The best online rewards programs for digital shoppers
It used to be easy to keep up with shopping rewards programs. At least it did for me, anyway. In general, I would learn about new rewards programs from the cashiers at my favorite stores or from the store flyers that came in my Sunday paper. Those days, however, are long gone. Now, I do the vast majority of my shopping online, and I’ve had to learn all new ways to keep up with savings opportunities in the digital realm.
Keeping up with rewards programs can just be a little overwhelming! More stores are coming out with these online rewards programs, and others are working to keep pace by overhauling their own versions. When I first began serious digital shopping, I used to be able to count my favorite online rewards programs on one hand. Now, keeping track of the ones I use—let alone my favorites—requires an entire spreadsheet!
As a shopper, however, this is what’s known as one of those good problems to have, because it means there are more chances to save than ever before. In the interest of keeping all them organized, I’ve put together a handy guide of the best online rewards programs, which can be used as a reference for all of us digital shoppers out there. Because, obviously, these programs only save you money when you remember to use them!
The Overall Best Online Rewards Program for Digital Shoppers
The concept behind an online rewards program for digital shoppers is super simple: users get to earn extra cash for the shopping they do online. Sometimes this extra cash comes in the form of discounts during checkout, and other times it comes in the form of points that can be redeemed for gift cards later.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m the type who likes to maximize my rewards, and I generally do this by using multiple rewards programs when I do my digital shopping. That said, there is one that rises above the rest.
Shopkick is my absolute favorite online rewards program for digital shopping. It turns every shopping session online into a super fun scavenger hunt for points, which the app calls kicks. It’s super easy to use, and the tasks you have to complete for kicks are ones you do every time you do some online shopping anyway. At its core, Shopkick is a free app that pays you to shop. For example, if you download the app, then go to a featured online retailer, you’ll earn kicks. Watch a video to learn more about a certain product, you’ll get more kicks. Buy a featured item, and you’ll get even more kicks! Once you’ve earned enough kicks, you can trade them in for gift cards to a super wide range of stores that you shop at all the time, anyway. Basically, with this online rewards program you can shop from your sofa and get paid for it!
Two of my favorite things about Shopkick are how easy it works and its versatility. You really don’t have to go out of your way at all. You just get rewarded for your usual shopping behaviors, and if you ever have some old school in-person shopping to do, Shopkick rewards you for that as well. In fact, with Shopkick, you can get points just for walking into a store. What’s also cool about Shopkick is that you can also combine it with other online awards programs—or any of the other programs listed here that you’re thinking about joining!
For example, Shopkick works really well with Mobee. Really, you can combine Shopkick with any of the best online rewards programs for digital shoppers! And, Shopkick is so easy to use and has a great social media community of like-minded users who are always giving out tips about everything from deals on certain products to their tips for maximizing the number of kicks you can earn. It’s a small thing, but it makes a BIG difference.
Details About Shopkick:
Works online AND in-store
Can be combined with other great online rewards programs to multiply your savings and rewards
Is engaging and interactive
Doesn’t require you to make purchases to earn points, but rewards add up faster when you do
Has a fun social media community of like-minded digital shoppers
A Sampling of Online Rewards Programs for Digital Shoppers
One of the great things about the digital shopping age is the variety of choices it affords us. I’m talking about choices in the merchandise we buy, who we buy it from, when it gets delivered, as well as in the online rewards programs that we use to reap some killer savings and benefits. Online rewards programs have been around for a while—not to show my age, but I remember first discovering them way back in 2007!—and so it’s important to have a guide to some of the best.
Here are a few of my other favorites:
Drop is another app that rewards digital shoppers for making purchases at any number of featured affiliated retailers. It’s simple, too, in that when you purchase certain items, you earn points. There is, however, a bit of strategy associated with using Drop, because it tasks users with selecting which retailers they want to earn points from during a given period of time. In my experience, there are always plenty of stores to choose from, but since you only get to pick five it can be difficult at times to narrow it down.
The number of points you earn depends on the dollars you spend, and it varies per dollar depending on the individual retailer. You might earn eight points at one big box retailer’s online shop, or 10 points at their competitor. So, when picking my five retailers, I often find myself factoring all this info in to make a more informed decision. When you save up enough points, you can then cash them in for gift cards that you can turn around and use for more online shopping.
