Consumers all over the globe have caught the “daily deal bug” and understandably so. From tax software to full-blown Caribbean cruises, buying at 50% or more off is a big win for both our wallets as well as our perceived bartering abilities. Admittedly, I too love a good deal and the satisfaction it brings. And while the daily deal business model lends itself quite well to a serious sense of consumer satisfaction, the businesses partaking aren’t necessarily left feeling so fulfilled. After all the concept of “get as much as possible for as little as possible” doesn’t exactly shout “customer loyalty”. 

Cash Mobs, also known as the anti-Groupon, are ironically helping solve this one-sided satisfaction model that’s become so prevalent in the daily deals space. How does it work? Simple. According to the publication GOOD, “Participants in “cash mobs” pick a store, then flock to it in droves to pay full-price to support a local business in need.”

At first listen, it might not sound so appealing to consumers. Paying full-price, say $4 for a cupcake unless iced in gold, is a bit of a lofty sell with all of the alternatives available today. Yet as we dissect the concept of Cash Mobs further, it becomes far more alluring.

Organizing herds of people, and agreeing to pay full-price to support a local shop or café creates a sense of community and collaboration that’s lacking in the deals space. It affords both businesses and consumers a sense of pride and allows all parties to contribute to something far greater than any one individual or enterprise. With Cash Mobs, locals can become community heroes – helping their favorite shops stay afloat and potentially even thrive. The thought of people organizing in sizeable groups, justifying paying full-price because the product is well worth it and coming together screams customer loyalty.

Collaboration is the new competition and Cash Mobs are reinforcing this idea. For a majority of parties involved, it’s not about the money. It’s about the intangibles – that feeling of personal connection to other locals and the “mom-and-pop” businesses that make up a town’s authenticity and distinctive, beautiful character. That’s what it’s all about. And that’s simply something our money will never be able to buy.

Illustration by Bryan Dunn