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Reframing Rebates

This seemingly tactical solution brings multiple benefits to your customer engagement strategy 

For decades, brands have used rebates to accelerate revenue by driving increased purchase frequency and conversion. When you think of rebates, you might picture the old-fashioned method of making a major household purchase, filling out a form, mailing it in with a paper receipt, and waiting a few weeks to receive a check in the mail. But that’s old school and rebates have evolved!

More recently, rebates have taken a digital approach with modern features, including receipt upload or code entry validation and online prepaid codes or gift cards in lieu of paper checks. Innovations like these improve pay-back speed, user friendliness, and flexibility for both brands and consumers. And rebates aren’t just for large, infrequent purchases anymore, either: these solutions might be known by other names – cash back, gift with purchase, kickback, etc. – but they all incorporate a “do, get” incentive-based call-to-action with a guaranteed reward in exchange for registration and participation.

Rebates are often relegated to transactional or short-term tactics, but when viewed and orchestrated as part of a brand’s overall customer experience strategy, they can deliver broader and longer-term benefits. At Merkle, we see rebates as an important part of the digital marketing mix because, in addition to driving revenue, they also support acquisition and engagement and help tee up ongoing customer relationships.

Rebates collect and enrich first-party data.

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 brand touch points.

Rebates stop the cycle of discounting.

When used in place of coupons or “on sale” offers, rebates help maintain customer perception of product quality and help brands better mitigate risk to profit margin. Rebates can also be tightly controlled and targeted to boost new product launches, drive trial, increase purchases during off-peak buying times, and maximize co-op marketing / cross-sell opportunities.

Rebates are a bridge to sustained loyalty.

With a digital approach, brands can use their rebate submission portal to offer customers even more value. Elements like product information or tutorials to educate, reviews or user-generated content to build advocacy, and trivia or games to spark fun turn a would-be transactional redemption flow into a useful, engaging content hub. Plus, customers who register and participate can also opt-in for ongoing CRM, join a loyalty program, or explore other brand-owned channels to build deeper connections over time.

Rebates drive revenue right now.

As brands continue to re-emerge from the impacts of COVID-19, rebates can help motivate customers to purchase again by providing a sense of urgency and value exchange. Rebates can entice customers to try new products or switch brands with lower perceived risk. And they can help win back lapsed customers who’ve delayed or switched brands out of necessity.

Want to learn more? Check out our new eBook here to learn how loyalty can help fuel identity in the cookieless world.