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Are Rebates and Rewards the Next Retail Media Revolution?

Published: October 19, 2021

Author: Diana Gordon


Insights from the Experts: eCommerce Series. Diana Gordon, VP, eCommerce & Marketplace Strategy

When was the last time you found a coupon on the back of your store receipt and redeemed it? How about getting the Sunday paper and cutting out a coupon from the inserts? If you’re like me, it’s probably been a minute. However, it’s important to pay our respect to these legacy marketing tactics that, for a long time, were standard practices in the shopper industry to drive customers to both sample new products and continue with old favorites.

Retail media has been one of 2021’s biggest media stories. It seems like every week another retailer is launching a new offering, or another new provider is coming online to make servicing retailer media more manageable. However, instead of talking about retailers, I’m going to pay tribute to some of the established shopper marketing vendors – those who paved the way for what we are seeing today. I’d like to highlight the ways these media vendors have innovated to remain relevant and valuable in the modern digital world, as well as discuss some new retailer-agnostic solutions to drive loyalty and increase sales.

Three of the biggest players in the space – Quotient, NewsAmerica, and Valassis – have all had to adapt to the modern marketing landscape. They have accomplished this by either building proprietary technologies or acquiring firms that help marketers continue to reach qualified shoppers and incentivize purchases, driving results for both brands and retailers.

Quotient has really diversified their offering. They are the parent company for Coupons.com and other marketing solutions including Quotient Retail Media Network and Ahalogy social marketing. Coupons.com is one of those platforms you’ll find in the modern shopper marketing playbook, as it’s a great way to reach deal-savvy shoppers who are looking to convert.

News America is the industry leader in in-store signage and promos. However, as more and more consumers start their purchase journey online, they too have adapted. News America acquired rebate and reward app Checkout51 in 2015 as a means to digitize their offering. Checkout51 not only offers brands access to more than three million registered users, but also the added benefit of using precision targeting and predictive data to ensure offers are both compelling for the shoppers and profitable for the brand.

What’s Next?

So now that we’ve paid our respects to those who have come before, let’s look forward to what is likely to be the next wave of media solutions tailored to the retailer/shopper space.

The consumer shopping journey today typically involves some form of browser extension that automates deal-seeking and coupon-finding for them. Slickdeals, RetailMeNot, and Rakuten have all added browser extensions in recent releases, aiding in user adoption and stickiness. Honey is the newest player on the block, and their acquisition by PayPal in 2019 for $4 billion signals that major players in the financial services industry see utility in coupon, rebates, and rewards solutions beyond more than just getting us to “buy one, get one.” Both Citi and Chase offer their cardholders a shopping portal where card points can be redeemed toward purchases, and Capital One has taken it one step further by launching a shopping extension of their own.

Data is an increasingly important commodity in our current media landscape, and we can safely assume that this rationale plays into the reason that financial service companies are diversifying into this space. As consumers adopt and routinize the use of apps and browser extensions in their purchase journey, it presents brands with a tremendous opportunity to learn more about shopping decisions and improve the experience. Marketers who have adopted a data-driven approach will find incredible value in the insights afforded by this data set including, presumptively, in-market, browsing, and lapsed and competitive targeting segments, just to name a few. Like the retailers I typically talk about, financial companies can monetize this data and create ad solutions that marketers can use to complement their current media strategies for attracting and retaining shoppers.

So there you have it. As a marketer, there are plenty of different solutions out there that can help you reach your consumers wherever, whenever, and however they shop online. New innovative solutions are coming online everyday too. And when you’re building your advertising program, look to partner with the provider that offers you the best mix of scale, precision data, ease of use, and value for consumers, along with the data and insights to optimize and expand.

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