Cashback is a great solution for brands that want to build strong and lasting relationships with customers. It is a well established reward program that has attracted a large and savvy community who enjoy the benefits it provides. Brands should however take note of the following points to maximise their investment.

1. The first and probably most important question that needs to be answered is “What is your cashback objective?”

To define this, it is really important that brands ask themselves a series of questions in order to be clear on why you want to launch a cashback program, to begin with? There are many good reasons to do so: 

  • Are you a well known or up-and-coming brand that could benefit from a constant year-round boost in sales that cashback programs can provide?
  • Are you launching a new product that could benefit from a more targeted marketing approach via a tailored group of cashback users?
  • Are you a brand entering a new market where a cashback program can help you gain a real connection with local users?
  • Are you a more established brand that could benefit from the trust and loyalty that a cashback program can bring provide?
  • Are you able to offer a cashback customer who is savings-savvy and relationship-focused the commitment and solutions they seek?

Ask yourself these sorts of fundamental questions and find the answers before proceeding further on any real optimisation of a cashback concept and budget. 

2. Next, you need to start thinking about how your brand can work together with a cashback provider to serve its customers’ needs

The point being that when you work with a cashback provider, a brand isn’t just working with iGraal or another provider,  but is instead working with a large community of buyers and savers. At iGraal, we are very proud of the large and diverse group of savings-interested members that we serve, and we will always put our over 6 million members first. Because when they win, we all win.

Cashback offers your brand the chance to connect with the right customers from a very diverse community. Cashback’s loyalty based solutions appeal to a very broad customer base including young and old, students and professionals, singles and parents, and those that are very active or more relaxed. While this customer base provides a lot of opportunity, it is always best for a brand to specifically target the group where their product is most wanted or needed. 

Once a brand has an offer and story which we’ll explore further in the next section, it’s time to choose which channel will work best to capture the target customer’s interest. We, like other cashback providers, offer a whole ecosystem of possible content and channels covering the complete consumer journey. These can be used to improve brand sales and customer lives. These range from tailored newsletters sent to a specific target group to push notification shopping recommendations. And more!

3. Think about how you can animate your brand’s program with offers linked to moments and stories that capture interest and are useful to the cashback member

The great thing about cashback is that it brings consumers back again and again. The challenge that accompanies this level of engagement is that, for this reason, it is essential to have fresh and relevant content constantly available. As such, cashback offers brands the chance to market products throughout the entire year.  

In a normal year: We would suggest brands plan ahead, build a promotions calendar based on what can be predicted. Look for opportunities in everyday life where you can create stories that include your products and cashback offers.  For example, if you are a sports, fitness or health brand, start your calendar with the ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ promotion built around a story that really motivates the user to keep on going.  Consider highlighting the cashback offer as a reward for all that added effort, then repeat this weekly with further promotions that continue to reward the user as they strive harder. Then as you go into April, think about a spring campaign linked to getting out and exercising. As summer approaches, so does the opportunity to link your product with sporting events. 

There are many moments in a normal year where products become even more desirable to consumers because of the situation they fit, from festival season, to beach days, to fashion weeks, to film festivals, to tech fairs. In a normal year, all of this can be planned ahead. Unfortunately this hasn’t always been the case this year, which brings us to the second part of creating a plan.

In an unusual year, like 2020: Plan ahead, but not too far. Concentrate the second part of your promotions calendar that features unpredictable events. Events that are very hard to predict, but not totally impossible. Being able to do this means constantly watching out for social trends and preparing for unpredictable circumstances. 

During the pandemic, opportunities have presented themselves where brands have really benefited from helping their customers under difficult circumstances. One example is during the lockdown period where brands came together with fresh ideas, offers and stories to distract consumers from the negative experience of being trapped at home. Brands turned this into a more positive movement where people were inspired and encouraged to find ways to really enjoy life at home. This has been followed by lots of fresh initiatives or trends that have really gained ground like self-care, Staycations, creating a long-term WFH “office,” staying in-touch through virtual meetups, and localisation.   

Being able to adapt and tailor offers in real time is critical to success regardless of which kind of year we have because it gives brands a chance to stand out and be innovative.  We’ll explore this more in the next point, but first a final suggestion: take risks a few times per year.

4. Monitor what your competitors are doing. Using smart timing and your own brand identity to stand out from the competition

Cashback is a popular service and a great place where brands and consumers meet. This also means that a brand’s competitors are probably already working with a cashback program or they are at least planning to. We recommend that you watch what your competition is doing in our spaces, learn from their cashback actions and do something different or even better.

Be bold and create moments where your brand can really stand out. Use impactful offers (e.g. 25% off for cashback users.) In the short term, this will help to ‘boost’ performances at a higher cost per sale. But in the long term, this kind of campaign helps brands to be discovered by new savings savvy customers, who expect real value for money and will remember it for that great offer that stood out from the competition. It also gives a brand a competitive edge over similar brands when they least expect it. This will have a dramatic impact on long-term performance.

Don’t just copy the competition, because all you will do is canabalise your and their success. Instead, promote whatever you can to catch your competitors off guard. Start your promotions before them, make your offers that little bit better, create your own unique style, target a slightly different group of people who fit even better to your brand. These tweaks will make the difference.

5. Negotiate visibility, even if it requires a little more investment

There are lots of opportunities for brands to advertise their products, but we recommend starting small and building up a visibility plan from the knowledge that comes with performance. cashback provides brands with a very smart advertising tool that can easily be adjusted and optimised for meaningful impact over time. Soon, a brand will have enough feeling for a cashback consumer that they will be able to be much bolder, especially when you have a strong relationship with your account manager. 

Most companies like ours make money based on performance models, so it is in our best interest that brands succeed. But even more importantly, a brand’s success will lead to a greater satisfaction of the cashback community itself. That is why we can’t stress enough the importance of building a strong working relationship with a good account manager. Our account managers will help you build up a lasting and powerful presence across our channels. However we always ask that brands continue to challenge our managers so we stay relevant through the years.

To sum up all the points, we would always advise that if your brand wants to get the most out of cashback, that there is a well-thought-out strategy in place. If that is the case, your brand will see the rewards from this partnership for years to come.