Shopping this time of year is a seasonal craze that everyone seems to be involved in, and Retailers and Manufactures work all year long to prepare for the onslaught of shoppers. Over the last few years, as Retailers and Manufactures become more and more Tech Savvy, the online marketing/deals continue to get better and better (for us.) In the past, online shopping seemed to be primarily for those last minute shoppers. Today, however, online shopping is experiencing exponential growth as a new wave of “shoppers” hits the street.
Why Shop Online?
Plenty of benefits! Stay home, conduct research, get the best price, etc. But recently, I have an even more compelling reason! CASHBACK! Yup, imagine that, Cashback for nearly everything you buy on the internet! Needless to say, getting free money back for something you were going to buy in the first place is pretty groovy indeed!
What is Cashback?
Cashback itself is nothing new; it has been around for a long time in the retail industry. More commonly it’s used in the case of loyalty programs and club cards. A few big brand examples are the Kroger card, Fred Meyer card, Costco card, Ace Hardware card, or an in-store branded credit card (Visa/Mastercard/American Express), etc. With these programs, you earn a % for every purchase you make, or you accumulate points that are available for a future discount or airline miles.
Another form of Cashback is Mail-in Rebates, where you actually mail in a coupon to the company that manufactured your product, and in turn, they send you a check back for X amount of dollars.
Cashback on the Internet
Cashback on the web has also been around for a couple of years. In May of this year, Microsoft stepped into the game with Live.com. The move by Microsoft is to help advertise and incentivise the use of their search engine Live.com. It’s a brilliant marketing plan. Rather than giving millions out to advertisers, they are giving it to you and me!
Now granted, Microsoft isn’t the only Cashback option in town. Another big contender is Fatwallet, which has been giving “free money back” for a while now and has even built up a money saving online-community.
Is using Live.com Cashback worth my time?
The answer is Free Money! Why not use it! You were going to buy the item anyway – right? But remember, just because they say “Cashback” you still need to do your homework and carefully read the fine print at all times. For instance, sometimes you will need to buy a substantial amount of product before you earn any rewards or earn enough for a Cashback check. Also, sometimes the amount you get back has a maximum limit so don’t go buy a pair of Sharks with Laser Beams grafted to their heads and expect Dr. Evil to send you a Cashback check for “1 MILLION DOLLARS!!!” (or an ill-tempered Sea Bass for that matter.)
All in all, Microsoft Live.com Cashback is a pretty groovy. Not perfect, but Groovy.