Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees – But Could it Grow in Your Phone?

 Money tree with dollar bills hanging from the branches 
As much as we may wish for the adage to be true it is a proven fact, money doesn’t grow on trees. Quite the contrary actually, we have to pay for just about everything (even trees).  Fortunately, technology is progressing at a rapid pace and changing our lives in ways that were never thought possible. Businesses are adopting that very technology to profit – and so can you. Today I’ll highlight one of my favorites. 

#1. Dunkin Donuts Mobile App    

Dunkin’ Brands, (NASDAQ: DNKN) the parent company of Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins have been looking for creative ways  to grow their consumer base of coffee lovers through technology. One of the ways they are looking to do that is by capitalizing on the spike in mobile consumption through their mobile app and the loyalty program, DD Perks. Scott Hudler, the VP of Global Consumer Engagement spoke at the company’s October 1st investor and analyst day and said that Dunkin’ Donuts was seeing close to 2 million transactions per week through its mobile platform. The app launched in 2012 and has over 14 million downloads and around 5 million monthly active users, while there are 3.5 million members in the chain’s Perks loyalty program. This past April the company also announced it would be introducing Google Wallet as a payment option. All great news for Dunkin – but how do you profit from it? According to Zagat, the average American drinks around 2.1 cups of coffee per day. What’s even more alarming is that the average cup now cost $3.28 – and based on your preference for espresso, flavor shots, and/or the hundreds of other additional options you may be looking at a much higher average. So, if we do the math that’s an average of over $2,514 every year on nothing more than your regular cup of coffee. DD Perks is a loyalty program that is designed to entice consumers back into Dunkin Donuts multiple times in hopes that you will choose Dunkin Donuts each and every time you decide where you are getting your next cup of coffee. The real “Perk” for you is that as long as you pay with the app, you get a free drink for every 200 points you earn. Perk Members earn five Points for every $1 they spend, excluding sales tax, and you get a free drink for nothing other than signing up. Dunkin also offers several promotions throughout the year where you can earn extra points on specific purchases. So, at the very least, how much will just using the app actually save you?  
Monthly Savings

  • Cups per Month – 64
  • Average Monthly Cost – $209.50
  • Points Per Month – 318.50
  • Free Cups – 1.58
  • Total Saved – $5.25


Annual Savings

  • Cups per Year – 764
  • Average Yearly Cost – $2,514
  • Points Per Year – 3,822
  • Free Cups – 19
  • Total Saved – $63


Now, some of you may be looking at these figures and thinking – that is a substantial amount of work for just over $60 a year. That may be the case – but I challenge you to think differently. Free money is something we often think of as figment and always paired with a catch – but in some cases, it’s not. You are already going to pay for coffee in some fashion so, what’s the difference if you pay with cash or with the app? Just by merely changing your payment method you are awarded free money. 

One caveat to this entire theory is the concept of using your newly found “free money” for additional spending. Dunkin Donuts can get away with giving every Perks Member a free $60 worth of coffee because historically by doing it, you the consumer, spends more. Don’t do that. Use the free beverage you have been awarded not to buy an additional coffee but to supplement one you would already have purchased otherwise. Apply this concept to all your coupons and frebies and you could be growing your money in places beyond just your phone. 

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