I am so happy to share with you that I have been invited by ShopBack to do a review on the shopping process of their company. It is really heartening to get this opportunity especially since my blog is at such a young stage, but really goes to show that putting in consistent effort to always create valuable content for readers really pays off.
What is ShopBack?
For those who are not sure about what ShopBack does, it is essentially a platform that offers shoppers cashback for their online shopping whenever they access a shop via their website. The website features a wide range of participating merchants in different industries such as travel, food and fashion, and often have various discounts of such merchants on display to encourage shopping.
Prior to this review, I heard of ShopBack through the news and various entrepreneurship talks that I attend. I have so much respect for the young founders of the company, especially since they did not let inexperience become an excuse of not being successful at a young age. The story of Samantha Soh was especially inspiring because she had to deal with a lot of hardship in her life but was strong enough to pull through till today.
Shopping-wise, however, I was not exactly ready to commit to the platform. The idea itself sounded pretty iffy, especially since I was a skeptic as to how the platform earns profits by giving us our money back, and more importantly, sounded too complicated a process for me to go through just to get a few dollars that I do not need back.
After being approached, I decided to give the company a chance and tested out their platform to see how it goes, and so began my thorough research about the company.
So How DOES ShopBack work?
After studying their website, scrolling through multiple forums and blogger reviews, ShopBack seems like it operates as a marketing platform for the businesses that they work with.
It is somehow similar to an online marketplace like qoo10 or Alibaba where buyers and sellers congregate on one platform, but ShopBack’s model works slightly differently whereby clicking on a particular shop (say, Nike) will redirect you to the original shop itself and lets you do your shopping there.
ShopBack gets commission from merchants featured on their website as a referral fee if customers are referred to the original store from the ShopBack website, and a part of that commission is used as the cashback that we customers get in return.
Getting started is straightforward enough:
1.Create an account with ShopBack – they have already made it easier by including an option for you to sign up with Facebook with just one click
2. Surf their website and click on any store to be redirected to its original site.
ShopBack features multiple categories on their store, but I chose to go with my favourite: The fashion category. For all you shopaholic girls out there, just click on the link to access all the fashion stores that ShopBack currently works with (even Reebonz and Shopbop!); you can thank me later J
3. Make a purchase on the store as you normally would! (Take note that you should be accessing the store via the Shopback website in order for your cashback to be tracked and reflected)
4. After shopping, your cashback will be reflected under the pending tab within 48 hours.
What “pending” means is that your cashback isn’t actually placed in your account yet, because according to ShopBack, it will take some time for the merchant side to validate the purchase. This is also to ensure that there are no refunds or cancellations.
5. After 30-120 days (depending on how long the merchant takes), your payment will be validated and the cashback becomes redeemable, and that means that the money is cashed into your account. ShopBack requires you to have $10.00 minimum in your account in order to request your payout and cash in bonuses.
I also like the fact that Shopback features merchants’ discount codes and coupons directly on its own platform, so that shoppers do not have to go through the pain of digging site after site in hopes of finding the best promotions.
Let’s take Expedia’s page for example:
As you can see from the picture above, the page lists all the Expedia promo codes and vouchers on offer that lets you enjoy discounts when you click on the link to shop at their website. Just imagine all the time you save by not having to hunt around the entire Expedia site for the best deals!
Lowdown of Shopback: The pros and cons
Going through the process of shopping with Shopback, it is actually much easier to use than I thought it would be. After overcoming my initial scepticism whether I would get cheated of my money after being reassured by positive reviews about the company by other users, signing up for an account then shopping as per normal was a breeze. There is only one extra step that users have to take, which is to click on the store via Shopback’s website.
The question of whether the amount of cashback you get is worth enough to start using the platform really depends on where you shop and what you shop for. If you wish to get the best bang for your buck, then you would have to observe which merchant gives the best discounts and cashback deals.
Of course, some might not have the patience to slowly calculate the amount of money that they will be getting back, especially if it is only a few dollars. But, for broke students like myself, some savings are always better than no savings.
I find that as a rule of thumb, the offers for big-ticket items such as hotel stays and flights tend to be better as the amount of cash that you are getting back tends to be a lot higher. It is also going to be very worth the money for those who tend to buy clothes in bulk (ie. Spends hundreds of dollars on clothes at once).
The referral scheme that Shopback offers you to refer your friends to is something that I personally have not tried out yet, but according to other Shopback users who have tried it, there is a certain time limit for referred friends to use Shopback before both you and your friend is able to claim cashback. If anyone of you wishes to try out the referral system, do ensure that your friend purchases something through Shopback before the time limit!
Conclusion: Is It Worth It?
Considering that there are no hidden costs, that the shopping process is a relatively simple one and that you are saving money while shopping, I see no harm in using Shopback to access other online stores. You might have to wait awhile before you can take your payout, but shopping typically does not offer your cash back anyway, so I say it is pretty worth it!
I hope this post has helped you in one way or another, whether to decide if you want to use ShopBack or not, or in the process of using the platform. Have you used ShopBack before? What are your thoughts on the website? Let me know in the comments below, and hope to see you in my next post!