Can Shopping Pay?
Bonvera Says “Yes” — with its Compensated Marketplace
Shopping comes at a cost… that’s as basic as everyday economics can get. So how could anyone conceive of making shopping a profitable activity? Bonvera has a plan to square this circle, and they call it the compensated marketplace.
Their concept is simple. Everyone is familiar with the idea of rewards for referrals. Many businesses offer a discount, a gift, even cash when you bring them a new customer. But that’s always seen as a nice little extra, taking the edge off the cost of your shopping adventures. Bonvera has taken this familiar idea to a whole new level — a system that can bring back more cash than you would ever want to spend yourself.
Here’s the idea: you shop, just as you normally do, for the ordinary essentials you need for your everyday life. But you turn referring others to the store into a part-time — even full-time — business.
Building a Disruptive Innovator
To pull this off, Bonvera first needed to create an easy and attractive way to shop. For this, they turned to another familiar model: the online megastore. Today, millions of dollars are spent each day online, for commodities that ten years ago were only bought in the local supermarket. American consumers have figured out that it’seasier to order your breakfast cereals or laundry detergent or toothpaste online, rather than spending time and money driving to a store.
So Bonvera have built their own online megastore, where people can do their basic shopping. And they’ve priced the products attractively enough to make the choice of shopping venue easy.
Next, the company needed a system that would give money back to their customers. For this, they drew on their decades of experience in the direct sales industry. From that starting point, they crafted a “business-in-a-box” that anyone could pick up and put into action. An Associate can earn extra income just by inviting others to shop at Bonvera’s online store. And the income multiplies if he or she builds teams of others who do the same. The company also gives back to customers who choose not to do the business. There are discounts and reward points that effectively put extra cash in everyone’s pocket.
With this equation in place — an easy-to-use online store plus a lucrative referral engine — Bonvera brought into being their “compensated marketplace.”
The founders of Bonvera are Midwesterners through and through. They take pride in heartland values of rugged independence, entrepreneurship, straight dealing and — above all — love of family. They’ve infused their business with these principles, and it shows in how they’ve organized the company. Bonvera has been structured to give back as much as possible to the independent Associates who drive growth, and to the customers on whom the whole enterprise depends. The founders made it clear they don’t want to build the company for a quick sale — their vision is for a sustainable business that will gradually expand across the world.
The old-fashioned values at the foundation of Bonvera set it apart from the massive online stores where people shop today (and theirbrick-and-mortar equivalents). These monster companies have developed a reputation for ruthless dealings with employees and suppliers. Bonvera’s family-centric culture is all about putting people first, and that shows not only in the compensation systems but in the less tangible, but equally important, company culture. There’s a pervasive feeling of family connection throughout the organization.
A New Standard in Direct Sales
Bonvera is equally disruptive in the world of direct sales, where independent distributors are usually beholden to the corporateexecutives. With this new company, it’s the other way around. The field has real power, and the executive team is answerable to a powerful Board of Associates.
Another big difference from the norm is that Bonvera’s Associates don’t have to buy — or get their friends to buy — obscure high-priced products. Instead, the whole business is based on everyday shopping. As for prices, the company promises that overall prices will be as attractive or better than anywhere else the consumer might choose to shop.
This even goes for Bonvera’s own products. The company is launching a private-label brand of nutritional products designed to combine optimum health with a flavorful experience. These include a natural, low-calorie energy drink that provides a gradual, sustained lift. They’ve achieved this by avoiding chemical additives in favor ofa high concentration of fruit juice with naturally occurring caffeine. There’s also a nutrient-rich protein bar, which can serve as a meal replacement for the weight–conscious, or a handy and healthy snack with a potent mix of vitamins, minerals and protein.
Unusually for a direct sales company, Bonvera will offer its own nutritional brand alongside popular competitors. That’s a measure of their confidence in the value of the products.
Bonvera’s leaders have enjoyed success in varied fields, but they share a common passion: making the American dream of business ownership possible for people who are too often left behind. As individuals, the founders prefer not to promote themselves. As a group, they are unhesitant in proclaiming their vision of positive disruption:
“We are men and women who agree on the basics: taking care of yourself, your family, and your community. We can help everyday people become owners of a successful business that will benefit both customers and the community. We place a premium on everyday products that promote good health. We believe that social shopping represents the future, and we want as many people as possible to participate in this massive shift in retail purchasing — the new way that we call ‘the compensated marketplace’.”