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LimeBike Streamlines Bike Rentals with QR Codes

Businesses are coming up with ways to implement QR codes well beyond linking the end-user to information on a product. Following the trend of QR codes being used as payment solutions, U.S. bicycle rental startup LimeBike is doing much more with their QR rollout than simply launching a webpage on a customer's smartphone.

LimeBike launched in early 2017 with $12 million in venture capital funding, quickly rolling out public bike rentals in Key Biscayne, Florida and Greensboro, North Carolina.

They're also offering an enterprise solution for businesses with large campuses and nearby residential spaces populated with employees. Having free access to the bikes serves as a major perk for millennial employees looking to fit in exercise and fresh air into their commute.

track rental bikes using QR codesStartups Leading the Way in QR Code Applications

Previous bike-sharing services generally work the same way: customers swipe a credit or debit card at a station packed with locked bikes, and have to return it at another station within the rental period or face major penalties.

LimeBike changes this strategy up heavily, with QR at the center of their plan.

Their bike-sharing service uses the LimeBike Android and iPhone app, where the user sets up their payment information beforehand. The app tracks where any nearby LimeBikes are parked, both in the familiar docking stations other services use, but with a particularly innovative new way to obtain bikes: designated "zones."

Each LimeBike comes equipped with its own built-in lock. To unlock a standalone or docked LimeBike, customers simply scan the QR code with the app and the bike automatically unlocks. Payment is tracked this way, with the rental period ending as soon as the bike is docked or locked in a designated location.

Hands-off Innovation

What's particularly remarkable about LimeBike's infrastructure is how self-sustaining it is. QR code integration with the app handles everything that an attendant or hardware built into a docking station normally would. The startup doesn't have to invest in as many expensive stations, by using their app to mark off relevant parking zones with GPS. The built-in, heavy-duty locks solve the problem of needing bikes to be docked.

And, in a particularly innovative stroke, the bikes use durable, airless tires, drastically cutting down on ongoing maintenance. On the off-chance a customer finds a bike in poor condition, the app allows easy self-reporting and directs new customers away from that particular unit.

QR Makes the Decision to Ride an Easy One

LimeBike's decision to use QR allows them to experiment with price. The service is currently priced at $1.00 for every 30 minutes of use. By eliminating the need to pull out a card and swipe, LimeBike is banking on encouraging frequent, split-second decisions to hop on one of their bikes, allowing them flexibility to keep the price lower than competing services.

This is a useful quirk of QR for payment processing that any business should consider, not just bike-sharing services. Eliminating the barriers between customers and payment is a lucrative stance for any retailer, for example.

And in LimeBike's case, QR serves as a security and inventory mechanism. For the enterprise version of their bike-sharing service, no payments are processed directly. The QR codes in this case serve to provide the raw data for the app's tracking infrastructure, and make sure that only authorized employees are able to unlock one of their bikes for a ride.

How to Integrate QR Codes Into Your Business

QR codes are an immensely reliable and useful standard to apply for inventory tracking, payments, and more. Whether you already have an application in mind, or you'd like to have a consultation on interesting ways to apply QR codes to your business, contact us at GoCodes to learn more.

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