By Randy Smith, Mobile Wallet Media
Tuesday, September 4th, 2012
Week 6 of 7-Week Series
Sharing is Caring!
It has been said that "People don't care what you know unless they know how much you care." Today, this is perhaps more true than ever, in life, as well as in retail and business in general.
Cause marketing in retail has been around for sometime, but a new revolutionary model is soon to alter ALL retail commerce. Last week we saw LevelUp introduce a preview of 'Causes Engaged to Mobile Commerce.' This engagement will last 6-12 months and then the marriage will commence and cement the relationship between Causes and Commerce. Causes will be bound to Commerce for GOOD!
For those already participating in supporting local and worldwide causes, I know I'm preaching to the choir, but hang with me and perhaps you may add to your vision and expand your commitment to community and causes and thus be rewarded with even more abundant sales.
LevelUp announced last week they will be offering consumers the option to donate a portion of the merchant funded reward to charity. Tying causes to commerce has long proven to be a very effective way to enhance Word of Mouth marketing and increase customer loyalty.
Macy's has long been a champion of Cause Commerce through it's 'Shop for a Cause' sales and fundraising events. These events work as follows:
1) The shopper buys a $5 'Savings Pass' from a partner charity.
2) Shopper uses single-day Savings Pass to save 10-25% off merchandise at Macy's.
3) Win-Win-Win > Shoppers save, merchants sell and charities receive donations.
This is the future formula for success in retail. Like Starbucks Card Mobile to Pay With Square, so is 'Macy's Shop for a Cause' to is LevelUp's Cause Commerce offering to the future of mobile commerce.
Another winning example and leader in GIVING BACK is Target. They have a wide array of giving programs to support education, social services, crisis relief, our veterans and more. A recent article by MediaPost.com states "Target says its "Give With Target" generated the highest level of engagement of any social media campaign in the retailer’s history, and as a result finished two weeks ahead of schedule. The school fundraising initiative generated more than 3 million votes through its Facebook app in less than four weeks, reaching its goal of $2.5 million in donations."
Since 1999, Escrip has partnered with grocery stores and local retailers to raise funds for school programs. This program works by users simply registering their credit or debit cards with Escrip, and selecting a school program to support.
The topic of this week of 'Cause Commerce' is something my heart has long been very near and dear to. You can even say a big part of the reason I decided 20+ years ago to go into business was for the very purpose of making a ton of money, to in turn give back to help the hurting, homeless and hungry. Since then I have realized that giving is a matter of the heart and not the size of one's wallet. Thus, one can start giving no matter their level of wealth. However, those with larger wallets or specifically those that control the flow of commerce, have the opportunity to not only bless the bottom line of their company or store, but also make a difference in this world.
It still is, and has long been, my hope to build out a model of Cause Commerce that I believe will not only surpass all others, but may also work well enough to end poverty worldwide, or at least make a huge dent in it. I'm not joking here (see how this is possible below), but I also realize that if the hearts of those that can make big change happen, do not change, then this is not a true possibility.
How much funds would be generated if an average of just 2% of 50% of US retail transactions were donated to support local and worldwide causes?
> 4.2 Trillion/Yr Avg. in US Retail sales X 50% X 2% = 42 Billion/Yr*
After a long career of working towards building out a 'Universal Gift and Rewards Card Network", which began in 1996, I'm excited now, more than ever, about the prospects for Cause Commerce. I added Cause Commerce to my load of research back in the late 90's. Once introduced to the transactional equation, I've always envisioned that Cause Commerce was an absolutely necessary ingredient.
I am going to say something again here that I said just last week about Mobile Daily Deals. Cause Commerce, set up in exactly the way it should, and will eventually be delivered, will alter ALL retail commerce as we know it today. It will be yet another Mega Tend! That's right, here's one more plate to spin and get just right, or you risk losing loyal customers. On the other hand if you get it just right, you will enhance loyalty and your cause program will spread like wildfire. New customers will be delivered and attached to your brand with an emotional bond that can be stronger than a rewards based program and has been proven that it will work to compliment it. There is much more to say here, but I will save most of it for my upcoming article in November: Greed is NOT GOOD! Cause Commerce IS!
Of course, I could share the complete concept and vision here openly and unselfishly, but unfortunately I will need to allow you to do the math as to why I cannot do so at this time. Of course this could all change if your company is one of the large tech or payment companies I've spoken of here before. It's up to you to BE THE CHANGE THE WORLD NEEDS AND WANTS TO SEE HAPPEN.
Retailers and mobile wallet providers that embrace Cause Commerce, not only will see their customers be more loyal, but more importantly, water wells will be dug, the hungry will be fed, clothed, sheltered, treated for disease, educated, trained with job skills and have hope. You know, all the things we all take for granted and even feel we are entitled to.
If you do fully embrace Cause Commerce your shareholders will be very happy, as your revenues and profits will very likely surpass expectations quarter after quarter. However, if you don't completely embrace this model I'm speaking of, it will cost you market share, as consumers will question if you really care about sharing your abundance with others.
All things being, equal in a marketplace where the new standard requires sharing of abundance, makes not doing so a losing proposition as customers will take their business where Cause Commerce is embraced. A retailer or mobile wallet not fully engaging this model will surely pay the price of sales lost to their direct competitors.
This concept may also soon be challenging Wall St. PROFITS, as the chief and main concern of publicly traded companies. When the mountain is crested in this movement, profit expectations met without sharing with Causes and more abundant sharing with employees, will result in decreased store sales. This of course extends to local and regional retailers as well. This is a byproduct of Social Media embracing commerce to form Social Commerce. I know this is an idealistic perspective of the things, but I believe this is the final destination of Causes and Commerce; that is if greed is removed and called to accountability. Social networks provide the forum and foundation for transparency that is long overdue.
Thus the foundation is laid and a vision of sharing, over greed, is given, and the future is up to you. The magic of it all is that I believe it may be tough to give too much, as if you do, you may find the perfect 5.0 'Magnetic Viral Social Storm' will hit your stores.
I understand what I write here is not-standard protocol, nor politically correct (right now) and that most of what I envision may not come to be. Will your company or store be recognized as a leader in Cause Commerce? Will it be the one to spark the 'Mobile Cause Commerce Revolution?'
About Mobile Wallet Media
Mobile Wallet Media is a news media, analyst, marketing and consulting firm focused on the future of mobile: payments, marketing, loyalty commerce, security, prepaid, virtual currency, daily deals and the convergence of them all with social and local. The Chief Editor, Randy Smith, was the primary founder, inventor and former CEO of MobilePayUSA, a TechCrunch Disrupt Award Winner.