Rakuten Sees Benefits From Inflation, Consumers Turning To Cash-Back Rewards

Cash-back apps make it easy for shoppers to earn rewards and for retailers to build relationships. Rakuten, which partners with thousands of stores, makes it free to join the program. Consumers can make an eligible purchase with the partnered retailer and earn cash back rewards.

While concerns over inflation and threats of a recession are on the minds of consumers, this does not prevent them from shopping. Many more are turning to cash-back rewards programs such as Rakuten.

“Shoppers are just becoming smarter,” says Rakuten President Kristen Gall. “They’re prioritizing deals, discounts, and rewards, so they can still shop while minimizing the impact it has on their wallets.”

This is a part of the reason why Rakuten continues to see growth on its platform. With its annual Big Give Week sales event in coming up in May, the company wanted to share year-over-year growth in visits and shoppers for the past two years.

The company on Tuesday shared year-over-year data to support its significant growth in performance from its Big Give Week in 2022 vs. 2021.

During Big Give Week, shoppers can tap into more rewards with Rakuten's biggest referral bonus of the year. When members refer friends to Rakuten and they join and spend $40 with one of Rakuten's retail partners, both receive a $40 bonus, based on terms and conditions.

Rakuten saw a 39% increase in visits, an 11% increase in Rakuten member sign-ups, 18% increase in first-time buyers, and a 5% increase in shopping trips during Big Give Week 2022, compared with 2021.

Week over week comparisons during the same time period show a 133% increase in visits, 61% increase in Rakuten member sign ups, 188% increase in first-time buyers, and 31% increase in shopping trips during that same time period.

“From a marketer’s perspective, retail sales events like Big Give Week are becoming increasingly important,” she said. “Holiday sales events like Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day are still important shopping moments, but aren’t as exciting for shoppers looking for novelty and new ways to save.”

Consumers look more for retail-owned events, these days, to do much of their shopping. Amazon Prime Day had a significant hand in setting the stage for this shift in behavior, and today there are several leading retail sales events that shoppers look forward to such as Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, Macy’s Semi-Annual Sale, and Big Give Week.

Retailers lean into loyalty programs and building member bases, and these retail shopping events give those members an opportunity to save the most.

“Marketers need to start thinking about retail sales events the same way they used to think about Memorial Day sales or Presidents Day sales,” she said. “These retail moments provide marketers an opportunity to engage with shoppers at times throughout the year when they’re most active and are intent on spending. By investing strategically in retail sales events throughout the calendar year, brands can easily earn and maintain consumer loyalty.”

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