Mark Fagan with a 'Peel-a-Deal' discount card.
If something is too good to be true there must be a catch, right? Not necessarily. Thanks to the drive and innovation of John Carroll and Mark Fagan from Ratoath, a customised version of a tried and trusted business model from America is fin ally making its way to Ireland.
Peel-a-Deal is a coupon delivery system that offers discounts to customers, promotes businesses, ensures repeat business and is an advertising method that is within the customers reach at all times, an entire advertising campaign that can fit in your wallet.
After John and Mark had researched the idea and saw its potential, they jumped on a plane and visited the parent company in America, learning everything there is to know about the business. And they liked what they saw. At just a year since coming across the product, these two entrepreneurs have wasted no time in putting their ideas into action.
The coupons or discounts come in the form of stickers which are peeled off the card and handed to the shopkeeper, painter, or waiter at the time of paying. It's as simple as that. There is a coupon system to suit any industry and any business in a variety of ways and one of the most exciting ideas underway is the Shop Local campaign.
The towns of Ratoath, Ashbourne, Navan, and Trim have all jumped at the chance to make this work for their communities and it promises to deliver. Mark explains how it works, "We make up these cards for businesses to hand to their customers, as rewards. We can cater for up to 120 businesses in Ratoath, for instance. We approach the businesses and say, 'Give us your best offer, an offer that will get people to come into your business, and we will put your offer on one of these cards.' We can print as many cards as needed. Ratoath for example may want 5,000 cards, and we'll customise the branding on the cards. We charge Ä175 from each business for this service. Each business on the card will receive a share of the cards and when customers come into the shop or business they will be handed one of these cards. What that customer is actually receiving is 120 discounts from businesses in Ratoath, both on street businesses like a shop or restaurant, and off-street like an electrician or accounting service. This means that the customer will check out businesses and offers in the immediate area, instead of automatically going further afield or to the large shopping centres."
It also means that for as long as a campaign runs (three a year is recommended to allow for seasonal offers) the customer is carrying around 120 ads and 120 discounts in their wallet on a laminated card to be used over a huge variety of industries.
The discounts come in the form of stickers which are peeled off the card and handed to the shopkeeper, painter, or waiter at the time of paying. It's as simple as that. When compared to other promotional strategies, such as leaflet distribution, Peel-a-Deal comes out light-years ahead of the rest.
As John explains, "We put these offers into people's hands, not into their letterboxes." The coupon is being handed to a customer in your area who is using your service and whose repeat custom is hugely important. Equally, by promoting your business you are promoting the businesses in your area and vice versa. "There are 120 businesses promoting 120 businesses and that's how we get penetration. That's what it's all about, that the customer stays local. It supports local businesses; it supports local employment and local services. That way everyone in the area benefits."
The Peel-a-Deal card is free for the customer is not internet reliant, although online services are available including a method for the business owner to track the effectiveness of the promotion. This product is accessible to all, and is tucked away in the customer's wallet in full view every time the wallet is opened. "You don't need electronic gadgets, simplicity is the winner."
John and Mark believe in this product 100%, they have the Irish, UK and European rights to the company, and their enthusiasm is catching. They are in talks with some of Ireland's most prestigious businesses, are working on a campaign for Dublin city and are targeting the tourism industry with a campaign that the country has never seen before. Their Golf Card campaign is taking on a life of its own and their Box Toppers, Direct Mailing Card and Stand Up Cards have infinite potential. With a staff of ten working with the same belief in the product, they foresee huge expansion over the next months and year, generating lasting employment.
This seems to be just what towns have been waiting for and with the driving force of John and Mark behind the project it's hard to envisage anything other than absolute success.
To find out more go along to the breakfast business meeting on Wednesday, 30th May at La Bucca restaurant in Ratoath or visit www.peeladealireland.com
By Lynsey Dreaper