Wednesday, April 25, 2012

LYONESS vs. COSTCO and eScrip

FIRST I'll compare Lyoness to Costco to explain how it works and then I will discuss some of the problems with the company.

Lyoness is a scam if you consider Costco and eScrip to be a scam.  In Costco or other warehouse shopping clubs, they get a large group of shoppers together so they can make large volume purchases and get a discount.  The more purchase power they have, the greater the discount stores are willing to give to get their business.

That is what Lyoness is.  A new shopping community that is currently recruiting shoppers so more stores will see the benefit of becoming part of the club and give bigger discounts.  As a member of the club there is no start up fee or annual membership fee. As a Lyoness member you receive a cashback club card you can use within the Lyoness shopping community and earn 1-2% back instantly on every purchase.  Plus other potential bonuses and returns. 

At Costco you can also get 2% back, but that is only at Costco, no other stores, and only if you upgrade your existing membership fee to a more expensive Executive membership fee,  and you only receive the bonus once a year.  That means when you get your annual return check it mostly goes to paying your yearly membership fee.

In Lyoness the membership is free, and you don't have to wait a year to get your cashback.  You get it back every time you make a Lyoness Purchase.  You don't just have to shop at one store. More stores are joining every month.   It takes a little faith and foresight in the beginning, but it has been a successful model in Europe which doesn't have half the shopping potential as US does.

It will just get better and better with time. It just takes a paradigm shift in how you shop.  When I have to shop, I think "How can I spend this through Lyoness so I can get cash back"   It does make you want to go to the Loyal Merchants listed.  This will make the merchants happy too.


UNTRAINED SHOPPERS ACTING AS IF THEY REPRESENT THE COMPANY: Some of the shoppers that have signed up to shop with Lyoness are acting as if they represent the company.  They are not trained or well informed and are giving out misinformation or giving the company a bad reputation by being offensive or high pressured to try to benefit from the friendship bonus. (Or some are just overly zealous about wanting to share the good news with everyone)  They are not the company.  They are independent and rogue.  If you want to learn more about the company please visit their official site and do not support or contact anyone from any personal or homemade sites or group spamming.  You may find official rules, contact info and how the company works at:
You are not meant to be pressured or spammed.  A friendship referral is just one of the ten ways the company rewards you for shopping in the system and for helping to build a larger shopping base.  It is a small token meant to thank shoppers for the referral and to ensure that the friend continues to give support and training as the new shopper is learning the ropes of shopping with Lyoness.  Shoppers are not supposed to advertise for the company or send mass mailings or use the affiliated Loyalty Merchant's Logos.  An invitation to a training or presentation may be appropriate, but the "Lyoness" company name should not be used on the invitation if it is not officially from Lyoness HQ.   The training materials should be official Lyoness materials which include the friendship flyer and the "This is Lyoness" video presentation you can watch on the company website.  You should know your referrer personally and speak face to face or over the phone.  If you have been inappropriately dealt with by someone who claims to be a part of the company, please contact Lyoness and let them know the name or site that is not in compliance.  (Lyoness Inc. contact info is on their official website noted above.)  You may also want to let the shopper know, because they may have been signed up by someone who was untrained and uninformed, then they in turn may not have been shown the proper way to use their online dashboard or how to share the program with others.  They may not know they are not in compliance.

Other "problems" with the company at the current time are just because they are a fairly new company and the global growth is sometimes more than they can keep on top of.  Here in the U.S. they are just getting established so it isn't as easy or convenient to shop as it will be, but it still works like they say it will and I know it will get more convenient with time.  An eager relative tried to tell me about the company for months before I finally looked into it, and since starting shopping in April 2012 I have seen the company grow and evolve to suit American consumers. The type of people who are not put off by the relative inconvenience of having to clip coupons to save were not be put off by the fact that they may have to initially order gift cards online to get their savings.  Also visionaries who can see the structure of the company and its potential will be patient with the inconveniences and want to be a part of helping the company get established here in the states.  They want to grow slowly and be a 100 year company not a flash in the pan.  Just as Visa eventually replaced all individual instore credit, Lyoness hopes to replace all other instore rewards programs across the globe. 
A big part of these initial start up problems is the fact that they have a rewards card, but in most states there is no where to swipe that rewards card.  They need more local shops and small businesses that aren't afraid to be the first to join so shoppers can swipe their cards right away.  The big chains have not yet installed all their card scanners so you have to order gift cards or shop online until they see that enough shoppers have joined to make it cost effective to install scanners and train at all their locations.   (So for now you have to order gift cards for those big chains through the Lyoness website.)

