Are Rebate Apps A New Opportunity for Retailers To Connect?

Once upon a time, there was a magical thing called a coupon, beloved by shoppers and retailers alike because they provided shoppers with deals and increased retailers’ sales. But these days, the paper coupon is going the way of the paper check and the printed sales spreadsheets—people still use them but their days are numbered. Rather than cutting out a handful of paper coupons the clerk has to scan, now shoppers can download one of a couple dozen apps that give them rebates on grocery purchases. They can plan their shopping trips around grocery lists and online coupons, upload their receipts, and get their money deposited in an account.

The best news for grocery retailers is that some of the top apps only work at specific stores and others can be linked to retailers’ loyalty cards. So retailers need to get connected with the apps that will benefit them most. We’ve listed a few.

Ibotta was among the first rebate apps for grocery shopping. It has consumers “unlock” rebates on products they plan to buy by completing small tasks like reading one fact about a product. Then users take a picture of their receipts and can get their rebates on their Ibotta accounts. Partnering with this app gives Ibotta customers rebates on items they buy regularly, like milk, eggs, garbage bags. Retailers can partner with Ibotta starting here.

BerryCart works pretty much the same way Ibotta does only it focuses on organic, gluten-free, health-conscious foods. Shoppers find a deal at their nearest store that partners with the app, do a task, take a picture of their receipt and get money!

Then there are apps that can be used at any store including:

Coupons.com shows customers coupons that can be used at any store that accepts manufacturer’s coupons. But they can also link to a store’s loyalty program. The drill is that shoppers make a grocery list, see what coupons they can use in the store where they’re shopping, and upload the receipt once they’ve made the purchases.

bevRAGE gives shoppers cash back specifically on alcohol beer, wine and liquor on purchases made at retail stores, restaurants and bars. Their offers often are not brand-specific. They may give shoppers $2 back on any six-pack, for example.

Cartsmart lets shoppers build a grocery list then helps them find the best deals and coupons on those items at stores nearby. With a “Smart Account” shoppers can even link their rebate accounts to their bank accounts.

There are several others but retailers should make sure that if they have a relationship with one of these rebate app companies it’s a solid company. Several have been launched and quickly crashed and burned, which is not good for anyone’s business. But there’s no doubt the rebate apps create less work for retailers, keep lines from slowing while everyone waits for the coupon bearer.  And even the ones that tell shoppers where all the best deals are, like Cartsmart, might bring in new shoppers who wouldn’t otherwise have visited the store. So if you haven’t gotten on the app bandwagon yet, it’s worth exploring.

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Seth Nagle, Senior Marketing Manager at RW3 Technologies understands the power of innovation but also its limitations. Attending Salve Regina in New England, starting his career in Silicon Valley, and now living in Austin, Texas; Seth provides a unique tech perspective to a complex CPG and Retail Grocery Industry that is in constant disruption.

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