Rather than just ten, there are actually thirteen major players that are able to provide an employee discount program to corporations and organizations in the US. The offerings, in the somewhat crowded marketplace of employee perk and employee discount programs, often have some overlap and duplication, but each service strives to separate itself from the others in the market, often with a couple of unique factors that set it apart. Most services are free to both the employer and the employee, but the premium services provide more control over content, delivery and branding to the employees. Some services allow employers to post their own local offerings inside the system as well, such as a local dry cleaners and corner shop florists. Depending on the relationship between the provider and organization, some employee discount program vendors are sent active employee data, letting the perk provider know who is an active employee and who has left the firm. In cases where this data is not supplied, offer producers become upset when they discover that former employees, from over ten years ago, can still access their system, which goes against the very purpose of the model. If the discount offer or perk leaks out and becomes public, then the sheen of exclusivity is off and either the offers are revoked or employees just stop using the service as it ceases to provide any exclusive value. Vendors reviewed are Plum Benefits, Tickets at Work, Nextjump, Access Development, Motivano, Corporate Offers, Perkspot, YouDecide, Lifecare, Beneplace, Anyperk and Abenity.
Who Are The Market Leaders In The Employee Discount Program Market Sector?
Corporate Offers is a New York City upstart in the already crowded employee discount program or employee perk program (EPPSP) industry. This relatively small company, with only twenty five employees, offers a full line of discounts and programs at no cost to the employee or the employer. This organization appears to lock down employees access to its exclusive offers using a secure two factor security method, which, they claim, results in zero offer leakage to the public sector, protecting their offer producers which include The New York Yankees and DisneyWorld. While their offers are strong, employees access to their system can only be from their company network. Remote access of the offers can be troublesome for the remote and off-site employees, unless employees use a VPN or a remote desktop session. This service is free, but is limited to East coast entertainment offers like Broadway Show tickets, New York Yankees, New York Jets, discounted Hamilton tickets and Disney Parks tickets. This employee perk service does not provide discounts to hard goods like computers and automobiles, as many other services do. Corporate Offers has added an employee rewards program, which is where many employee perk programs are now headed. The inclusion of this rewards service helps underline the relationship between the employer and employee and has been shown to provide a more positive feedback work environment for the worker, over a straight cash bonus. Employee participation rates are high and HR loves the fact that this company is local. One other differentiator for Corporate Offers is that they only send the employee and employer one email a month, because, after all, employees are supposed to be working and not be distracted by extra-curricular email activity, even if its for heavily discounted tickets to Disney. Most other EPPSP services will pepper the employees with multiple emails per week, sometimes to a frustrating level for the employer. It seems that this organization has found the sweet spot of value to the HR division of the business, without becoming overtly disruptive to its business operation.
Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG)
Operating under three different names (and hogging as many google searches) these three brands all offer the same product and service. This group consists of Tickets At Work (ticketsatwork.com), Plum Benefits (PlumBenefits.com) and Working Advantage (WorkingAdvantage.com). These employee perk program and employee discount program divisions are owned and operated by the same team at Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) based in Orlando, Florida. This company has hundreds of employees and is helmed by Brett Reizen, the industry wunderkind of employee perk and rewards programs. EBG has become like the Ford Motor Company of the employee perks program industry, certainly not the best, but by far, the biggest. What it lacks in compelling bargains, it more than makes up for with an extensive product lines and a myriad of choices that veer through many verticals including computers, automobiles, windows and doors, siding, roofing, appliances, tickets, safaris , cruises, planes, travel, hotels, sports, Broadway etc. This service is often the first choice of HR employee perk program managers given its extensive list of offerings, but the program can often fail as HR departments report that, due to its vast array of over 10,000 products and services, it encourages shopping at work and fails to deliver compelling offers in a clear and concise way. When it does feature a compelling offer, employees often have great difficulty in locating it on their large and confusing website. This employee perk service has also been seen to hamper users ability to compare apples-to-apples pricing because hidden additional costs are often loaded in at the shopping cart as additional fees, taxes and handling, making price comparisons to other competing or similar services very difficult. All three services are free to the employer as EBG gets a cut of all the sales through a commission relationship model built on razor thin margins. EBG is part owned by the Shubert Organization, a Broadway producer in New York City, that supplies them with all their Broadway show deals and has been running into issues of conflict of interest.
Nextjump is an employee discount program based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The corporation has 150 employees, with offices in both Boston and New York City. Nextjump basically has two offerings, a free service under the perksatwork.com brand and paid service under the corporateperks.com line. The paid service differs to the free service in that in that employers can dictate what products and services are provided to their employees, whereas the free service delivers all kinds of services that may not be entirely appropriate for an organization, but will deliver revenue (and profit) to Nextjump to offset the cost of managing the service for the employer. The Nextjump services boast over 30,000 product lines in their program and can often suffer from less-than-compelling offers with an often difficult-to-navigate web site. Morgan Stanley is a big proponent of the Nextjump services and now use Perks At Work, which is NextJump’s new branding for the service over the legacy Corporate Perks model. You can see more about Morgan Stanley’s relationship with Nextjump in the case studies.
Ticket Monster Perks
Owned and operated by “Inside Track Tickets Inc.” Ticket Monster Perks is a thirty employee company operated out of Virginia Beach and is a spin off from Ticket Monster, a successful East Coast ticket broker. The free employee employee discount program service is similar to “Tickets At Work” in that it stacks the entertainment high and sells it cheap, just not that cheap. Many savings are temporary as they often employ the same strategies as TAW by clawing back profits by tacking on hidden charges for shipping and handling fees, even for things that do not need shipping and handling. Their site often lacks compelling bargains, but its extensive product line will keep employees shopping for hours. Its strength lies in live concerts, but it can also be useful for ski passes and movie theater discounts.
