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M(ad) Money with Coinstar
By: Briskman Stanfield
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Ahh, your secret stash; whether saved in a jar, bag, or drawer, it’s an allocated given for guilt-free pleasures when the time is right.
But cha-ching! Change has become big business, with Coinstar recently advertising their latest ventures in magazines like People and The New York Times. And if you are a fan of this famous coin-counting machine that operates an estimated 19,000 in supermarkets and other locales, you may have noticed that, for one, the 9.8 service fee has been eliminated. But there are more options to consider other than "plunk, tally, take the money, and run." They're called "gift certificates."
Coinstar has teamed up with retailers who are not only absorbing the consumer service fees but giving consumers their full value of deposited coins with gift certificates. They often come with extra bonus-buck promotions to sweeten the deal and up the ante.
For example, according to The New York Times, many of the retail outlets went “beyond shouldering the fee to offer gift cards that exceeded the value of a $40 minimum coin exchange by $10, meaning that $40 in coins could be redeemed for a $50 gift certificate.”
There are other advantages in choosing gift certificates over coin values besides "no fee" and added dollars, such as an on-growing popular list of in-demand retailers to chose from including Starbucks, Gap, iTunes, Amazon.com, and Rixty, a company who caters to people without credit cards (kids, college students, and people who no longer have or want credit cards).
This retail collaboration is a perfect partnership as it assists with marketing growth for both businesses. In addition to Coinstar’s built-in consumer group, retailers attract their own customers through web sites, email, print, and online advertising.
Getting more than you bargained for is always a great incentive when spending your hard earned/found money. Now even grocery stores are interested in getting into the petty change act by making "no-fee" irresistible offers. The latest Coinstar pilot effort involves Albertsons and Stop & Shop supermarket chains, where Stop & Shop in Massachusetts is using "newspapers circulars, advertisements and billboards by Eleven Inc. in San Francisco and in-store radio announcements” to help promote this new redemption campaign.
And in case you’ve ever wondered, a business like Coinstar that converts $3 billion in coins annually had their largest coin exchange on record when “Edmond Knowles of Flomaton, Ala...cashed in $13,084.59 — all in pennies.” Of course Coinstar had to send an armored truck to Mr. Knowles’s home to retrieve the loose change… with (ahem) no service fee, let’s assume.

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About the Author

Briskman Stanfield is a freelance copywriter and all-around, behind-the-scenes team player.

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