When you think about rebates, companies such as Nicor or Microsoft may come to mind but you can add your small business to the list. Rebates can help you acquire new buyers, gather information about your customers and build brand loyalty through follow up marketing programs. Rebates are an excellent way to put your product "on sale" but keep your price point the same. You can move inventory for a certain time period without discounting the cost. This way you don't risk your customers being upset over perceived price increases. There will also be buyers who purchase the product with the intention of redeeming the rebate but will forget to send the offer in.
Recent research done by the Aberdeen Group, suggests all retailers and manufacturers should consider integrating rebates into their marketing programs. Aberdeen surveyed 75 retail and manufacturing organizations and found that 50% of retailers, and almost half (48%) of manufacturers surveyed use rebates. The research found that the top driver for retailers in the use of rebates is top-line revenue (64%), while manufacturers are focused on building their competitive advantage (61%). Your small business could benefit in both revenue and competitive advantage if you put together a thoughtful rebate offer and a streamlined process for redemption.
Typically a rebate requires a customer to provide the completed rebate form, sales receipt, service agreement and UPC code. Submission usually needs to be postmarked within a certain number of days after the purchase date. Use the rebate form to gather any other information about your customer that you are interested in knowing for marketing purposes. This data can be used to make future product and marketing decisions. Be sure to include security safeguards in your rebate requirements to reduce the chance of fraud.
A streamlined rebate process can be done in-house at your small business with careful planning. Design your rebate to be mailed back to your location and have staff check for errors and duplication. Someone will have to review each entry to be sure it qualifies. Have submissions entered into a database for future use. Final step is to mail the rebate check to your customer. This is a great place for additional promotion. Your customer will be looking for their rebate check in the mail, so be sure to include marketing messages about other products or services they may be interested in.
Keep in mind a rebate program not done properly may frustrate your customers so be sure to keep them informed if their entry was incomplete and do not delay sending out checks. Anticipate a high response to your offer so you are prepared for the paperwork and cost. Make sure you are aware of the laws involved with offering and promoting a rebate as well.
Done correctly, a rebate can bring you new customers and help you build loyalty with current ones. This type of promotion continues to work for large businesses and can be scaled for success in small business. If you would like more information on rebates and how your business may be able to benefit from this type of program, please contact us atwww.BuddinghAssociates.com/.
David S. Buddingh is founder and partner in Buddingh & Associates, Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing consulting firm in Naperville, IL. Contact him at (630) 961-4504 or visit www.BuddinghAssociates.com.