By Sheryl Smolkin
Read this article and comments at Moneyville.ca
Access to discounts from over 700 national and local companies formerly only available to groups is now available to individuals for $39.95/year.
For over a decade Venngo has offered loyalty programs to employee groups (Workperks), member-based groups such as unions and associations (Memberperks) and organizations like insurance companies that want to offer their customers added value (Customerperks).
A few of the many major organizations offering Workperqs to members include ScotiaBank, RBC, the law firm Gowlings, Canada Post and Mount Sinai Hospital. Currently over 800,000 people are members of participating groups.
Based on their size and the degree of website customization and reporting, group clients pay from $12 to $60 per employee, member or customer. Vendors offering deals pay from $1,000 to $24,000/year to take part, depending on the nature of their business and the number of locations they have across the country.
If your employer or affinity group does not offer the program, check out the new MyPerks program for individuals. If you purchase a membership, you will get access to a website where all of the deals (called perks) are displayed in 19 categories ranging from business services, dining and financial services to shoes, sports/recreation and travel.
In some cases you can print out a coupon that describes the deal and the terms of its use. In other cases, you are asked to click on “www” which takes you directly to vendor websites to order online. You can view all available deals or limit results to those that are within a specific proximity to your address. The web site even allows you to suggests establishments where you would like to get a deal, for possible follow up by Venngo.
President Paul Weissman gave me courtesy access to the site. Here are some of the discounts that I found particularly interesting:
- Unlimited Cineplex Theatre tickets for $8.70 valid for one admission that can be used any day of the week including weekends and holidays.
- 30 per cent off on all regularly priced Bikram Yoga packages at a downtown location.
- 15 per cent off on package deals at Bayview Wildwood resort in Port Staunton.
- No tax and free shipping nationwide for New Balance shoes purchased online.
- 15 per cent off food and non-alcoholic beverages (dinner) at Bangkok Gardens
- 20 per cent off the total price on everything in the store with a minimum purchase of $100 at Jones New York Factory stores.
Unlike Groupon and other coupon purchase arrangements, the only amount you pay upfront each year is $39.95, so there is less chance that you will buy and lose or forget about coupons you have already paid for. But on a deal by deal basis, coupon purchases offer higher discounts – typically up to 50 percent or more.
Unless you opt out, you will receive a newsletter every two weeks listing new deals. I think if you are a dedicated bargain hunter and can get into the habit of checking available deals online before you make decisions about purchasing necessary goods and services, it will take you no time at all to recoup your annual membership fee.
However, if you have “coupon fatigue” and stacks of expired coupon books around the house that you never used, this may not be the program for you.
In my quest to never pay more than I have to, I will probably continue to use a combination of both coupon purchases and Myperks. I think Tony Keller got it right in a recent Toronto Life article when he said “group buying sites have spawned a breed of fickle, bargain-addicted consumers who will never full freight again.”