Abenity, based in Franklin, Tennessee, only has 25 employees, but boasts over 302,000 discount offers in their employee perk program. Abenity didn’t get the memo that less-is-more. They cover everything from movie theater discounts with relationships with Regal cinemas to new car sales from Nissan. They also allow employers to put up their own offers for local services like dry cleaners and gyms etc. The Abenity service is a paid employee discount program service, which operates across the United States with a number of employers using them eg: IBM and Microsoft. The service runs from $250 per month for the basic service to the full enterprise service at $1500 per month, which includes a branded iPhone app, up to 150 Local Vendors and an API employee offer feed that can be used on the Corporation’s official benefits intranet page. Hackensack Meridian Health and Nationwide Insurance are also two of Abenity’s biggest clients and have been with them for many years.
San Francisco dot-com startup Anyperk has over 80 employees and specializes in providing a premium based employee discount EPPSP employee discount program service to national employees. Virgin America and Cushman & Wakefield are two of their biggest employee perk program clients. At $275 per month for 50 employees, the service seems to be pricing itself out of the market, but it also offers an employee rewards program ideal for companies looking to streamline their rewards via a gift-carding program.
Beneplace has 36 employees and although they are based out of Austin, Texas, their reach is across the whole United States. Beneplace provides much the same service as many other EPPSP’s , but its focus is on client customization of the front end. Beneplace is a paid employee discount program service and is used by a number of large corporations including: Pitney Bowes, Reckitt Benckiser and Siemens. Their solution can be expensive, but it is fully customized to its business clients, which are happy to pay for that service. Image is more important to their clients than content.
Corestream is another NYC based operation, based at 304 Park Avenue South. The firm has 25 employees. Corestream carries just a basic list of discounts and offers, but they have the ability to offer Payroll Deduction. Studies have shown that employees perk program participation is significantly increased when purchases can be made through payroll deduction at work. To get this level of service, the employer must work very closely with Corestream to make sure that the integrity of the payroll system is not corrupted. Quest Diagnostics is a large employer that Corestream has on its books.
Lifecare is Shelton, CT company with over 250 employees, the only company set to challenge EBG’s reign over the industry. Their employee perk program product line which includes Lifemart, Mothers at Work, concierge services and homework helper are all more focused to improve the work/life balance of employee, rather than bring the best discounts for a Broadway show to the employee. Lifecare has found their niche with The Disney ABC companies and New York Life Insurance being the two of its biggest clients for their employee discount program.
Operating under another brand name:
This organization operates under two brands, Motivano and Benefit Hub, and is based out of both Tampa, Florida and NYC. The NYC office is also located on Park Avenue, similar to others listed here. With just 36 employees, it’s not clear what actually motivates Motivano, but they certainly try to motivate their own clients employees with a comprehensive employee discount program squarely aimed at retail, medical and healthcare employers. Motivano does suffer from the more-is-better disease, which is often at odds with their own clients wants, as they express desire for them to focus more. Currently Motivano promotes exclusive discounts for over 100,000 national and local merchants, making their website slow to navigate and cumbersome to actually make a purchase. Target stores and Cigna healthcare are two of their top clients, with employees of those organizations granted full access to the slew of offers under the Motivano brand.
Operating under another brand name:
Access Development is a long-time leader in the industry and has the nation’s largest private discount network, with over 300,000 merchant locations. These include popular national brands, but Access offers more local, in-store content than other discount networks, with offers in each of the top 150 markets in the US and deals within 10 miles for 99% of the population. Access also offers the largest mobile coupon network, with 200,000 merchants offering “show your phone” discounts. Its employee perk program is called Access Perks, and features its network branded for employer groups. Access Perks serves hundreds of clients, including small business with just a few employees as well as groups that employ thousands. Based in Salt Lake City, Access Development has over 150 employees and is nearly 35 years old. The company’s clients, most of whom Access has chosen to not disclose publicly, cover a variety of industries, including finance, insurance, healthcare, travel, membership organizations, and more. AccessDevelopment.com does feature testimonials from clients on nearly every page, and the company invites anyone interested to contact them for referrals and details about their programs.
Based in Chicago, Illinois, Perkspot has 30 employees and likes to get the big corporate clients. Their flagship clients include Yahoo, Southwest Airlines and Walgreens. Employers must pay Perkspot for the service, as nothing comes free, but they do allow the client to have control over the look-and-feel of the employee portal. Perkspot is a paid service and Abbott Laboratories and St Vincents Medical Center are two of the larger employee discount program clients.
Based in Duluth, Georgia and with 23 employees, You Decide is currently an independently owned employee perk service. You Decide focuses on getting corporate clients and relies on their vendor partner, the behemoth “Tickets At Work” (Listed above) to provide many of their offers. You Decide then takes a small cut of the total sales commission , making them an ideal company for acquisition by TAW. You Decide is currently a free employee discount program service and is used by Covidien / Medtronics and Delta Airlines.
- There is some more information on the Employee Discount Programs Overview which covers the various types of employee discount programs available and what companies find ultimately valuable.
- The Employee Discount Program Case Studies article takes a closer look at where the rubber meets the road and what different organizations actually chose for their employee discount program and for what reasons