Rakuten Rewards ran a 3X cashback promotion during Amazon Prime Day to give retailers an opportunity to gain some of the traffic traversing the web.
How does it work? For starters, data personalizes the experience. If a retailer offered 3% cashback on a purchase on Amazon Prime Day, for example, Rakuten Rewards offered 9% cashback for the day.
The Average Order Value for participating merchants increased 14% to $114, compared with the previous year.
Merchants working with Rakuten experienced, on average, a 43% increase in traffic and a 60% sales increase compared with the previous year.
“Prime has become the kickoff to the holiday shopping season,” said Kristen Gall, president of Rakuten Rewards. She said retailers are starting with early promotions because products will sell out based on inventory constraints.
This year’s Prime Day numbers on Rakuten drove the start to the holiday season. On Prime Day:
“We’re expecting early shopping in November to happen on Singles Day, which is 11/11,” she said. “Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be dominated by these categories.”
She said people will buy less for those outside of their immediate family, but the same or more for their immediately family and kids, based on an internal survey data. Most will fill a void while at home.
In October, Rakuten traditionally sees sales ramp up and gift buying begin.
Categories that performed well include department stores, electronics, and outdoor.
This year consumers may get deliveries for free, but speed of delivery may not be an option, prompting retailers to move up their deals and promotions.
Rakuten also recently launched a Gift Card Mall that allows members to buy cards from major retailers using cashback awards, in a move prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rakuten works with many retail partners -- about 3,500.
It no longer works with Amazon -- the partnership ended earlier this year. This was due to the pandemic, which changed the way Amazon works with affiliate partners that did not need the traffic to their marketplace and could not keep up with inventory demands, according to industry insiders.