3 rebate management strategies to drive value, reduce fraud over the holidays

Black Friday is around the corner, leaving plenty of consumers with visions of massive sales and a chance to purchase items they may otherwise not even consider buying. For brands, this means an incredibly competitive period as they work to gain mind share among the masses flocking to stores looking for the best deals. Rebate programs can be invaluable here, giving consumers incentives when trying to buy your products and establishing kinds of discounts that get attention on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the myriad other holiday shopping events coming over the next couple of months.

Rebates can can drive plenty of retail sales, but they also present complications in terms of management and fraud prevention. In fact, a recent Internet Retailer report pointed out digitization in the consumer sector has created an operational climate in which organizations providing rebates must also consider becoming more flexible and adaptive as they work to maintain rebate programs.

Going digital can be invaluable for maximizing the value of rebates and preventing fraud. Three strategies that can work alongside digital tools to help manufacturers handle rebates this holiday season are:

“Going digital can be invaluable for maximizing the value of rebates.”

1. Increase touch points within the sales channel
Rebates can help manufacturers maximize sales and profits by offering varied rebate options through different channel partners based on their specific market dynamics. Thoughtful planning of each touchpoint can help to better connect the consumer to both the brand and its channel partner. The problems come when rebate claims and sales figures don’t line up, something that was nearly impossible to track in the past. Channel partners may not always play a major part in rebate program success, but visibility into their sales performance can be instrumental in fraud prevention.

Digital channel management platforms make it easier to communicate with partners, giving you opportunities to gather sales information and put that data alongside rebate claims. Collaboration in near real time makes it much easier to stay on top of rebate claims and track program success as a whole, not to mention reduce fraud, with greater ease. Rebate programs align stakeholders around a central marketing strategy, and having the right data is critical in preventing fraud from slipping in where there are communication gaps.

2. Simplify the clerical work
Paper-based rebate programs become overbearing as organizations shuffle through files pertaining to verifying program eligibility, processing claim submissions, communicating reward opportunities and managing redemption. Conversely, providing online and mobile tools for all of these processes can allow for automatic program eligibility processes and simplified rebate submission from consumers. These digital capabilities reduce or even remove the clerical and logistical work your staff must complete when handling rebates. As a result, you can work faster and smarter when managing the rebate experience.

“Rebate management systems makes it easier to get a top-down view into the channel.”

3. Take advantage of analytics
Assessing rebate programs’ full value is often nearly impossible, as consumers claim rebate benefits inconsistently, sales results come in on an irregular basis and manufacturers end up with poor visibility into how the rebates ended up contributing to sales across various channels. The increased touch points with partners, automated data collection with digital tools and better collaboration provided within rebate management systems makes it easier to get a top-down view of how rebate programs performed and adjust strategies accordingly.

In some cases, the immediate feedback offered by digital technologies that process and transmit data between different user groups within a common platform can enable manufacturers to change rebate strategies before the end of the holiday shopping season. If that isn’t possible, however, the ability to look back on sales performance can prove invaluable in planning rebate strategies for next year’s holiday sales season.

Black Friday and similar major sales events give manufacturers a unique opportunity to move a high volume of products. Rebates can make it easier to maintain oversight through this busy, high-pressure time. Modern channel management platforms empower manufacturers to take full advantage of the holiday shopping season by optimizing rebate programs to reduce instances of fraud, gain insight into consumer behavior and thereby get more value from initiatives.