Brands Might Be Underestimating Cashback, Loyalty Programs

Ibotta continues to roll out a performance-marketing network for brands offering general merchandise, moving beyond historic services that support fast-moving consumer goods and groceries.

The company has launched pilots with Dollar General, Lego, Hanes, and several beauty brands, after finding success with Coca-Cola, Walmart and others.

“The performance and conversion rates for Walmart’s application is better on its own platform, compared with on the Ibotta’s app,” said Ibotta CEO Bryan Leach. “Many of the companies we’re working with are experiencing their first performance-based campaign with us.”

Billions of lines of purchase data processed annually support the growth of the performance network for programs such as Dollar General, scheduled to roll out in midsummer based on privacy and safeguards to protect consumer privacy. 

The performance-based network delivers digital promotions and rewards for specific items. Rather than pay for impressions or clicks, companies pay on a fee-per-unit sold. 



Unlike Rakuten, which gives cashback and rewards for participating retailers, Ibotta provides cashback and rewards for individual products. Both have programs for in-store purchases.

Ibotta’s white-label approach supports stores like Dollar General and Walmart, as well as Kroger, Shell, and others.

“We’re in the giving-away-money business,” he said. “And I think we’re giving away money at a good time.”

Rewards and loyalty programs continue to flourish, because consumers are using them to adapt to higher prices. Sixty percent of consumers lived paycheck to paycheck as of March 2023, with less than one-third struggled to pay their monthly bills, according LendingClub. This is despite a decline from 62% in February 2023, and from 64% at this time last year.

“Those graduating from school are using our app to find savings, because they are not from the generation who clicks coupons from a newspaper,” Leach said. “We also see a lot more click and collect, which means pick-up at the store to save on shipping.”

About 86 retail chains are integrated with Ibotta. Some are small and have one or two stores, while others are very large like Walmart, reaching more than 200 million consumers. The company continues to work on programs at the club-type stores. In the short term, there are not plans to expand outside the United States.

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