Incentivizing customers for first-time or repeat purchases from your business can be difficult. In order to drive effective campaigns, businesses must craft offers to their consumers that both meet their direct needs and include characteristics that set their promotions apart from the competition.
In the past, businesses have leveraged coupons to incentivize consumers, however mailing, printing, and advertising these campaigns can be costly, and response rates on average remain less than 1%. Companies need more effective ways to entice customers to shop, while keeping costs manageable and building brand awareness.
Rebate cards are the answer to effective customer incentive programs. With rebate cards, your business can create incentive programs that are specifically designed to your customers needs, that increase customer loyalty and yield a higher response rate than a typical coupon campaign. These cards serve as relevant incentives that add high value and urgency to encourage consumers to act right away. In this article, we establish what rebate cards are, and how they are used to maximize results from your customer incentives programs.
“With rebate cards, your business can create incentive programs that are specifically designed to your customers needs, that increase customer loyalty and yield a higher response rate than a typical coupon campaign.“
What is a Rebate Card?
Rebate cards are prepaid Mastercard or Visa cards that are used to sweeten the pot on promotions. These cards are prefunded, and not tied to a bank account or line of credit. A set amount of funds are loaded onto these cards, usually between $5 and $50. These funds serve as cash-back to reward customers for purchases. Rebate cards can also be restricted for use only at your business in order to convert promotional costs into revenue, or they can be set so that cardholders can spend funds anywhere that accepts Mastercard or Visa card networks.
Similar to gift cards, rebate cards do not have a PIN number and cannot be reloaded by consumers upon the depletion of funds, allowing businesses to completely simplify and control the promotion process.
Benefits of Rebate Cards
Businesses can use rebate cards to create their very own personalized and branded cards that are set to meet specific objectives such as increasing brand exposure, brand loyalty, or even brand reinforcement.
Rebate cards can either be virtual, to easily reach mass audiences using digital platforms, or physical to target specific audiences with specialized cards. Businesses can also choose either Mastercard or Visa as their card networks, as well as the card look and amounts.
Merchant Category Code (MCC) Restrictions
Businesses are able to set spend controls on where and when consumers are able to use rebate cards. This allows businesses to restrict the cards for use at their own stores, similar to a gift card, or allow users to spend the card at a merchant of their choice.
Consumers will spend more of their money at your business if they feel they are receiving a better deal or reward from you than they would elsewhere. Cards can also be customized with your brand’s imagery and messaging. This kind of attachment breeds brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
Rebate cards can be issued to consumers instantly at the time of purchase, allowing your business to kickstart repeat purchases from the minute you make a sale.
“Businesses can use rebate cards to create their very own personalized and branded cards that are set to meet specific objectives such as increasing brand exposure, brand loyalty, or even brand reinforcement. “
Potential Uses of Rebate Cards
Cash Back Programs
Encourage increased consumer spending by offering incentives based on purchase frequency, depth, or volume. For example, a clothing store may offer a $50 rebate card to consumers within their store if the consumer makes a purchase of over $200.
Direct Mail Campaigns
Studies done by First Data, prove that direct marketing campaigns that use rebate cards generate 4 to 7x more responses on average then traditional direct mail promotions. During an uncertain economic environment, businesses can use rebate cards to connect with consumers in a valuable way. This is because unlike standard promotional material or discounts, rebate cards are actually giving consumers money in their hand. This is a tangible and spendable incentive that consumers can see and feel its value.
Target Loyal Customers
Businesses can use rebate cards to influence the shopping patterns of loyal customers. A women’s luxury shoe retailer may find that there are a few customers who visit the store and buy expensive shoes every 6 months. This retailer can draw those specific customers in more frequently by offering them a high-value rebate card for being a valued customer.
“Direct marketing campaigns that use rebate cards generate 4 to 7x more responses on average then traditional direct mail promotions“
Business Case – DRIIVE
Greg is the Marketing Director of an Automaker called DRIIVE. Since the pandemic began, Greg has been having a really hard time drawing in new business and his loyal customers have been coming in less recently. In his time of need Greg turned to Berkeley to create a customer engagement and retention program to drive new and existing customers into dealerships for vehicle purchases and after sales parts and service programs.
Greg decided to leverage direct mail campaigns, in store promotions, and a vehicle rebate program. The campaign initiative included corporate and dealership reward programs, vehicle rebates, customer loyalty programs, showroom traffic builders, test drive programs, and more. Greg was able to use his Visa rebate card to draw card activation rates of over 80%, resulting in high levels of retained promotions costs and strong dealership traffic.