Megaphone has launched a new cashless payment app, allowing customers to purchase the magazine and support a local homeless or low-income street vendor with their smartphone.
The monthly magazine is sold by people who are low-income to help them make an income and connect with the community.
Vendors are considered ‘micro-business’ owners. They buy each copy of the magazine upfront for 75 cents and sell it to customers on the street for $2. They earn $1.25 from each sale.
This morning, Mayor Gregor Robertson was on hand to make the first official purchase using the app.
Proud to be 1st buyer of the new @megaphonemag app! Thanks to all partners who supported this innovative social enterprise!
— Gregor Robertson (@MayorGregor) September 15, 2016
Jessica Hannon, Megaphone’s executive director, says that Megaphone’s sales have been lagging in the past year due to the fact that most people do not have change on hand to purchase a copy of the publication.
“Vendors have been telling us more and more that customers aren’t carrying cash. And we saw that it was a big challenge for vendors and was going to start affecting their sales,” Hannon tells Daily Hive.
“Vendors are already dealing with so many things going on in their lives. There are people who are homeless and low-income. There’s a lot of things going on in their lives that can make it hard to make sales, so we wanted to remove that barrier.”
The cashless payment app will allow customers to easily purchase a magazine with a few clicks on their phone. The app is the first of its kind in Canada, and will help Megaphone vendors continue to earn a living.
“We really wanted to preserve that connection between vendor and customer. So not just have it be an online digital only thing,” Hannon said.
“That is a really part of Megaphone, (the) cross economic boundary connection that happens when someone who is homeless or low-income is selling a product to someone who has a very different life experience.”