It is beneficial, but also difficult to be part of the first group that starts a new service against all odds and skepticism of the American public.  It is a legitimate audited operation and in time as it gets more established I believe there will be merchants that will be clamoring to list with Lyoness,  but they cannot because they only sign up 50% of the market as a competitive advantage to their exclusive Loyalty Merchants.  (For instance, because there are only two main warehouse clubs in competition and Sam's Club signed up first, now Costco cannot)

There is no way to lose money if you never give money.  You do not have to put down any money to be a part of Lyoness.  A well trained Lyoness shopper will NOT ask you for any money to sign up.  You sign up for a free membership and after you click the confirmation link and create a username and password you have 30 days to login to and  make your first purchase.  If you do not click the confirmation link, or if you do not make a purchase your file will be deleted and if you later decide you want to try again you will have to find someone to refer you and they can sign you up again for another 30 day trial.  Once you have made a purchase you are a lifetime member with no membership fees and no minimum order requirements.   You just shop and order gift cards for GAS, GROCERIES, TRAVEL, GIFTS, etc... and you pay the same amount you would buy a gift card from the store.   Not only are you NOT spending more for the gift card, but they actually give you cashback in your bank account right when you purchase them.  (So you are not paying them, it's more like they are paying you to shop.)

If you have heard of people complaining about losing large amounts of money they are most likely talking about the downpayment on future shopping.   Unfortunately they were misinformed and got excited about the potential earnings without studying how it works.   There is a business partner option of Lyoness where those who see the potential of the company can earn more money back by prepaying for future gift card shopping units that mature in time and pay out much more than is put out for the down payment.   My husband is a lawyer and we both did our due diligence to check the credentials of Lyoness before we decided to become involved.  Learn how it works before you buy units.  There is no quick payback.  And it will take even longer if you are not shopping.   IF YOU DO NOT SEE YOURSELF ACTUALLY SHOPPING THROUGH THE COMPANY DO NOT BUY THE SHOPPING UNITS.  It is a shopping club and you earn when you shop.  If you don't shop it doesn't make sense to put money into the shopping units.  A well trained shopper will know this and should never recommend buying units unless you know you will either be actively shopping and or are highly motivated in building up a shopping team.  

Lyoness does have an ISO# and DUNS report.  It is legitimate, and it does pay out long term as promised if you are using the system, but if you are worried about putting money down that you do not get back right away then do not participate in this option.  It is not required to put any money down to be able to shop and earn cash back rewards in the club.  But I can tell you it does work because the relative that called me already had one of her accounting units mature after 3 months of shopping and sharing in the program.  I have been shopping for eight months and one of my units are almost matured.  I shop more than she does, but she shares it more aggressively.  I do it mostly for my personal shopping benefits and it is working great for our family.  We are saving money with each purchase, earning savings in the form of units for the future and donating to worthwhile causes.  All with money we'd be spending anyway.   For those who don't pre buy units and only occassionally shop it may take 5-7 years for a shopping unit to mature. There is no quick pay out.  The units don't mature and pay off if you don't use the system.  You need to be shopping to earn more units.  They mature faster the more you shop and share.   At the rate I'm going I will most likely mature a unit every 1-2 years which beats the heck out of a savings account!  But again I recommend starting for free and just see how it goes.  If you decide this method of shopping can really work for you consistantly then look into the investing option, and only if you can afford to put some money down that you are OK not seeing again for a decade... (I'm thinking my bigger units will be maturing just in time when my kids are graduating from high school.)

Shopping communities like this are spread by personal or company referral.  Most businesses give referal bonuses to help build there business and so does Lyoness.  Lyoness gives a .5% friendship referral for you to refer and help train new shoppers.  Suffice it to say it is a real company that has withstood the test of time in other countries and time will tell how successful it is here.  They generously donate to charities like the Lyoness Child and Family Foundation  building schools in the Phillipines and encourage education to end poverty and to GREENFINITY for the environment.  The cashback they give their customers and other bonuses you earn are paid back by the merchants where you shop so it is a self sustained business plan that is perpetually fueled by shopper's money to the merchants, and merchants discounts paid back to the consumer... It encourages shopping and helps boost our national economy.  It helps protect small local businesses that can't compete against larger chains without some sort of community loyalty and support.  Lyoness cannot fail or go bankrupt unless everyone in the country all simultaneously decided to stop buying gas and groceries and wanting cashback for their purchases.  Merchant, shopper, and community all benefit and nobody loses even if they are the very last person in America to apply for a card.  It's a win win win.

This 3m video below is great for all the new shoppers and small businesses thinking about signing up.