Rebate Reality Check: Trends for Rebates

Find out what’s really going on with digital rebates in marketing with our latest trends guide


What’s Really Going on with Rebates?

Rebate or discount?

A rebate allows the customer to redeem money back after a purchase.

A discount offers money back before a purchase by reducing the upfront price.

It feels incredible that in 2024, millions of people all over the world still cut out coupons and send it in the mail to get a rebate. But in a world of smartphones, the daily barrage of information, and the need for immediate satisfaction, the image of a thrifty homemaker sitting at the table with scissors in hand is a heart-warming reminder of a Golden Age.

Customers love rebates… or so we’re told. What you’ll hear is that 75% of people are more likely to make a purchase if they’re offered a rebate.

But this percentage reflects a world almost 20 years ago - not as far back as our thrifty 50s homemaker, but far enough for a financial crash, a pandemic, and 4 US Presidents to roll through. And over that time, consumer habits have changed significantly.

In 2009, a study into the success of the US Government’s ENERGY STAR© program found that the option of a rebate devalued consumer perception of a product or service.

A more recent 2021 study of 600,000 consumers found that a rebate increases the likelihood of purchase by only 76% as much as an equivalent discount would.

So, rebates are dead, right…?


“Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated”

Despite the negative attitude from consumers and the lacklustre results, rebates are not, in fact, dead. And with the today’s global economic situation, they’re making a comeback.

But in the grand marketing mix of tools at our disposal, why should brands continue to use rebates?

Rebates banner3

Reality Check: Why Use Rebates in 2024?


Rebates are a data goldmine

A single user data point has an estimated value of $65, while an email address is worth $89 to any brand.


Customers are prepared to engage further

90% of rebate redeemers will take additional action (like joining a loyalty program) if asked.


Rebate redemption rate is only 78%

But carefully managed rebate programs can increase returns by up to 260%.

Rebates banner5

Three Challenges for Digital Rebates


Creating experiences that resonate

Buyers aren't jumping at every deal they find -- they shop intelligently. The digital world is a vast place, and better prices are often just a click away for the savvy shopper. The pressure is on brands to create more relevant incentives and a user experience that makes it easy for consumers to achieve their spending goals.

A badly managed digital rebate program puts you on the back foot. Perception of your brand goes down and consumers are put off by the hoops they have to jump through – the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. And in a busy marketplace, it’s not enough to grab attention, you need to follow through.

This means delivering on the process, redemption methods, and feedback mechanisms as well as the creative and the reward.


of all US consumers say they would like to pay with their smartphones all the time.

How to deliver

One of the greatest competitive advantages that any brand has in the anytime, anywhere, always-on world of digitally-enabled smart shoppers is its understanding of its customers. Digital receipt validation allows brands to learn much more about consumer purchasing patterns, including:

  • Purchase location
  • Retailer preferences
  • Demographic details
  • Preferred payment methods
  • Time and date of purchase
  • Basket contents

For brands that historically have a hard time connecting directly with their actual end users, the first party data from rebate programs is a goldmine. It allows them to craft personalized brand experiences that make them stand out.

Hassle-free money back (and the sense of reciprocity that comes with it) makes consumers loyal and want to become brand advocates. Long term brand relationships are built on emotion, and on the overall experience. Each step in the rebate process: the offer, the reward, the submission, and the after-sale support, must work together, powered by data, to build brand love.

For example, if you know your consumers pay by PayPal for your product, offer a rebate directly into their PayPal wallet.


Delivering those experiences at scale

One of the keys to a satisfying rebate experience is speed. From the moment a consumer submits a rebate claim, it’s a race against time and patience to deliver the redemption. So, while your digital rebate redemption is weeks faster than the mail-in option, that’s not what consumers are timing you against. Digital rebates are going to be compared to web-page loading speed.


of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions.

How to scale

Digital rebate programs need to run on powerful and robust platforms to meet the demands of today’s consumers. And while automation plays a key role in the redemption process, it’s important to consider your martech administrators, as well as your end consumers, when choosing the right solution.

Marketers want tools that fit easily into their current stack and are simple to use. This is highlighted most vividly in a recent study from Ascend2. They found that ease of use, integration, and customization came out ahead of improved customer experience, automation, and data management.

Great contest and reward marketing solutions enable experiences that consumers love, while giving brands the means to take full advantage of digital rebates. This means they have:

  • Transaction & engagement processing to activate and validate customers in any channel
  • Data granularity for deep drill segmentation
  • Value-exchange engines to enhance customer engagement with preferred reward systems
  • Flexibility for seamless tech integrations
  • Personalization to deliver great experiences at every stage of the customer journey

Managing fraud

Digital rebates might be more secure for brands, but for consumers, they’re like any other digital experience. So as well as delighting consumers, brands need to reassure them. Rebate submission fraud can negatively impact your brand's rebate program. Managing those who take advantage of rebates by “double dipping” or submitting false details can become costly and time consuming at scale.


of consumers wish they had more control over their data.

