November 22, 2012. I've been busy with many other things, but had this niggling concern in the back of my mind that I wasn't hearing from The Customer Advantage any more. What's up? I went online to find out.
Turns out that this promising venture has just disappeared without a word of explanation. One man who had promoted TCA heavily put out a video on YouTube to say that they had heard that it was officially dead. He and his friend mourned this, but were going to move on with other ventures.
(SIGH!) I had thought too, that this one was set up to run fair and profitably to help many out many who needed some cash flow. The last I heard from John Molanski, the founder, was that his brother had died suddenly in an accident. I wonder if that was just too devasting? A little hope flickered in me that he might rise up and finish what he started.
The Customer Advantage was to bless the ordinary shopper who needed to find the best, affordable deals. It would also help businesses that took part, as they could gain a larger customer or client base because of the massive advertising that The Customer Advantage would do for them!
When you get a sales flyer that says such-and-such a store is offering one item you've been wanting, at 50% to maybe 75% off for just one day - don't you suddenly find or make the time to stop what you're doing and drive out there - RIGHT NOW - today?
What if they've run out of that sale item before you get there?
The difference with The Customer Advantage was that they would set up deals with businesses for such an event, and that business was to see to it they had enough or could get it for you. Or, if it was a service, you could make an appointment and get that deal-price at that time. A great customer advantage right there.
Here's another. TCA would give you a 5% rebate on your purchase from each deal you would take advantage of. A nice little customer advantage!
If you recommended this membership program, The Customer Advantage, to your friends and others, even strangers, whenever they took one of these special offers, you would get another 5% of their purchase price. This meant that when I saw a deal for something I wouldn't use myself, I could notify a friend who would, and encourage him/her to hurry up and sign up as a member so they can take advantage of that special. When they did - I would get an extra 5% tip into my account. Isn't that a lovely customer advantage!?
It just made you want to spread this around all the more. What a shopping - customer advantage for everybody around the world! However, now - that's not about to happen that way.
Actually... this is not the end of the world. I recall joining a similar program back in 2008. It was called MyPowerMall. But it grew in membership so fast that the owner, Ginny Dye could not maintain it as promised. So she collapsed the whole thing.
Presently (May 2014) I have signed up with a new program out of Europe that is rolling out to give shoppers tremendous rebates and loyalty commissions on purchasing. This has more of a corporate feel to it, so it may last better than something started by one person with a big idea. I want to study and test it first before I start recommending it on this site. I do hate to mis-lead people.
All this brings me back to my original premise for starting this website. I wanted to research the best ways for discerning and frugal shoppers to do well online with their shopping. We need to learn some basic security measures, and shopping guidelines. We need to learn when to move forward and when to draw back. This applies to our individual purchases from any individual shopping site, and also from all of them generally.
Another customer advantage you can have is to sign up for rebate sites, and click through there first to the store where you plan to shop online. That will give you a percentage of all your purchase back to you in due time, per these tips:
I can only repeat that you and I can create the customer advantage for ourselves, simply by learning to be a smart power shopper who is alert to things that help you to get the products you want at the prices you are prepared to pay. In other words, adapting an old proverb, don't put all your eggs (confidence) in one basket.
Power shopping includes knowing how to find the best deals, learning to use rebates and coupons wherever possible, and knowing how to budget our money and keep good records.
My sister's year-long, and very simple personal accounting book is a great start if you are new to this.
I also have plans to offer record-keeping charts that you can download and print, or use on your computer, to track your spending and even incomes if you take up shopping for others.