Solavei is riding the wave of social commerce, giving its customers the opportunity to generate income on a monthly basis if they share with their network friends their experience of the Solavei mobile services they use.
Word of mouth recommendation is still often the best way of getting a product known and persuading people to buy it. Recognising this, brands have recently started to put their money into campaigns with strong viral potential. Another approach is to actually make the customer himself a link in the commercial chain, by rewarding him for recommendations he makes to friends and relatives. One such company going this route is GiffGaff, a UK operator which offers its customers the opportunity to distribute SIM cards among their acquaintances. If a card is activated, the customer-distributor receives remuneration through a system called ‘Payback’, which provides either hard cash back via Paypal, or airtime credits. The latest arrival on the mobile telephony scene to adopt this strategy is US firm Solavei. This social and commercial network platform enables its members not only to connect, share and benefit from the power of social networks, but also to earn income by signing up other people.
Signing up in ‘Trios’
Solavei encourages its customers to earn regular monthly income by doing something that many of them already do anyway – recommend their favourite products or services to friends and relatives. According to a recent survey carried out for Solavei by market research firm Toluna Inc, as many as 93% of consumers have at some time recommended a product or service to someone. How the Solavei system works is that a customer pays an initial fixed rate of $49 per month for the service. If s/he manages to sign up three new members – known as a ‘Trio’ – to the Solavei mobile service, s/he earns $20. If this customer, or someone directly connected to him/her, succeeds in signing up three Trios, the earnings generated will be greater than the $49 cost of the monthly subscription plan.
Customers become the sales-force
Members can continue to increase their regular monthly earnings by using their social networks to sign up more people for Solavei mobile services. This business model draws on the billions of dollars that big mobile phone companies spend on advertising (in the United States some $12 billion is spentannually on advertising and marketing to get new people to sign up for phone services) and uses the money to benefit their own customers, who take on a marketing role. Solavei is currently active in the US and is now launching in Puerto Rico. As highlighted in a recent L’Atelier article, another company, AllStar Deals, has already taken a similar approach, involving customers in the sales process, though less geared to word of mouth. AllStar Dealsencourages its users to go out and canvass businesses in their neighbourhoods and get them to make special offers. The user then receives a commission on sales. We also recently talked about Payvment, which offers small-to-medium-sized businesses a Facebook shop platform which gives merchants an online store that promotes itself on the Facebook news stream or other social networks.