BUSINESS OWNER FAQ

What is STOKE?

How much does it cost to give STOKE?

What are some examples of STOKE?

I receive a private invitation, who invited me to share STOKE?

Do I pick the STOKE for my customers?

What if there's a business I don't want to send my customers to, like a competitor?

How do I decide whom to give STOKE to?

How does STOKE ensure quality?

Can I give STOKE in person and by email?

I'm hesitant to share my customer email list, what will STOKE do with it?

Who owns my data? Can my data be resold?

Does STOKE expire?

How is STOKE redeemed?

How many customers will discover my business each month?

Does STOKE collect feedback and reviews?

Why do local businesses use STOKE?

How does STOKE work with my existing loyalty program?

What does STOKE guarantee?

How come I've never heard of STOKE?

How does STOKE help local businesses?

How is spreading STOKE different than giving a coupon or free sample?

How is STOKE different than Yelp or Groupon?

Is STOKE a way for businesses to sell gift cards?

Is STOKE only available in Encinitas & Leucadia?

I'd like to experience STOKE, what do I do next?

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What is STOKE?

STOKE is an invitation-only network that helps neighborhood businesses get the right local customers to walk through the door. It's the only network that guarantees businesses are discovered every time you thank your best customers by sharing STOKE.

When you give STOKE to one of your customers, you'll introduce them to another local business. In return, other neighborhood businesses will give STOKE to their best customers, introducing them to you.

Your customers get STOKE and you get discovered by the valued customers' other businesses thank with STOKE. So everybody is STOKE’d 🤙🏼

How much does it cost to give STOKE?

Pay only when great customers walk in. When you sign up, you'll create the STOKE you want to share, set the value of the STOKE, determine how many new customers you'd like to welcome each month and how much you'd like to pay per each new customer. 

We'll feature your STOKE in the network and you'll start getting discovered by new customers right away. When a STOKE customer comes in to redeem their STOKE at your business, your employees handle the transactions in the same way as usual. There is nothing to do differently and no special training or hardware necessary to process STOKE. STOKE is already compatible with your business!

How much STOKE should I share? 

That's entirely up to you. To help guide you, we are happy to share how much other businesses offer per customer. To ensure you're in control, you'll set a monthly budget and maximum cost per new customer. And, you'll pay only when STOKE brings customers in to redeem their STOKE and try your business!

What are some examples of STOKE?

Dinner for two, a yoga class, the perfect day of surf lessons. Almost anything a business offers can be offered as STOKE. Popular ideas include: $50 gift certificate to a boutique, tickets to a show, a $35 gift certificate to a restaurant, custom framing, a spa treatment like a facial or massage, lunch for two, 1-month gym membership, $20 towards baked goods, a gift certificate to a wine shop, and a bouquet of flowers. 

We recommend that business owners think of STOKE as a gift and therefore it should feel just like that… a gift. 

It shouldn't be a discount, but rather a true gift so that people who receive STOKE can discover your business and experience it without having to pay any additional costs.

I received a private invitation. Who invited me to share STOKE?

STOKE is a private, invitation-only, network of local independent businesses. They all use STOKE to thank their best customers and get discovered by even more great local customers. Any one of these businesses could have invited you. We get recommendations from customers, too.

Do I pick the STOKE for my customers?

You get to pick the customers you want to share STOKE with, but you don't get to pick their STOKE. Our patent-pending matching algorithms select the best STOKE options for each of the customers you choose to share STOKE with. 

To be extra sure they get the best STOKE for them, we take into account where they live, where they work, and what kinds of businesses they tell us they'd like to discover.

What if there's a business I don't want to send my customers to, like a competitor?

We've got you covered. Your customers will not receive STOKE to your competitors unless you approve it in advance. For example, a hair salon would never send their best customers to a competing hair salon. On the other hand, if there are neighborhood businesses that you love, please let us know, so we may offer them whenever possible.

How do I decide who to give STOKE to?

Share STOKE with your best customers. Not only are they the kinds of customers other business owners would appreciate meeting, they're the ones that can boost your business the most. Depending on what studies you believe, keeping just 5% more of your current customers can increase your profits by up to 95%.  Harvard Business review told us that.

We can help you share STOKE with all of your customers in person or by email, text message or snail mail. We're happy to create custom envelopes for you and help you craft emails that truly express your gratitude and appreciation.

