Cashback is an interesting twist on an age old advertising method. Effectively the middle men are being cut out of the picture and it is the consumer that ‘gets paid’ a kind of personal online discount.
So what is cashback?
Merchants have large marketing budgets, which pay for newspaper/TV ads and all the other ads you see around. Most merchants allocate a portion of this budget to online advertising. Usually this means signing up to an affiliate network, giving the merchant has access to a third party transaction tracking system.
These affiliate networks recruit websites that publish merchant ads in return for earning a percentage of any merchant sales generated. When a consumer, clicks through an ad and completes a sale, this is tracked by the affiliate network system. The merchant pays a percentage of the transaction value to the network who then pays the website displaying the ad.
With a cashback site, the money then flows to the consumer. This may be a percentage of the sale value (minus taxes and shipping fees) or it may be a fixed dollar value.
How can cashback work for me?
The biggest value is when you can use cashback sites for everyday items. The areas where cashback is the most benefit:
Mobile phone contracts
Large electronic purchases
Cashback is also great when generally shopping online
It is surprising just how much insurers and mobile phone companies are willing to pay in cashback.
Here are a few tips:
1. Always price compare before you complete your purchase to make sure you are getting the best deal
2. Research the cashback sites. Compare the cashback rates on offer and ensure they have an easy to use enquiry process if something goes wrong
3. Know what fees are charged. Some cashback sites will have charges associated with your payments, so look at the fine print.
4. Combinations of cashback and coupons or discount codes can deliver some fantastic shopping deals. Be aware that the use of some discount codes will mean your cashback wont track.
5. I recommend you use a separate browser for your cashback site.
6. Keep all your documentation for your transaction in case something goes wrong
7. Clear your cookie cache before logging in to your cashback site
Cashback is way for consumers to be rewarded for shopping. The system also allows merchants to tap into a solid base of savvy shoppers and it really makes their advertising dollar lead to conversions. Everyone is happy.