One of the things that I’ve come to like best about working at Dwolla is getting to talk with customers from a wide-range of industries. There are bakeries, organic food clubs, rental agencies, coffee shops, bookstores and food stands that accept Dwolla, along with a wide-variety of other merchants. While reasons for Dwolla adoption vary, the general consensus is the network’s ability to save their business money. Not, necessarily, because Dwolla is so freaking cool (even though we’ve been told that this was a reason to sign up in the past).
The incentive for merchants to accept Dwolla is clear, save money by paying a quarter and not the 3% transaction fee. For a merchant, paying a quarter for a $1,000 transaction sounds a lot better than paying $30 for the same transaction. But what’s in it for the customer, to sign up for an account and start paying with Dwolla?
I’ve had a lot of conversations with people who want to know why they should become Dwolla customers. If they aren’t in it for the security, mobility or convenience of digital cash that we offer, then they want financial or social gains.
One article that really struck me as a brilliant example of how retailers can operate to promote adoption of Dwolla among its customers was written by Rick Vosper. Recently, he has been receiving attention from media sources, like the Freaknomic’s Blog, after he wrote about value appropriation inside Dwolla (or the, “what’s in it for me, the consumer” as he explained it). In the post, Rick used the cycling industry as an example, reporting that it forks over approximately $90 million dollars each year to credit card companies and transaction facilitators. Think about it, that’s $90 million in lost profit, jobs, facility expansion, etc. to these local and national bike retailers, just because they are making sales.
That’s a pretty big incentive to those retailers to accept Dwolla, but, as he points out, what’s in it for the customers?
His idea? What if the retailer were to DONATE a percentage of the purchase price to a non-profit organization in exchange for completing the transaction with Dwolla?
Rick crunches the numbers for the specialty bike industry, and according to him:
- If half of the nation’s 3,000 specialty retail bike shops choose to participate and half of their customers opted in, that $90 million going to credit card companies shrinks to $22.5 million.
- With 2% of that total going back to the retailers, that is $14,985,000 distributed among 1,500 retailers ($10,000 of pure pre-tax net profit apiece).
- With 1% going to advocacy, that becomes $7,493,000 to advocacy.
That’s a lot of cash being kept out of the pockets of the big transaction facilitators and credit card companies, and kept in the pockets of your local bike shop and going toward your favorite advocacy group.
Help local, and non-profit, by making more purchases with cash or Dwolla, and we could end up saving our favorite local stores thousands of dollars a year.
The change is up to you. We have the tools, use them as you will!