In Consumer Rebate Programs


Got your attention yet? How about saving money? That’s what everyone wants to see!

Everyone—companies and their customers—wants to save money. One of the best ways your company can do this is by offering customer rebates. Offering rebates to consumers is a great way to maintain loyal customers (and generate new ones) all while helping your company reach its goals.

However, sometimes it’s difficult to know which rebate submission type will best resonate with your consumers. Some customers may prefer the traditional mail-in rebate, while others may lean towards online rebate submission. (Understanding your customers is one of our biggest tips for achieving a successful rebate program, see the others!) This difference in opinion might leave you guessing which to use.

Since there’s no fool-proof way to offer rebates, we want to thoroughly dive into each type—mail-in and online. We want to help you understand both rebate types and offer a hybrid solution to best serve your customers and your business.

Choosing the Best Rebate Submission Type for Your Customers

There are two forms of rebate submission—mail-in and online. Each has its own successes, and as a manufacturer, you want to make sure you weigh each option in order to offer the right one to your customers.

More so, you want to choose a submission type that will provide your company with the best opportunity to collect data. The more self-reported data you collect, the more your company will benefit in the future.

Before we discuss customer rebate best practices, let’s take a look at the different submission types in more detail.

The Difference Between Mail-in and Online Rebate Submission

Mail-in Rebate Submission

Completing a mail-in submission is extremely simple and usually only requires three steps from the customer:

  1. First, the customer must purchase your product.
  2. Next, they will print out the rebate submission form and fill out all required information.
  3. Finally, the customer will mail the form to your company with appropriate documentation—like a copy of their receipt.

Your company will then review the submitted paperwork, and decide if the customer is approved or denied for the rebate. If approved, the rebate check will be mailed out accordingly.

While this submission type may seem “traditional”, many consumers still use—and sometimes prefer—mail-in submissions. Even as technology continues to advance, some consumers receive peace of mind from printing and filling out their rebate submission by hand. That way, when they drop it in the mail, they feel more confident it’s getting where it needs to go.

Online Submission

In a world where everything is becoming increasingly digital, offering online rebate submission forms is crucial (and eco-friendly!). The steps required of a customer to submit an online rebate are quick, and usually, just require just a few clicks:

  1. First, the customer must purchase your product.
  2. Next, the customer will have to find your submission form on your company’s website and select the rebate they’re applying for.
  3. Then, the customer will need to accept the terms and conditions of the rebate.
  4. Finally, they will fill out the necessary information (including proof of purchase) and submit!

Once your company receives the customer’s online request, you’ll decide if it is approved or denied. If it’s approved, you’ll send the rebate check.

Consumers who use online rebate submissions prefer this type because it’s quick, easy, and something they can do from the comfort of their own home.

Why You Should Consider a Hybrid Rebate Submission Approach

Ultimately, you’re going to have customers who prefer mail-in and others who prefer online. In order to best cater to your consumers and maximize accurate and efficient data, consider using a hybrid approach.

Optimize Rebate Approval Percentage

When your company implements a customer rebate system, you want to be sure you are approving as many rebates as possible. If your rebates are constantly getting rejected, you could lose loyal customers, turn-off new ones, and miss out on valuable customer data.

As a reminder, an approval percentage is the percentage of submissions that pass all the criteria and qualify for an award (the rebate).

When deciding between mail-in versus online, you want to first take a look at the number of customers using mail-in and those using online. Based off of those numbers, compare the number of submissions that were approved to the number of those that were rejected (those that did not qualify for an award).

Looking at these statistics can make it difficult to choose just one submission type, which is why we see many companies employ both–or a hybrid submission.

In order to maximize your approval percentages, and gather more quality data, you should offer mail-in and online submission forms on your site. Having a hybrid approach will not only benefit your customers but also your company.

Incentive Insights’ Rebate Submission Analytics

To further examine the benefits of a blended approach, we took a closer look at our client data to see which submission type customers preferred and the approval and rejection percentages for each. Here’s what we found:

Out of 123,112 unique consumer rebates that were received and processed:

  • 32,644 were mail-in only,
  • 43,691 were online only,
  • And the remaining 46,777 were hybrid (mail-in and online was offered).

In terms of approval percentages:

  • 91.45% of mail-in only rebates were approved,
  • 82.18% of online-only rebates were approved, and
  • 86.23% of hybrid rebates were approved.

Choosing a Blended Approach

So what does this mean for you? While mail-in only rebates had the highest approval percentages, they also had the lowest units processed.

While more customers preferred online only over mail-in, the approval rates showed a more significant drop.

This is why the hybrid submission type is becoming increasingly popular among companies.

When our clients offered both mail-in and online submissions, they received more rebate offers and a higher approval percentage—it’s a win-win.

Selecting the appropriate submission type is just one important step in creating a successful customer rebate program. See The Incentive Insights Guide To A Successful Customer Rebate Program for:

  • The benefits of a well-built, well-executed rebate program and the possible pitfalls that can result from a poorly-built, poorly executed rebate program.
  • The steps to build a successful rebate program specific to your business.
  • How to ensure the rebate program you build is able to continue running efficiently and profitably.

And for any of your rebate fulfillment or data collection needs, consider partnering with us–Incentive Insights. We’ve helped companies just like yours achieve great success through customer rebate programs. Let’s talk about what a partnership with Incentive Insights could do for you and your company.

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