Details About Drop:
You select which retailers you earn points from
You can select as many as 5
Points vary based on individual retailers
When you hit a certain number of points you can cash them in for gift cards
Ebates offers a percentage of cash back at more than 1,800 online stores. I’ve found that on average, this turns out to be 5 percent, but there have been times when I’ve managed to save as much as 20 percent on my digital shopping with Ebates. You should see me when that happens; I’m positively beaming!
Like all the other best online rewards programs for digital shoppers on our list today, Ebates is fairly simple to use. You go to their site, search for your favorite store, click the “shop now” link, and then make your purchase as you normally would. This is a good site for Amazon users because it takes up to 6 percent off for certain categories there. That’s nothing to scoff at! In terms of getting paid, Ebates can take a bit longer than some sites, as it pays out on a quarterly basis, provided you have at least $5 in your account. But hey, patience is a virtue, right?
Details About Ebates:
Average earnings are around 5 percent
Includes more than 1,800 online stores
Pays out quarterly via a check in the mail or a PayPal deposit
Offers bonuses for spending bigger at certain online stores
FlipGive is a great online rewards program for digital shoppers who want the cash back they earn to be put toward a shared cause, such as a child’s doctor bills or a local youth sports league. Simply put, FlipGive is an online fundraising system that pays intrepid digital shoppers like us (or teams or organizations) to shop online. How cool is that!
The way it works is simple enough, too. You shop through FlipGive’s online portal at any one of its many affiliated online retailers, then, depending on the retailer you’ve chosen, your cause gets a percentage of the cash back. I’m a big Warby Parker fan, for example, because I love how stylish their frames and glasses are. Well, every time I buy new glasses for myself or for my family, Warby Parker makes a 15 percent cash-back donation to my favorite cause.
Admittedly, that 15 percent is on the higher end, but plenty of other great brands make donations as well. Under Armour also does the 15 percent, while Anthropologie does 10 percent, Wal-Mart does 7, Sephora and Hotels.com both do 3, and Apple does 2 percent. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but a friend of mine actually used it to raise more than $1,000 to help send her son’s traveling basketball team go to a regional tournament!
Details About FlipGive:
Lets you earn cash back at many popular online retailers
Directs that cash back to fundraising causes
Percentages for cash back vary depending on the retailer
All shopping must be done through FlipGive’s online portal
This is far and away one of the oldest sites on our list, with a history that goes all the way back to 2005! Honestly, I don’t think I was even shopping online back then, not counting some dabbling with eBay. Wow, crazy to think about! Anyway, through Big Crumbs, users can get rewarded for shopping at more than 1,200 retailers.
In my own personal experience, rewards at Big Crumbs range anywhere from 1 percent to more than 10 percent. The online stores that offer rewards through Big Crumbs are also pretty diverse. I’ve personally used it to get savings back on everything from eBay to Amazon to Walmart to ordering flowers to reserving a rental car. Admittedly, the size of the rewards tends to vary based on the individual retailer. To get them, users have to visit Big Crumbs, find the online retailer they plan to shop at, and click through using an available link.
Details About Big Crumbs:
Rewards you for shopping at more than 1,200 retailers
Savings range from 1 to 10 percent
Offers a wide and diverse range of retailers
Requires you to access your rewards by visiting Big Crumbs before any online shopping
It’s an exciting time we live in, one in which digital shopping has never been so easy! Now, we can just sit back on rainy and cold days and order online the things we used to get from the store and have them sent to us, sometimes within the same day. I wouldn’t have predicted that years ago!
But, I also wouldn’t have predicted that the old shopping rewards programs cards we all used to carry would become sophisticated, online rewards programs. But they have! It’s just so easy to earn money online with rewards programs and shopping apps. As we’ve just discussed, there are now so many that it can be hard to keep them all straight. Don’t get overwhelmed. That’s what this handy dandy guide is all about!
Get in on one of the best online rewards programs for digital shoppers. Download Shopkick’s free app today and join a community of loyal Shopkickers who’ve already discovered the rewards of shopping with a free, smartphone app sidekick.
And, if you love social media as much as you love your smartphone, join Shopkick on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for a little daily shopping inspiration.