Why aren’t online shoppers finding deals? Despite the numerous resources and avenues in which to save money, surveys have found that online shoppers aren’t savings money. Do they not know they can save money or do they not want to look?
“Front end” discounts include coupons, sales, and free shipping deals.
“Back end” ways to save include cash back sites, rewards and/or points sites, affiliate programs, merchant loyalty programs, and credit card earnings.
Many times several of these earning opportunities are combinable. Still, people aren’t taking advantage of them.
I talked to Mark Moran, an expert of online shopping and representative of Ebates about the online shopping experience and why shoppers don’t save money.
Online shopping has become the number 1 preferred method of shopping according to the Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey. But according to a Bizrate Insights survey, 76% of online shoppers do not use a coupon. How do you explain this?
Our data suggests that the gap between offline and online couponing is narrowing as web and mobile tools and services have become more sophisticated and more broadly utilized. Another factor is that online shoppers have multiple ways to save – from free shipping to earning cash back on their purchases– so couponing, per se, is just part of the mix.
Are consumers aware that there are both front-end and back-end methods of saving money when shopping, both online and brick-and-mortar? And that they’re often able to be combined?
There are many sites and services that focus on just one piece of the puzzle – coupons. Ebates scours the web for the best deals, coupons, sales events and also offers cash back every day of the year from over 1,700 of the most popular retailers. So, our members can come to one place to make sure that they are taking advantage of any store promotions and, in addition, earn cash back on their purchases.
The general thought is that there was an embarrassment to using coupons but no one can see how much you’re paying for something online (ideally). Where’s the disconnect?
That may have always been more myth than reality. For instance, Nielsen Company released a study in 2009 indicating that more affluent consumers have a higher rate of coupon use; if there really was an embarrassment factor, this group would probably be less likely to use coupons. Savvy shoppers feel really good when they get a good deal, not the opposite. I think online couponing is simply going through an adoption cycle similar to that of eCommerce as a whole, and as couponing and rewards sites become better known usage rates may very well surpass those among offline shoppers.
Savvy shoppers know that certain sites cancel their back-end rewards when a coupon or non-site specific coupon is utilized. What has your company done to overcome this?
Retailers use coupons both to spur shopping and often to track the source of that shopping trip. There can be tracking challenges when a store site visitor comes from one referring site, but has a coupon found on a second site. Ebates members can get their promo code or coupon and get their cash back credit all in one place, eliminating the risk of one code overriding another.
Directly provided coupons generate higher use rates and converts non-coupon users who don’t want to search for one. Has your company made forays into shopper generation with this in mind?
Over 1,700 merchants use us as a marketing partner not only to drive sales, but to help them find and cultivate new customers. In the old days, merchants would advertise a sale through various local and national media and hope some percentage of that audience would actually see that message and choose to respond.
As far as back-end sites, savvy shoppers rotate from credit card portals, cash back portals, rewards portals, affiliate programs, and more. The pay out for one retailer can be vastly different. Why isn’t there consistency with the sites and programs?
The rewards and loyalty market is very large, with everyone from credit card companies to airlines to retailers running some kind of program. Every player has a different business model and relationship with the consumer. At Ebates, there are no miles to accumulate or points to redeem. You simply earn cash and we pay it to you. We actually want to pay you as fast as possible because we know that that’s how we become the place you start at every time you shop online.
Often when Ebates offers a promotional above-the-norm pay out, it is both appreciated but there’s an underlying suspicion that the pay-out that could be received could always be at a higher percentage. This may explain why consumers are choosing to become affiliates themselves. Can you explain the process and how you’re working on gaining consumer loyalty?
Ebates is going strong after 14 years in business because we offer a great value and are obsessively focused on great member experience, and on helping our retailers grow their business. Over 1,700 retailers pay us a percentage of every purchase we generate, and we share that commission with our members. We’ve paid out over $250 million to our members and have really high satisfaction and retention rates.