Case studies

Rakuten drives incremental revenue


A leading high-end department store wanted to test the incremental value gained from their Rakuten program. That is, revenue that wouldn’t be realized without offering Cash Back through our platform.


We designed a test to evaluate the impact of Cash Back against a control group that didn’t receive Cash Back by looking at the performance of three (3) distinct Cash Back rates:

  • 2% base rate
  • Elevated rates of 5% and 10%

The test examines the relationship between the base and elevated rates and how program media impacts performance.For the test, ‘value’ is defined as net sales per buyer. A random sample of Rakuten members were split into the zero/non-zero Cash Back experience.

Key Learnings

  • Providing Cash Back through Rakuten drove incremental revenue for the retailer by delivering increased lifts in both sales per buyer +61% and average order value +64%.
  • Higher Cash Back rates generated increasing levels of incremental revenue lift.
  • Cash Back created a stickiness of purchase generating a 35% improvement to the department store’s assumed return rate of 50%.
  • Media amplified shopping trips, creating a multi-day halo to sales when paired with increased Cash Back rates.

Shutterfly & Rakuten

The background

As part of a larger program analysis to ensure the most successful Q4, Shutterfly wanted to determine which Cash Back rates are most effective and efficient in driving their core KPIs.

Key learnings

  • Cash Back rate improves GMV and NTFs in an impressive, linear fashion
  • Elevating Cash Back from 5%-8% drove significant uplift in shopping trips, while conversions exhibit an even higher growth rate at 10%
  • Rakuten drives incremental growth while maintaining positive ROAS

Cash Back is an effective performance lever

Strategic use of Cash Back drives different business objectives.

  • Strong lift in GMV and New to Files show the brand is highly responsive to changes in Cash Back
  • The high responsiveness of the metrics to Cash Back suggests that ROAS will be more efficient at certain, higher levels of Cash Back
  • Lift in GMV as well as NTF suggests that Cash Back is an effective lever for driving engagement across critical member segments and top line revenue

A strong catalyst for purchase

Cash Back has varying impact across the conversion funnel.

  • 8% Cash Back group generates much higher awareness than the 5%
  • When looking at awareness, 8% vs. 10% did not make a big difference in impact. Changes in Cash Back rates are not linear and there is an inflection point.
  • Although the 8% and 10% groups generated similar lift in trips, the 10% group played a much stronger role in driving conversion

FitFlop & Rakuten

The Challenge

After a tumultuous 2020, FitFlop was looking for ways to attract new customers to its full line of comfortable and fashionable footwear. FitFlop was highly interested in expanding its efforts via consumer intent data.

The Rakuten Solution

Based on FitFlop’s goals and requirements, Rakuten Rewards recommended leveraging their partnership with Rakuten Advertising to launch a Personalized Recommendations campaign. Personalized Rewards is a dynamic way to:

  • Utilize first-party audience Data from Rakuten Rewards
  • Pinpoint key audience members based on their intent
  • Serve them personalized ads at speed and scale

The Results

FitFlop saw a 149% increase in new-to-file buyers, and of the new-to-file orders within the campaign, 83% were net-new to FitFlop. In addition, this improvement in new-to-file buyers helped FitFlop achieve an overall increase in shopping trips by 195%.

Rakuten & Travel

The Challenge

Research shows that travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels. The heightened demand for travel has meant higher prices for airfare and hotel. Travel shoppers will be back to deal-seeking and advertisers should be prepared to meet them with competitive incentives.

The Rakuten Solution

Rakuten’s Travel Thursday provides targeted, category exclusive opportunities for travel partners. A single merchant can reach members by offering elevated Cash Back rates and strong offers on hotels, flights, car rentals, and more. Featured partners receive a cohesive awareness campaign across a variety of channels.

The Results

Participating Travel Thursday partners experienced incremental growth. Online Travel Agent (OTA) Travel Thursday participants:

  • +120.1% Demand
  • +187.0% Booking vs. OTA Travel Thursday Non-Participants (avg.)
  • +60% Demand
  • +40% Booking

Rakuten & Luxury Apparel

The Challenge

A luxury apparel store wanted to re-engage latent customers and position themselves as a part of the consideration set for this audience segment.

The Rakuten Solution

With this in mind, Rakuten Rewards ran a Personalized Recommendations campaign. The campaign consisted of: 
  • Creating unique audience segments
  • Increasing Cash Back for a specific audience (8% vs. 2%)
  • Deploying targeted media
  • Campaign test approach

The Results

The increased Cash Back not only generated more buyers, but those buyers also spent more. This resulted in incremental lifts of:

  • + 64% Shoppers
  • + 68% Buyers
  • + 184% Gross Sales
  • $439 Average Order Value

Rakuten & Big Give Week

The Background

Each year, members flock to Rakuten to shop our week-long May celebration called Big Give Week. This has become our highest-traffic week outside of the holiday season, where participating partners offer 15% Cash Back. Rakuten features this event on all our standard cross-channel placements, in addition to providing bonus exposure through high-profile TV integrations.

On its own, Big Give Week is a high-performing event for our partners. But those who choose to participate in Personalized Offers during our annual Big Give, offering elevated Cash Back tailored to their most loyal and high-intent shoppers, see exponential performance. The 42 advertisers who participated in our Personalized Offers campaign gained exclusive access to our most highly engaged members and targeted them with 20% Cash Back.

The Results

Personalized Offers participants experienced +600% lift in sales, while average Big Give Week participants experienced +196% lift in sales.*

Lift above average Big Give Week performance was:

  • +235% Sales
  • +209% Trips
  • +253% Orders
  • +325% Average Order Value
*Compared to avg. daily results from April 10th -May 8th, 2021