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Revisiting Rebates

BY Katherine Boccaccio

A decade ago, rebates fell out of favor with marketers and retailers as consumers tired of the cumbersome and difficult submission and redemption processes involved. However, more recent advances and innovations have prompted a resurgence of rebates. Senior editor Katherine Field talked with Juli Spottiswood, president and CEO of rebate fulfillment and prepaid card provider Parago Inc., about the advantages of rebates in a retail-marketing program.

Are rebates experiencing a resurgence among retail marketers? 

We have definitely seen resurgence in the demand for rebates for two key reasons. First, retailers are looking for ways to appeal to the value-seeking consumer in this economy. They are looking for marketing tactics outside of the typical clearance, coupon and “everyday low pricing” options. Rebates allow retailers to learn about their customers, temporarily drop their net prices, and access additional branding and marketing opportunities through the numerous touch points that occur throughout the rebate submission and redemption process.

Additionally, and most importantly, consumers are seeking rebates. Research we conducted late last year showed that 83% of consumers are actively seeking products with rebates, and more than 93% of consumers will go five to 10 minutes out of their way for a $15 rebate.

What specific marketing advantages do rebates offer? 

Marketers understand that the purpose of a rebate is not just advertising a lower net price, but it’s also the ability to form a long-term profitable relationship with their customers. Today’s best-in-class rebate programs are designed to be easy for the consumers, while still providing the financial benefits to the sponsor. Additionally, they offer retailers multiple touch points with their customers, the recycling of rebate dollars back to their store (when prepaid or gift cards are selected as the payment vehicle) and the ability to capture data to determine consumer preferences for future promotions.

Our ClickChoice program has advanced the rebate industry even further, as customers can select the rebate payout that best suits their needs, which can include the traditional paper check, a prepaid card, the retailer’s own gift card or even payout via PayPal. Features like these have dramatically impacted consumers’ impressions of modern rebate programs.

How can rebates work to rev up today’s retail marketing programs? 

Rebates provide deep discounts that would not be otherwise achievable. As such, they drive tremendous sales, foot traffic and urgency. Consumers are looking for these great deals and seek them out. From a marketer’s perspective, rebates can be a gold mine because they generate customer demographic information and the opportunity for additional opt-in touch points via e-mail, text message and online.

Another huge boon of rebates is the reward vehicle itself. Rebate cards are hugely popular with consumers, and marketers are reaping the benefits. On average we see 25% to 50% of rebate dollars spent back at the retailer.

What kinds of technology exist today to better process rebates and make the rewards more accessible to consumers? 

The rebate process itself has become simple and seamless for the consumer—from a fully paperless process requiring no mailing of forms, to quick turn times and even the choice of rewards.

Overall, we have introduced tremendous advances in automation and systemic processing. We have fully digitized processes that were once completely manual. This makes rebates more efficient and cost-effective, dramatically increasing turn times and accuracy and reducing fraud.

The technology around the consumer’s rebate experience and ongoing communication are what are most exciting for us. At Parago, for example, we offer clients Rebates 360—an all-in-one rebate platform that takes away the pain points felt by the consumer in the past and promotes a more brand-positive experience for clients.

With Rebates 360, our retail clients can offer their customers the best possible experience with their rebates, with features including prepaid card or gift card payout, PayPal payout, paperless submission, e-mail and fax submission, an online rebate center, customer service Web chat, faster turn times that result in payouts in as little as two weeks, choice in rewards and greatly enhanced communication.

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Kmart launches Smart Sense

BY CSA STAFF

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Kmart announced the expansion of its brand portfolio with the introduction of the Smart Sense line, its new Kmart brand that includes a wide range of items including everything from snacks and beverages, to oral care, paper products, household cleaners and over-the-counter medications. The quality of the Smart Sense line is comparable to that of national name brands, and on average costs 20% less, according to the company.

"With the introduction of the Smart Sense line, Kmart is looking to offer a more affordable Kmart brand product assortment that will rival the quality of more nationally recognized brands," said Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer, Kmart. "While the Smart Sense line will offer the everyday essentials, Kmart is also taking it a step further by providing unique products that you wouldn’t typically expect to see under a store brand."

The Smart Sense line currently consists of hundreds of products available in Kmart stores and the product line will expand to more than 1,200 items by early 2011, the company reported. Kmart said it will also support the Smart Sense line launch through multiple communications channels, including advertising, coupon offers, merchandising displays, sampling, digital marketing and event marketing.

In addition to the introduction of the Smart Sense line, a new look has been created for many other Kmart brand products, the company reported. The brighter and more vibrant packaging has been designed to capture the "colorful thinking" Kmart is demonstrating through its new product and brand announcements. In addition to the Smart Sense line roll-out, Kmart is also introducing products in a re-launch of its other exclusive brands, which include, Little Ones baby care products, Champion Breed pet care products, Image Essentials personal care products and VitaSmart vitamin products.

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Target to open ten stores on 10/10/10

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target announced that it will open 10 stores across the country, resulting in the creation of more than 2,400 jobs.

The stores will open in the following communities:

 

    * Sacramento East: 6507 4th Ave., Sacramento, Calif.     * Simi Valley West: 51 Tierra Rejada Rd., Simi Valley, Calif.     * Bakersfield Central: 2901 Ming Ave., Bakersfield, Calif.     * San Jose North: 95 Holger Way, San Jose, Calif.     * Azusa: 809 Azusa Ave., Azusa, Calif.     * Salt Lake City: 1110 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City, Utah     * Little Rock University: 420 S. University Ave., Little Rock, Ark.     * Christiana: 800 Christiana Mall, Christiana, Del.     * Flushing: 4024 College Point Blvd., Flushing, N.Y.     * Braintree: 250 Granite St., Braintree, Mass.

 

“These new Target store openings will help support local economies and make life easier for our guests by creating new jobs, spurring development and providing the utmost in convenience and value,” said John Griffith, EVP property development for Target. “We are looking forward to deepening our relationship with guests in communities across the country.”

As part of the grand opening celebrations, Target said each store will contribute to its community by initiating a local grant program, contributing to the United Way, donating food to Feeding America and product to the local Goodwill chapter and encouraging team members to volunteer their time to serve their community.

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