Hi, everyone. Before I provide finer details, let me begin by letting everyone know that you will not be losing your rewards. You will be paid, so don’t worry about that! We are a couple months behind, which we regret. Here’s what’s going on...
First, let me give you a brief history on our unique rewards program. As you know, Portal is comprised of mostly ex-dealers, so we are all familiar with the typical rebate and incentive programs that have existed for years in our industry. Two years ago, when we decided to launch an incentive program to drive web ordering, we had an opportunity to start from scratch and do things differently. We asked dealers what they liked and didn’t like about existing industry programs. A big complaint we got was that rebate checks came to their office and got sucked up into their business account. We thought it would be pretty great if we could carve off a small piece of the incentive programs and reward individuals rather than just the company. In other words, a rewards program that let dealers use their rewards any way they chose.
We also wanted the cash to be top-of-mind and easily accessible, in dealers pockets (rather than in the form of a company check or account credit) so we figured out how to put it all on personalized reloadable Visa cards. Great idea, right? Now, who’s going to pay for it? We figured the suppliers would pay for it, since they are getting the orders and they fund rebate programs now. And why would they want to pay for it? Because they want to be easier to do business with on the web, and we believed they’d be willing to carve out a small percentage for that rebate on each transaction. Suppliers thought the concept was interesting, but they weren’t sure how dealers would react to it. Before they’d support it, they wanted us to come back when we proved that it works. So with the support of our investors, we decided to raise the funds to pay for the program ourselves and prove it out. We believed strongly that dealers would want to be paid this way, and it turns out we were right. Over the past year, we accomplished what we set out to prove, and we now have suppliers committed to funding the program across almost every product category.
The challenge has been getting everyone aligned to make the cutover from portal funding to industry funding. We've spent several million dollars of our funding to cover the rebate thus far. The transition period has dragged on a few months longer than we had expected, and we ran over budget. The good news is that we are back on track now, and will resume payouts in stages. We will start by paying June rewards next week then July at the end of the month, continuing with two payments a month until we are caught up. We hate this delay more than you do but are proud to have fought hard to bring this rebate program to the industry and gain the support to sustain it for years to come.
Founder & CEO