Are These The New Trend?
In this age of corporate conglomerates monopolizing industries, small business owners are uniting and utilizing a new tactic to gain market share directly from consumers. The aptly named disloyalty cards are not exactly a new concept, but one picking up steam in one specific industry, coffee. As independent coffeehouse owners establish an alliance against the corporate conglomerate that needs no introduction, Starbucks, the disloyalty concept continues to grow and expand.
For those of you that don’t live in London, Boston, Baltimore, or Washington D.C., here is the basic concept of these current disloyalty programs. A group of small, independent, same-industry shop owners (coffee in particular) ban together. They create a loyalty card for their shops and distribute them to their customers as disloyalty cards to Starbucks. Customers then are offered the incentive of free product, in this case a free cup of coffee after a specified number of purchases, to visit the participating shops on their card. The spirit of the campaign is to cause consumers to be disloyal to the well known corporation and rather patronize independent establishments. It’s a “there’s power in numbers” grassroots push, and it seems to be catching on.
Cafes across the participating states are reporting plans for additional card printing and expansion. Social media campaigns are posting photos and videos to the usual places and associating their hashtags accordingly. So far, this seems to be coffee industry specific, but it makes us think about the possibilities. Could small independent boutique owners create a disloyalty campaign against Walmart or Target? What if small sandwich shops launch a disloyalty campaign against Subway? Is this a fad, or do they stand a chance to push the large corporations out of their area?
Sir Julian Critchley was once quoted in saying that “Disloyalty is the secret weapon of the Tory Party.” For those of you that are not keen on history, the Tory Party opposed the British Whigs in the late 1600’s. They used disloyalty tactics to gain popularity and eventually held their government for almost 50 years from the late 1700’s to the early 1800’s. Perhaps this modern day disloyalty campaign can pose a long term threat. What do you think? Would you be willing to switch from your go-to retailer to a small independent shop? Only time will tell.
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