The Cashback incentive

Cashback is changing the way customers engage with businesses. Read how and why.

What is cashback?

Cashback is an incentivised performance marketing activity that is driven via specialist cashback websites, where a percentage of the total sale goes back to the customer, a type of retrospective discount. Typically, the affiliate site that hosts the cashback offers earns a commission for every customer that makes a purchase through their website. Once the purchase is complete, they then pass the commission earned from the sale, back to the customer who can typically withdraw their cashback via bank transfer, gift cards, or PayPal, amongst various other ways. The more that a customer spends on your site, the more cashback they will earn, and the more likely they are to return.

How is cashback shared?

The number one way to provide cashback is via cashback affiliate websites. Cashback sites work when customers access your online store through an affiliate link from their website and make a purchase. You pay a commission to the cashback site, who then pass it (or part of it) on to the customer as cashback. It is a very simple method that has shown amazing results for businesses who employ this tactic via their affiliate programs.

Why is cashback important?

Cashback sites are generally one of the top earning publisher types within the affiliate industry. Companies who have participated in strong rewards (like cashback) grow their revenue up to 2.5x faster than competitors who do not use them, while generating 100-400% higher returns to their shareholders.

One of the ways that cashback affiliates benefit a business that they promote, is by creating a direct line with a customer, one in which they get rewarded for, after the sale is made, and not before. Most other types of rewards are given to customers before they complete their purchases (such as voucher codes or onsite deals), whilst cashback is applied after the sale. The only way they earn is by spending in your store, with 75% of customers reporting that they are more likely to make another purchase with the same business, after receiving a loyalty reward.

The global cashback industry is expected to be worth more than $200 billion a year by 2022, whilst maintaining steady growth for the last decade. Statistics show that 46% of cashback participants consider it an important step when deciding to make a purchase, while 34% would not be loyal to a business without cashback deals. Based on the numbers alone, we see that cashback has a direct impact on the way your audience perceives making purchases through your business and can help increase general sales and revenue.

Cashback incrementality?

The numbers above support the idea that cashback sites drive incremental sales and therefore there is untapped potential for businesses who have never used these types of affiliates before. Some of you may ask yourselves, what are incremental sales? Simply put, incremental sales are sales that the advertiser would ordinarily not have received, had there not been any involvement from the affiliate, in this case, a cashback site. These affiliates have their own loyal user bases who will only transact via their sites, therefore if you are not listed you would potentially forego a sale to one of your competitors who are. Cashback sites provide the extra “pull” that advertisers need to drive sales, by encouraging customers to spend more on each transaction so they can maximise their earnings. This can easily be interpreted as direct incremental value, by giving that incentive to make bigger purchases and more often.


Cashback is changing the way customers engage with businesses, driving incremental sales via their vast user bases to your store, generating customers that will come back, time and time again.

Federico Bonavita
Digital Marketing Manager

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