Wildfire Systems, a Solana Beach startup that helps people to earn cashback for online shopping and product recommendations, now offers a customizable mobile Safari extension that works with Apple's latest operating system -- iOS 15, which rolled out Monday.
The iOS extension helps merchants initiate a cashback and rewards program, allowing consumers to earn perks similar to those for Bing, Rakuten, and others.
Acorns, the saving and investing app, became the first to leverage Wildfire’s platform for the mobile Safari browser.
Wildfire will power Acorns’ Safari browser extension for Acorns Earn, enabling customers to earn more money from thousands of brands while they shop online.
A percentage of the purchase goes back to the consumer through rewards programs. Wildfire works with about 30,000 merchants.
“The Discover Card was ground-breaking decades ago, when they started giving cashback on the card, and now every card does it,” said Jordan Glazier, CEO of Wildfire. “PayPal and Capital One have both launched independent services, something similar to what I’m describing. It’s become the central battleground to reward the consumer for their purchase.”
Consumer data comes along with it for merchants, not Wildfire. PayPal did it by acquiring Honey for $4 billion in November 2019. Capital One also did it through an acquisition. Rakuten bought eBates for $1 billion in 2014.
Offering mobile cashback programs has not been easy. Most are used on desktops. Previously, because of its privacy focus, Apple made this process so difficult that users often would give up before they had a chance to use a mobile Safari extension. In some cases, the onboarding process is eight steps long.
Time spent with mobile increased by an average of 31 minutes per U.S. adult in 2020 -- reaching 4 hours and 16 minutes, according to eMarketer, which added that it will grow 2.5% in 2021.
U.S. retail mobile-commerce sales grew at 41.4% in 2020 and will grow another 15.2% in 2021 to reach $359.32 billion.
Annual sales should nearly double between now and 2025, eMarketer projects.
“Until now we have not been able to offer the mobile extension through iOS,” Glazier says. “With the latest update, Apple is offering this service. They are leapfrogging Google Chrome, which does not offer this through mobile. We’ve seen this in Samsung for mobile, but they have relatively small market share.”