I’ve been talking about saving money a lot lately on this blog. Well, a lot for me!
Discounts, deals, extreme couponing… I don’t know if it’s just the economy or a fad or a cultural shift or all of the above, but you can’t shake a stick without hitting an offer for a deal or discount. I first became aware of it when Groupon hit Portland, I guess about two years ago. Brian had been getting their emails for a while, but we hadn’t joined any deals. I was co-chairing the Beaux Arts Ball at the Portland Art Museum, and the week of the event we got a call from Groupon asking if we would put the event on Groupon. Tickets to this fundraiser were $125 each. Groupon wanted us to offer the tickets for $50, then they would keep $20 and the Museum would get $30. $30 a person would not even cover the cost of food & beverage at a party like that. I couldn’t understand why they would think we wanted a hundred extra people at the event that would end up costing us money. At a fundraiser!
Since then, I’ve taken advantage of a few Groupons and Living Socials etc. But I always worry about the merchant. I want to ask them if they’re getting screwed, and if getting all these extra people in their doors is really paying off in the end.
People seem to be addicted to these specials and deals, though. It’s part of our culture now, and I’m not sure we realize the value of the services or goods we’re purchasing. I’m all for saving a buck when I can, but feels like the opposite of a market bubble. A market cesspool? It can’t last because it’s not sustainable.
Along comes Marqeta, with a whole new model that works for both merchants and consumers.
Marqeta is like a multi-merchant rewards card. Think of as your Starbucks Gold Card, but for multiple merchants. You commit to spending a certain amount with various merchants, and they all give you more to spend. Some current offers in Portland:
Commit to spend $125 at Finnegan’s Toys & Gifts, get an extra $25.
Commit to spend $50 at Pizza Shmizza, get an extra $10.
And all of it is on one card! I used my card just like a debit card, and I didn’t have to worry about keeping track of coupons or printing out a piece of paper. The Marqeta model is also good for merchants, because it’s not costing them nearly as much to make these offers. Instead of discounting, they’re just giving you more, and the fees they pay to get involved are much much lower than Groupon and friends. I really think this thing is going far, since it’s much more sustainable in the long run than the reverse bubble/cesspool of deep deep discounts.
Here’s the challenge for us as consumers: Marqeta is so new, that your favorite grocery store, boutique, jeweler, hardware store, pet store, etc, needs to hear from you that they should join the Marqeta merchants. Tell Marqeta what merchants they should be talking to. I keep hoping for Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s!
Sign up for your card here. It’s free and easy, and you don’t have to assign a funding source until you’re ready to take an offer. Then recommend merchants. Better yet, link up your favorite merchant on their Facebook page (so the store will see it, to!).
I’m curious to hear your thoughts about this reverse market bubble, and where you want to shop with Marqeta!