Q&A with ProxiSmart, creators of the app ParkingPerx

Chris Reed, Founder, ProxiSmart
30 June 2021

As Seen on Dragons’ Den: It all started with an idea and high praise from former Dragon, Jenny Campbell, who invested £80,000 in the concept during her last ever appearance on the show.

ParkingPerx is an innovative, multi-award-winning solution that removes long-established Consumer pain points while also working to save the high street.

This smartphone app rewards town and city centre spending with free parking uses an innovative new technology called Smart Beacons.


To harness the power of data to help our towns and city centres develop economic vibrancy and an environmentally sustainable future.

Helping the High Streets

ParkingPerx rewards consumers who spend on their local high street with free parking. The solution delivers an uplift in footfall, spending and location loyalty for the businesses, and overcomes the barrier to town centre shopping of the cost of parking. We are champions of local high streets and use our marketing channels to promote participating businesses wherever we can.

Helping Local Businesses and Local Authorities

Local Authorities are actively looking for ways to support the local economy, especially post COVID. There is a call from local businesses for local authorities to provide free parking as a way to support that economy. However, that is not sustainable over the long term. ParkingPerx offers the ability for a local authority to provide free parking without losing revenues. It links the ability to park for free directly with high street spending and allows Local Authorities and local businesses to collaborate to reward consumers who choose to support the high street.

Importantly we collect very powerful data about a consumer’s journey and spending habits. As well as using this to help local businesses engage with new and existing customers in a more relevant way we aggregate this data to provide smart cities style insight and analysis. We can tell who and when people are using town centres, where they are coming from and where they arrive, but most importantly WHY they travel. This can let place managers such as local authorities repurpose our town centres for the future and support decisions on public transport and parking provision as well as residential and commercial development.

For local businesses, ParkingPerx offers a direct and measurable way of uplifting spending in their off line stores. It delivers valuable positive goodwill to their customers and drives footfall. At present, ParkingPerx users are spending on average 19% more than a non-ParkingPerx customer.

Parking Operators

For Car park operators the solution introduces a new way of paying for parking which complements their existing provision. There is no loss of revenue to operators and in fact with the offer of free Parking to the end consumer, parking operators actually see an increase in occupancy rates and therefore revenues.

How do You Earn Your Perx?

There are two ways to earn Perx – in store and online.

When you create your account you can securely register your personal debit/credit cards. We can then track your spending in our participating merchants (shops, cafes, salons, restaurants, cinemas and more!) and reward you in real time when you make a qualifying purchase. Each merchant sets their own minimum spend and reward. So you simply shop as normal and when you pay for your goods/services at the till, as long as you have hit the minimum spend, you will receive a notification to tell you how many Perx have been added to your balance. This is available to use immediately to pay for parking with our Mastercard-approved contactless ParkingPerx Debit Card. Users simply use this card, instead of their own cash or cards at participating car parks to pay for parking.

You can also earn Perx when shopping online, which has been key during the last 12 months when many merchants have relied on short or long-term online solutions whilst the high street has been closed due to COVID. Users buy a voucher through the app (available for over 80 brands) and earn Perx immediately on that purchase. They then enter the voucher code when checking out on the brand’s website just like using any other gift card or voucher. Most of our national brands allow you to redeem the voucher in-store too – presenting the voucher at the till when you pay.

The Return to ‘Normal’

COVID has had a dramatic effect on in-store shopping and accelerated the adoption of online purchases. At the height of lockdowns, footfall was around 20% of normal levels. However, there has also been a push back, a resurgence, particularly in people shopping locally and supporting their local high street. Town centres will need to adapt and provide more of an experience than purely a retail offer.

After the inevitable spike in offline activity after lockdown restrictions have been lifted, things will begin to settle. We do not expect to see things return to pre-COVID levels due to a number of factors such as home working, social distancing, adopted online habits, etc but with any element of change, there ARE opportunities. Town centres are seeing the emergence of more independent businesses which will give locations a unique appeal – quite different to the copycat high streets of yesteryear. Making a town centre visit an experience is the key. Part of this will be to remove barriers to trade and in ParkingPerx we believe we have a solution that does just that and rewards consumers who choose to support their local high street.

The Future for ParkingPerx

We are about to deploy a sister application – TravelPerx – which uses the same model but rewards town centre spending with reduced or eliminated public transport fares. The idea is to uplift the local economy whilst incentivising greener travel choices. We are extending the options for the redemption of Perx beyond public transport to e-bike hire and e-carriage hire and also introducing the ability to pay for e-vehicle recharging costs. For ParkingPerx we intend to use the data we collect about private car users, and in particular when and why they make their journeys, to learn about private car users. We will then deliver an incentive to create a modal shift from private car to public and active transport for at least some of their journeys to help deliver a reduction in the carbon footprint of a location.

The whole idea is to empower town centre users with choices that enable them to support the local economy and get rewarded for travelling there but to get the greatest rewards for doing that in the most environmentally friendly and personally healthy way.

So ParkingPerx is a stepping stone to our mission of delivering economic vibrancy AND environmental sustainability.