Sophie Stickland, Cashrewards

Rakuten Advertising sat down with Sophie Stickland, Head of Client Services at Cashrewards, to talk about how the team supports brand partners through its innovative products and highly engaged audiences. As Rakuten Advertising’s Golden Link Awards 2021 Publisher of the Year, Sophie also touched on how Cashrewards helped BoozeBud achieve a 629% return on ad spend (ROAS) and, at the same time, gave back to the community.

Tell us a little bit about your brand.

Sophie: Launched in Sydney in 2014, Cashrewards is the largest Australian owned and operated cashback ecosystem, with a mission to make every day more rewarding by connecting Australian consumers with brands. We enable our 1.1M+ members to receive cashback on transactions when purchasing online or in-store at over 1,800 retailers. So far, Cashrewards has driven more than $2.7B in value, translating into more than $120 million of cashback for members.

On the retailer side, we support our brand partners to deliver strategic performance objectives, including driving new customers, increasing frequency and spend, and fostering brand loyalty. Brand partners are often onboarded via affiliate networks like Rakuten Advertising. Many brands have existing affiliate programs, allowing Cashrewards to integrate efficiently at scale. 

Cashrewards has four core products: Cashrewards App & Website, Cashrewards Assistant, Card-linked Offers and Cashrewards Max. Our members describe themselves as considerate, intelligent and also savvy, and mainly skew towards high-income, female and aged between 25-49. They tend to make an online purchase once a fortnight, including through our platform, and they rate quality ahead of price. Big-spending Millennials and Gen-X make up two-thirds of Cashrewards shoppers.

What sets you apart from publishers in your category?

Sophie: We believe that doing well and doing good in business are not mutually exclusive – you can achieve both. Our high-value members browse and shop with brands and receive cashback on transactions by shopping online and in-store. We give back more cash to shoppers so they can spend on things that matter. That could be savings for a holiday, an experience or to simply buy more products from our brand partners. 

We’re customer obsessed and work to a greater cause. Cashrewards is a Pledge 1% company, meaning one percent of the company’s equity and one percent of cashback rewards are donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation. Our partnership has shown Cashrewards already donating more than $900,000 and helping more than 23,000 sick children and their families. Campaigns like Shop4Smiles allow our brands to support and align their brands with the famous children’s charity in more than a few great ways. 

Our competitive point of difference is the combination of the quality of our product which we continue to invest in to maintain market leadership and the critical mass that we have built up across both members and brands. We have continued to roll out product initiatives through the years, including enhancements to our visual experience and UX, evolving onboarding journeys, and making strong progress against our personalisation agenda.

How do you help advertisers add value and drive incrementality?

Sophie: We continue to deliver exceptional ROI for retailers and valuable rewards and benefits to customers.

In a recent Net Promoter Score and Similarweb Analytics report, we found Cashrewards is:

  • Number one in monthly visits and unique visits vs competitors 
  • Number one in engaged traffic on website with the lowest bounce rate vs competition

And all Brand partners surveyed said:

  • Cashrewards provides valuable and meaningful rewards and benefits to customers
  • Cashrewards offers marketing opportunities that are valuable to their business
  • Cashrewards helps reach customers they wouldn’t normally reach

We are about building connections between brands and an audience through a wide range of channels and work closely with our brand partners based on what objectives they want to drive – for example, new customer acquisition, repeat purchases, re-engagement, loyalty, and larger basket size. Our most recent success story is with BoozeBud, who saw a 629% return on ad spend with Cashrewards

Partners often think of us as an extension to their marketing team. Together we maximise brand partners’ marketing dollars on the platform, which is 100% accountable and proven to acquire high-value shoppers and high return on investment. We collaborate with key brand partners to co-develop marketing plans which are delivered by our team of in-house creative and media channel experts.

What excites you about the affiliate marketing industry and where it’s headed? What new innovations will we see from you this year?

Sophie: We’ve successfully cemented our position as Australia’s leading cashback ecosystem in a market where cashback is a growing trend. What a year it’s been! We want to thank our brand partners for an incredibly successful year of tremendous growth despite the challenges for our retail community.

In the last 12 months, we’ve seen an accelerated wave of digital disruption for the retail sector with consumers living, working, purchasing and thinking differently. We are seeing that customers now want more from brands, which means marketers are having to change tack.

We understand how crucial it is for brands to reach valuable shoppers in the moments that matter with messages and motivations that really cut through. And that’s what Cashrewards is all about!

Australians have a real affinity for earning and saving and we offer our members real cash rewards. If we put it into perspective, Cashrewards’ total transaction value increased by 49% and generated more than $2.7B in sales for brand partners. Members who started their shop with Cashrewards grew by 46%. In 2022, we are going to reach new heights and have even more opportunities for brand partners to be involved in Australia’s leading cashback ecosystem.

Why did you choose to partner with Rakuten Advertising?

Sophie: We have partnered with Rakuten Advertising since the inception of Cashrewards. We have always enjoyed working with Rakuten as they allow us to partner with some great local and international brands. Working with a global network not only allows us to access global retailers but also tap into greater global insights and knowledge sharing. 

Rakuten Advertising has a very engaged and helpful publisher and account management teams, who support us across the day-to-day but also allow us to plan strategically. The teams help us streamline our marketing delivery and resolve operational tasks in a timely manner, and are always willing to go the extra mile!