Week 2 Report (emailed 5 April)

Save our local small businesses

Thanks for being part of SOS cafe. There has been an unbelievable response to soscafe.nz which is so good. We know it's tough, but there is a huge amount of support out there for small businesses like yours.

Welcome to those who are new - as you'll see below, a huge number. We send out a newsletter like this every week. It's a bit of a long one sorry, as there is a lot to cover off...

In this issue we will cover:
* Key statistics
* Payouts
* Common questions
* How to get more people to buy vouchers
* Media
* The expanding team

Key statistics

As at 3pm on 5 April


Total order value: $180,000 (WOW!)
Cafes / bars / restaurants etc joined: 1009
Orders: 3,500+
Vouchers sold: 6,000+
Average order size - $47

These are amazing results - the orders are flooding in.  We had a few big days of media (see below) and that certainly helped as the chart above shows, but we also know that when you put this on your social media it really makes a difference.

Payouts

Phew - with the massive growth in onboarding new vendors, our processes needed to get changed, and re-changed a few times to keep up as we scale.

We managed to get the first payment run out on Monday 30th, but the way we did that won't work for the volume of payments now, so we've had to change our bank system. Bear with us, it may take another couple of days to get the payments out. 

Validation / Verification
Given the large volume of orders, businesses, and payment, we're implementing a process to ensure we are paying the right people, and none of the wrong people... :)

You will get an invitation to a new Vendor portal soon (we hope in the next day or so) where you'll be asked to validate the bank account we have on file for you, and you'll also be able to download your individual report/remittance advice. Thanks for bearing with us on that, it's been tricky to sort out.

We are also going through a process to validate that the people who've signed up are the correct contacts for the business.

Terms
And lastly, we will be asking all of you to agree to our Terms and Conditions - these were re-written a bit this past week so most of you have agreed to them, but we need to capture agreement for those that signed up early. Its a simple tick box process that points to the Terms and Conditions area on the website.

In essence, it says this:
By signing up, you agree that we are acting as your agent for selling vouchers online. You are asking us to assist you in the online provision of vouchers for future products or services that you will offer the purchasers of those vouchers. We agree to act as your agent, and supply vouchers to your customers, and process payments for you, then remit those funds to you on a regular basis. Please refer to the terms and conditions on our website.

New site features

Tonight (Sunday 5th) we are rolling out some updates to the website, including:

  • An ability for people to make donations to you (ie, give money without a voucher)
  • Some tweaks to the look and feel
  • The ability for customer to choose multiples of the same voucher type on the product page (previously they had to go back and forth between the product page and cart to add more vouchers of the same value)

New Portal

We've had a couple of false starts getting a place where you can all log in to see sales, so we are having another go! Again please bear with us as we get it up and running in the next few days, and while the first version won't be flash, we'll be able to build on it. Our previous platform wasn't built for the volume we've had so we've had to adapt to a new system.

If you had emails from us about 'Puppet Vendors', you can delete them - we're going in a new direction. 

SOS Cafe is the first of its kind in New Zealand and we are figuring out the best way forward as we go.

Common Questions

We keep a 'Frequently Asked Questions' section on the website - one for Customers, and another for you as Vendors, (and of course our Terms and Conditions)

We will continue to update that page with any questions that you might have.

The most common question is 'how will I know what vouchers I have to redeem?', so we will answer that here. Basically, when a customer buys a voucher, they get sent an email with a voucher and a unique code, like this:

In a few weeks, we will send you a list of all the orders you've had, plus the codes, so you can reconcile them when people come in to claim their voucher.

How to get more people to buy vouchers

The success of this depends on getting your customers to buy vouchers from you.

We're trying to get as much media and public interest as we can for the site and the idea, including placing advertising on key channels like Facebook.

However you will also need to promote this as much as you can. Update your Facebook page, Instagram etc with a link to www.soscafe.nz. Email or call your customers and ask them to consider buying a voucher. Find the local Facebook groups in your area, or the Neighbourly groups, and post about it, asking people to support you. Talk to your local newspaper or radio.

One of our top venues did a simple Facebook boost to their followers, and saw a great response (check how many times it was shared!)

 

Now is a great time to be leveraging social media platforms to drive engagement (and voucher sales!). 

If you've been wanting to clean up your Instagram and Facebook profiles but haven't had the time to, it's the perfect time to do it now. Your customers will be stuck at home, same as you, using their social platforms more often than usual.

Make it easy for them to find you and talk to you, so that you stay top of mind. 

Media

As mentioned, we've had some amazing media this week, which has really driven engagement and awareness...

Mainstream
Check our Media section for links to TVNZ's Seven Sharp, The NZ Herald, Stuff, Radio NZ... we've also been on The Project, More FM, The Breeze and a number of regional newspapers and radio stations. A couple of you have also done your own local media too, which is fantastic. The more the better!

Social Media
Our Instagram account has over 1500 followers and is really busy, with lots of engagement and referrals. Facebook too has been busy - if you are posting, remember to tag us in on @soscafenz 

Other PR
We've also been amplified by organisations like Zomato, some local economic development agencies, and hospitality supply companies.  There is so much support for you all! Any new ideas welcome.

Team Update

Our team of three founders (Joyce, David and Naadei) has now been joined by a rapidly growing volunteer team - Rachel as head of vendor set up; Fred as head of customer satisfaction, Hayley as head of corporate partnerships, and about 10 people helping with data and IT stuff (many of them related to us, or our friends) - THANK YOU ALL!

We are all volunteers, as we are not making any money here - all the voucher revenue goes to you (less the credit card frees, grrr).

Kia kaha