How does STOKE ensure quality?

We review all STOKE to make sure it's suitable for the network, including the image, language, and type of STOKE. Once approved, STOKE is offered to customers who live or work in the neighborhood and have already said they're interested in discovering a business like yours. Customers who select your business, get a STOKE Prepaid Mastercard gift card to your store. We also request reviews every time a person redeems STOKE. This helps STOKE maintain high quality.

Can I give STOKE in person and by email?

Sure! You can thank customers in person by giving them STOKE. We'll deliver a stack of STOKE cards to you at no charge when you sign up. You can also thank customers via email. Like Constant Contact or MailChimp, we'll send STOKE to your customers from your customer email list. You can share your customer list with STOKE by sending us your list via email. Your customers will always be matched with a choice of STOKE to other local neighborhood businesses.

I'm hesitant to share my customer email list. What will STOKE do with it?

You don't need to share your email list to sign up and start sharing STOKE. You may always give your customers virtual STOKE Prepaid Mastercard gift cards. Beyond sharing STOKE, we use email addresses to help match STOKE and confirm who received it. STOKE may also cross-reference your email list to exclude your current customers from receiving your gift of STOKE, thereby increasing the probability of offering your STOKE to someone who'd be excited to discover your business for the first time.

If you'd like to share STOKE with your customers via email, you'll need to share your contacts. We integrate with many service providers, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact. Whether you connect through them or share your list with STOKE directly, the list and all of its contents remain yours. 

We take privacy and security very seriously. You are the sole owner of your email lists AND your business is the only one able to use your email list. Business owners choose who to email and always have the option to include a personal note.

Who owns my data? Can my data be resold?

When you share your customer list with STOKE, your data remains yours and can only be used to provide STOKE services to you. Much like other web services, such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, and Salesforce.com, you always maintain ownership of your customer's contact details. Hence, this data can never be resold.

Does STOKE expire?

Depending on the type of business you have and the STOKE you create, a person who selects your business may have a certain number of days to redeem it. We send reminders to customers for them to redeem their STOKE and if we see that STOKE has not been used and is about to expire, we ask customers if they'd like a 2-week extension. For people who say yes, this signals that they are still interested in trying your business and will likely stop by soon.

How is STOKE redeemed?

There are two ways for customers to redeem STOKE:

  1. Customers pay using a physical STOKE Prepaid Mastercard gift card, OR

  2. Using a smartphone, customers pay with their virtual STOKE Prepaid Mastercard gift card via Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

Either way, when STOKE customers come in to redeem their STOKE at your business, transactions are handled in the same way as usual. There is nothing to do differently - no special training, no special equipment and no special software is necessary to process STOKE. STOKE is already compatible with your business.

How many customers will discover my business each month?

This is entirely up to you. By setting monthly STOKE targets, you determine how many new customers will visit your business each month as well as how many repeat customers you'd like to honor. STOKE will offer your promotions to customers that are right for your business. For example, those who live or work in your target neighborhoods and have already indicated that they're interested in discovering a business like yours.

We monitor STOKE performance to make sure gifts are being selected and redeemed at rates that bring in the number of customers STOKE Member Businesses expect. The system course corrects as needed, and can be adjusted from month to month. This way, business owners can manage how many STOKE’d customers come through the door each month.

Does STOKE collect feedback and reviews?

Yes, we do. We ask for feedback every time someone uses STOKE. It's a great way to make sure your business is always making a good first impression. We also check back regularly to see if they've returned to your business or intend to do so soon.

Why local businesses use STOKE?

  1. Local businesses use STOKE to attract quality customers, not deal-seekers, coupon clippers and  Groupon collectors.

  2. Local businesses use STOKE to support other local businesses.

  3. Local businesses use STOKE to boost revenue.

How does STOKE work with my existing loyalty program?

STOKE can work seamlessly with an existing loyalty program. It's a complement in the sense that it can be used to thank customers that you've already identified as deserving a gift or reward through your existing loyalty program. Unlike traditional loyalty program rewards - STOKE feels like a true gift because STOKE isn't a gift redeemable only at your business - STOKE is redeemable at hundreds of other local businesses! 

They are unconditional gifts, accompanied by a sincere thank you, that encourage your customers to discover another great local business - unconditionally.

People love getting STOKE, sometimes going as far as to send their own thank you note back to the business that shared STOKE with them. Happy customers are loyal customers! 

