Not too long ago, consumers were skeptical of online shopping, preferring to go to brick-and-mortar stores rather than giving out their credit cards online. And while people still like to go to stores in-person, the e-commerce industry is growing significantly. In fact, data from the U.S. Department of Commerce shows that online sales accounted for more than a third of total retail sales growth in 2015, totaling $341.7 billion.
What’s more, people shopping online will research items before they complete a purchase. This research not only includes finding the best quality of product, but also looking around to find the lowest prices. We did a recent survey of online shoppers that demonstrated lowest pricing was the most important factor to consumers when shopping online.
It’s clear shoppers want a discount. Today, we don’t just have Black Friday in November. Many retailers are now doing Black Friday sales in the spring or summer. People are savvier about their money, and they’re looking to spend — and save — smart. With this new ‘savings as a lifestyle’ mentality, consumer behavior is changing. So what does this mean for retailers?
Major retailers such as Home Depot, Best Buy and Sears are already offering special sales, online coupons and discounts, store loyalty rewards and more. But another way to get consumers purchasing on their sites is to partner with cash-back websites. Merchants reward cash-back sites with a commission for purchases driven by the site. Part of that commission is then passed back to the consumer as cash. But when a retailer partners with cash-back sites, it’s not just the consumer who benefits — there are significant benefits for the merchant as well.
Attract Customers …
Large and small brands alike know coupons and special deals boost the bottom line. By offering discounts and specials, retailers attract new customers and encourage them to purchase. In fact, a 2012 survey found that 57 percent of shoppers are motivated to complete a first-time purchase when they are able to redeem a coupon.
By partnering with a cash-back site, retailers can offer an added incentive to shop at their online stores. Offering cash back helps drive revenue and growth by drawing in people who are on the lookout for the best deals. If a retailer is having a big sale, it can increase the cash-back percentage to reach even more savvy shoppers.
… And Retain Them
Retailers understand that when shoppers can get a good deal at their store, they will keep coming back. Coupons, loyalty rewards, sales and even cash back can be used to attract and retain customers. The above-mentioned survey found that 91 percent of buyers who use coupons said they would visit the same retailers again.
Savvy shoppers will remember they were able to get a percentage of their purchase back as cold, hard cash when using cash-back sites. This will motivate them to keep coming back. If a merchant isn’t included in the list of cash-back partners, that shopper will look for the desired item at another store that is.
Erin Warren is marketing senior VP at Splender, a provider of shopping-loyalty programs.