailers instant exposure to people in a similar location as well as a similar demographic to their existing customers.

“Interest in Gozapi is really starting to build because businesses can see the power in QR codes which offer word of mouth marketing to a mass audience,” says Ben, who is getting help from Oxford Innovation, which runs the Digital Media Centre where Gozapi is based.

“The DMC building is absolutely perfect with its super-fast broadband. It gives my company prestige and the opportunity for collaboration with other companies is great,” says Ben.

QR, or Quick Response codes were created by Toyota and can be scanned using a smartphone’s built-in camera and ‘read’ using free apps