Keeping just 5% more of them can increase your profits by up to 95% 

Harvard Business review told us that.

What's guaranteed?

  1. Transparency, integrity and a genuine partnership - we don't succeed unless you do.

  2. Regular reporting so you always know how STOKE is helping your business.

  3. Control - target customers, set budgets, measure results and more.

How come I've never heard of STOKE?

Our first ‘Spend Local Program’ was established in Winter Park, Colorado in 2011, with a number of goals in mind - all of which were aimed at driving traffic to local businesses and the program was successful in terms of getting money back into local business owners’ hands.

The program originally launched with the help of the local Chamber Of Commerce which resulted in a 100 % activation of card accounts in Winter Park and the program generated millions of dollars in new business for the participating merchants.

A Winter Park bed & breakfast became our first member. They helped to spread the word, and soon we had about 70 businesses sharing “STOKE”. Each time they gave STOKE, a gift card showing their appreciation, to one of their existing customers, they'd meet a customer from another local business in return. It was awesome!

The bed & breakfast introduced customers to the local book store and the clothing boutique down the street. The children's clothing store introduced customers to a local photographer and the neighborhood cafe that was kid friendly. Everyone gave their customers STOKE, and that made customers happy. And everyone met new customers, which made the business owners happy, too. That's when we knew we were on to something.

Since then, we've been building the network and working with select businesses to add more benefit and deliver a win-win solution. We don't advertise and membership is by invitation only. So if you've been invited, you should know a fellow business owner or customer recommended you because they think your business is pretty amazing.

How does STOKE help local businesses?

People love receiving, especially thank you gifts. STOKE helps local businesses keep their best customers happy. Happy customers are repeat customers, and that's good for everyone.

STOKE also helps people discover or get reacquainted with other local businesses. This works so well that many of our business partners believe that giving STOKE makes more sense than advertising, coupons or referral programs.

Sharing STOKE strengthens the local economy, too. STOKE promote shopping locally. When you share STOKE as a thank you to one of your existing customers, you'll be helping them discover another local business. At the same time, another local business will share STOKE to give one of their customers a thank you gift — introducing them to you.

How is spreading STOKE different than giving a coupon or free sample?

This is what truly sets STOKE apart. We are not about deals or discounts. STOKE Member Businesses give full-priced goods and services as gifts in the network. That's how we can attract the right kind of new customer to your business — the ones that are likely to come back. Remember, the people who redeem STOKE are not bargain hunters and they are not tourists. They are another local business owner's best customers. They are the great tippers and loyal customers that business owners want to thank by giving them some STOKE.

How is STOKE different than Yelp or Groupon?

Unlike Yelp, STOKE reviews may only be left by customers who receive STOKE to discover a local business. We believe this makes STOKE reviews more authentic and reflective of a person's first experience with a small business. 

STOKE is not like Groupon because we don't sell STOKE to consumers and more importantly, STOKE gifts are full-valued gifts. They're not huge discounts or coupons.

Is STOKE a way for businesses to sell gift cards?

Businesses may not sell STOKE Prepaid Mastercard gift cards. STOKE gift cards have no cash value unless activated and loaded by STOKE. They're simply an invitation for the recipient to visit a new local business - like yours. Once STOKE  has been shared, STOKE will issue a STOKE Prepaid Mastercard gift card that's valid at the selected local business.

Is STOKE only available in Encinitas?

Today, STOKE works with businesses up and down the coast of Southern California. We're growing quickly and are adding new neighborhoods every day. If you'd like to join and there isn't a neighborhood network in your area, please let us know.

I'd like to experience STOKE, what do I do next?

Signing up for STOKE is easy. If you've already received a private invitation, simply follow the link to sign up. Include your name and email address, verify your business details, and set up your STOKE promotion. The whole process will take just a few minutes. There's no credit card required and no obligation to continue. Once you're approved, we'll send STOKE gift cards to you right away so that you can start handing them out and thanking your best customers. If you haven't received a private invitation, you may request one by sending an email to chango@STOKE.fund   

*The STOKE Prepaid Mastercard® is issued by Sunrise Banks, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated. Apple Pay is a service mark of Apple Inc. Use of this card constitutes acceptance of the terms and conditions stated in the Cardholder Agreement. **Conditions and exceptions apply --- see Cardholder Agreement and Short Form Disclosure
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