How to scale

Features to protect brands from rebate submission fraud are well-established. Fraud detection and protection is often built-into technology platforms like our own SnippCheck, which processes and validates receipts for rebate promotions, and can manage entry loads that run into millions.

Digital redemption processes also enable the tracking of unique digital footprints such as IP addresses (for online), and unique smartphone identifiers. In this way, brands can protect themselves from a phone being used to submit more/erroneous claims.

To ensure data privacy, brands need to build data transparency into their marketing message to ease customer concerns. Using their own websites and apps rather than third-party solutions can better ensure data governance and accountability. However, working with an expert and trusted partner that shares your privacy values can be just as effective.

Rebates banner6

Do Mail-in Rebates Have a Place Today?

Short answer, yes.

Mail-in rebate programs continue to be effective in a variety of markets. Brands like Menards and Pirelli continue to see success through their mail-in rebate programs. Pirelli have only recently added a hybrid digital/paper solution to their rebate program.

In fact, manufacturing, automotive, and industrial industries benefit consistently from mail-in rebates. Why? Because their markets move more slowly and so do their customers (but that will likely change as consumer become more used to the speed of digital for everything).

Rebates banner7

7 Snipp Tips for Building Better Rebates

Snipp Rebates Checklist 1

Simple, Customer-First Submissions

Users should be able to submit their receipts by picture text messaging, email or web-upload. No more licking of stamps or trips to the mailbox.

Snipp Rebates Checklist 2

Minimal Proof of Purchase

Nothing more than a scanned/snapped copy of the store receipt, or barcode and UPC symbol from the product packaging.

Snipp Rebates Checklist 3

Transparent Processing.

During the processing of a rebate claim, customers should be able to view the status of their rebate claim at any time, in real-time, and be notified of the outcome.

Snipp Rebates Checklist 4

Nudge Your Redeemers.

Improve the rebate experience by reminding your customers to claim their renewal. This helpful extra touchpoint builds brand affinity.

Snipp Rebates Checklist 5

Relevant & Valuable Reward Options.

Consumers should be able to choose their own reward delivery mechanisms - prepaid cards, checks, PayPal and more.


Snipp Rebates Checklist 6

Big Daddy Data.

The rebate redemption process must include demographic and purchase data capture.


Snipp Rebates Checklist 7

Keep Up the Conversation.

Remember that the redemption is the icebreaker. Leverage data from the rebate process to continue engaging the customer. This mindset makes rebates a tool for getting new customers, encouraging them to buy more and allowing them to spread the word.



Get Your Rebates Working Harder

Digital rebates still have a vital role to play in today’s customer experience mix. They’re both a gateway to greater engagement and key tool in capturing essential first party data. And remember – it’s not just about encouraging a purchase. It’s a tool in your wider brand strategy to provide long term growth to your marketing activity.

See also our guide and infographic -  The Complete Digital Rebate Guide & Checklist


Need Help With Digital Rebates?

Looking to take advantage of the potential of digital rebate programs?

Visit us at www.snipp.com/rebates or get in touch with us to learn more about our SnippRebates Platform and SnippRebates Center.

Download the pdf here



  • https://www.hindawi.com/journals/complexity/2021/8839218/
  • https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/how-consumer-packaged-goods-companies-can-drive-resilient-growth
  • https://www.shopkick.com/partners/blog/how-cpg-brands-can-benefit-from-an-incentive-based-marketing-approach-fc
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8188260/
  • https://nielseniq.com/?s=promotions&market=global&language=en&orderby=date&order=DESC&date_range=&date=&post_type=insight&topics=brand-marketing&industries=
  • https://www.mastercardservices.com/en/reports-insights/three-consumer-trends-impacting-cpg-companies-2022
  • https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/real-time-data-maximizes-cpg-firms-promotion-spend-and-bottom-lines/
  • https://www.onbe.com/post/future-of-payments-2022-report
  • https://web.archive.org/web/20220524194417/https://resources.360insights.com/360-blog/mail-in-rebate-vs-digital-how-to-make-the-most-out-of-your-rebate-program
  • https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-gb/future-of-marketing/privacy-and-trust/research-customer-privacy-practices/
  • https://www.pymnts.com/tracker/expanding-payments-choice-digital-incentives-loyalty-rewards-retail
  • https://www.snipp.com/client/digitizing-multiple-rebates-and-driving-redemption-for-scotts-miracle-gro-rebates-center
  • https://securityboulevard.com/2020/09/many-consumers-dont-trust-the-way-companies-are-using-their-data-and-businesses-need-to-change-that-perception/
  • https://www.mintel.com/global-consumer-trends
  • https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/002224299105500202
  • https://www.snipp.com/hubfs/SNIPP-Inflation-and-Shopping-Trends-Survey.pdf

Let’s Work Together

Let's talk about how Snipp can help you engage your customers.