For those who are old enough to be familiar with the feeling of getting a cool welcome basket after moving to a new town or neighborhood, there might just be a revival of that tradition in the future via the Welcomemat franchise. Get ready, however, because this is not your father’s Welcome Wagon.
“One of our customers calls us ‘Welcome Wagon on steroids’” says Brian Mattingly, founder and CEO of the Atlanta-based company. He says what Welcomemat has done is they have” taken the idea of connecting someone new to the community with their local businesses and added a layer.” The Welcomemat company has two patents on technology that allow them to provide reporting data and demographics on the new residents using their services.
The concept is simple and effective. When a person moves to a new community they receive a package in the mail with vouchers for free gifts at the participating merchants in their area. When the new resident uses the voucher, it is collected by the Welcomemat franchisee and sent back to the Welcomemat data center where codes are scanned and demographics are compiled and, Mattingly adds, “We can provide demographic summaries for these local businesses.” The businesses can then tailor their products or services to the information they receive from the Welcome Mat franchise. After taking advantage of their gift, customers also receive a thank you note from the business along with some type of bounce back offer or more information from the store where the gift was redeemed. Mattingly says the concept is to give the local businesses “access to data” which they wouldn’t normally have.
One of the Welcomemat franchisees is Colleen McKenna, a 40-something mom and former public relations specialist living in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas, NV. After spending most of her life on airplanes between Las Vegas and various California cities, McKenna wanted to make the move to a home-based business. She had been living in Las Vegas for 15 years and says she decided “to do something that really grounded me more to my community, and allows me to use my skill set to help my local businesses in ways that are meaningful and productive.” She said she hooked up with a business consultant to help her find a fit for her skill and her strengths, and the consultant suggested Welcomemat.
With 2,400 new residents moving to the Las Vegas area every month, she said her city is the perfect place for a franchise like Welcomemat. She said she did extensive research on the company and decided it was a good fit for her, and it has turned out to be something she obviously enjoys. McKenna says: “When somebody arrives into a new neighborhood they are completely disoriented, they don’t have their patterns set yet, and they are very appreciative of being given referrals to local quality businesses.” She adds “for that brief, magical moment in time, they are open to try just about anything.” That is where McKenna and her Welcomemat franchise come into the picture.
McKenna points out that she is not satisfied by just getting that new arrival to the business just once. With a high-quality offer in the hands of that customer, she says “there is a very high probability that they will walk into that business and become a loyal customer.” She has only been active in her Welcomemat franchise for a month so the most important results she has are the intangibles. McKenna says “it is a kick getting to know so many new people and introducing them to a loyalty system that can tangible benefit their business and bottom line. It is a lot of fun.”
The U.S. Postal service estimates that over 38.8 million address changes are processed every year in the United States and that statistic is one of the reasons Welcomemat has enjoyed success in business and their franchise since 2003. The company has extensive information for prospective franchisees on the Welcomemat webpage.