As many consumers are now watching every penny they spend, rebates can go a long way to attract existing as well as new customers.
There are plenty of creative rebate programs. One of the most frequently used and discussed is from Rakuten. Yahoo offers a rebate program through Verizon Media. Now Microsoft Bing began talking up its rebate program in time for the holidays.
Bing Rebates, part of Microsoft Rewards, launched in the U.S. last month in the Edge Browser as a free program that rewards people for searching the web on Bing. The program allows people to earn gift cards, donate to nonprofit organizations, and get rebates when they shop on Bing.
The program offers rebates from AT&T, Expedia, Forever 21, Overstock, Microsoft, Walmart, and others.
The offer is intended to make it easier to find cashback deals easier when using Bing, and ties into the user’s Microsoft Rewards account.
The real advantages to brands from rebate programs come with the data that companies and search engines like Bing collect based on the consumers opting into their program.
Online registration turns anonymous consumers into known customers, fueling identity.
Rebate submission allows brands to map the customer to their location, product purchase, spend amount, and other attributes to build a profile. These details can then be used to map out a consumer’s journey through additional media and offerings.
Users searching the web for gifts using Microsoft Bing can find deals from participating merchants directly on the search results page without needing to click into a website first.
When rebates are used in place of coupons or sale offers, they help maintain customer perception of product quality.
For brands, they mitigate risk to profit margins, per Merkle. Rebates can also be controlled and targeted to boost new product launches, drive trial, increase purchases during off-peak buying times, and maximize co-op marketing and cross-sell opportunities.
Product information or tutorials can educate, reviews or user-generated content can build advocacy, and trivia or games spark entertainment, but a rebate program can create loyal consumers, according to Kristen Gall, president of Rakuten Rewards, who says she sees it all the time.
During the Amazon Prime sale, Gall began seeing brands launch early promotions because, she believes, products will sell out based on inventory constraints. Rebates make it that much more attractive.
Quotient in late October announced the launch of National Rebates to power cash-back offers through the Coupons.com app. The platform marks an expansion of Quotient’s National Promotions feature.
Through Coupons.com, consumers now have more choices in how and where they save, at a time when value and convenience are top of mind for shoppers. Brands have the ability to collect more information about consumers.
Consumers can redeem offers at any participating store in the U.S. with an itemized receipt — both in-store and through pick-up and delivery — and receive quick cash back with no minimum balance required for payout. The new platform also offers integration with major retailers.
National Rebates allows brands to execute their national promotions strategy in one place with data measurement. General Mills is an early partner in the new platform offering.
KC Glaser, senior manager of brand experience at General Mills, has been using the platform for its entire General Mills brands to engage with shoppers, presenting them with valuable offers.