COVID-19 hit hard - particularly for local businesses forced to shut their doors and go without revenue. Patron was born from the worry that our friends in the food and beverage industry here in Charleston, SC were facing. They needed a way to pay their rents and wanted to reward loyal customers that stuck with them through these difficult times. The premise was simple - a platform to sell gift cards at a discounted rate today that could be redeemed when the business reopened. Built in one week, this minimum viable product was an effort of goodwill sparked by our drive to help the world through this crisis in any way we could.

Local Small Businesses
Based In
Charleston, SC
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The Patron homepage that demonstrates the functionality of the startup's application in a clean UI.

The Challenge

The core challenge was to get revenue into the hands of local small businesses immediately so they could stay afloat through the COVID lockdown. To accomplish this, we needed to create a platform that was lightweight and easy for the enterprises to spin up e-gift cards, even if they did not currently have a point of sale system that supported them. We had to make it quick and easy for businesses to sign up as they were now under a lot of stress and had their hands full with things like applying for federal loans and dealing with layoffs or furloughs of their current employees. We also had to make it easy for the buyers of the gift cards to quickly see what options they had in their area and entice them enough to make the purchase. Optimizing for conversions was tricky due to the level of uncertainty among consumers as to whether the businesses would still be around for the cards to be redeemed.