In the earlier part of this decade, daily deals sites were all the rage: companies like Groupon Singapore, All Deals Asia and Deals.com.sg were the default platforms for anyone looking for good online shopping deals.
The concept is simple: retailers can market discounted services or products directly to the customers of these daily deals companies, which in turn either charge a small listing fee or receive a portion of the retailer’s profit. This allows retailers to quickly sell surplus inventory. Daily deals companies quickly grew into multi-million dollar enterprises as online shopping became more prevalent over the past few years.
The concept was short lived, however, as many retailers soon found out that customers rarely returned for full price purchases. Because of the steep discounts offered, sales from first time deal customers were also much lower, making it unsustainable for retailers to continue publishing deals.
From Daily Deals To Online Cashback
As the volume of daily deals dropped, and with Singtel also shutting down its daily deals site earlier this year, a new mechanics of drawing new customers soon emerged. Retailers have found offering cashback directly to customers who successfully make a purchase a more compelling option than daily deals.
Here on Vulcan Post, we have featured ShopBack a fair bit: the pioneer amongst Singapore’s cashback platforms, one-year-old company ShopBack allows you to earn cash when you shop through their website. They have hundreds of merchant partners onboard, including popular brands like ASOS, Groupon, Lazada and Zalora, and recently partnered with StarHub in its newly revamped rewards programme.
While ShopBack has enjoyed relatively low competition from other platforms, this privilege might soon be gone: over the past few months, a few other cashback sites have launched here in Singapore and Malaysia as customers are getting more receptive towards the idea of getting rewarded with cash for making online purchases.
Perhaps more importantly, Ebates — the leader in global online cashback shopping which was launched back in 1998 — has today launched its new localised website Ebates Singapore, to meet the increasing needs of the growing online shopping community in Singapore.
Ebates And Singapore
We met with David Teng, General Manager, Ebates Asia, at their Singapore headquarters just over a week ago, where he told us that they have been in Singapore for 2 years already. Previously, the office only served as a regional headquarters, but today, it has dedicated resources to pushing Ebates Singapore into a full-fledged cashback platform.
Here’s the newly launched site:
“With an online shopping market that reached nearly US$2.7 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow significantly to US$3.45 billion by 2015, we believe the Singapore e-commerce market is at its prime stage for a local Ebates launch. Online cashback shopping will definitely gain momentum with Singapore online shoppers who are always looking to get the best deals,” said David.
One of the key differences which David continually pointed out during the meet was that Ebates’ strength lies in the vast network of retailer brands who are partnered with them across the globe to provide online consumers with cashback from their purchases. David also shared that the most popular brands on Ebates are those in the fashion and accessories vertical, followed by baby products along with health and supplements from overseas brand, which can be 20 – 40% cheaper if you were to purchase it here.
Ebates operates by giving members cashback rewards of up to 26%, which allows consumers to earn a percentage of their online purchases. Membership on Ebates is free and rewards are paid quarterly in the form of a cheque, through PayPal, or credited back to the consumer’s credit/debit card.
Like all cashback sites, the company makes a small marketing commission from online merchants by providing sales to online stores. This commission is then split with consumers who go through Ebates to make purchases, which allows Ebates to give cash back to consumers.
Liaising with over 2,600 online stores globally including renowned brands such as Gap, Ralph Lauren, and Victoria’s Secret, Ebates currently has over two million members in Asia who contributed to a gross merchandise value of over US$150 million across the last 12 months.
On Competition: “We Are Confident With Our Product”
While banks and individual e-commerce brands offering their own online cashback schemes, along with cashback platforms such as ShopBack, Ebates Singapore seems to not worry much about all these developments. “We are confident with our products and we have great overseas partners which is a strong value add to customers in Singapore,” David told us. “It is a matter of providing a great customer experience and service to our customers, and we are confident with that.”
With the newly launched site, the team is looking to drive more awareness among online shoppers in Singapore through organic content, and is dedicated to making Ebates Singapore a strong contender in the e-commerce space, if it isn’t already.