Online shopping incentive programs have been roller coasters for ecommerce. In 1999, Flooz set out to be the “cash-back” currency for online shopping. It was a total failure.
Flooz money was earned by shopping at participating online stores or by purchasing credits directly from Flooz.com. Promoted by actress Whoopi Goldberg, the program was closed (reportedly by fraud) almost as quickly as it became popular. User’s credits instantly became worthless (including mine and ones I’d gifted to many others during the holidays).
Air miles earnings were next to become the popular kickback, but consumers complained, saying they’d rather just get discounts or earn additional cash-back rewards on their credit cards.
Now it’s all about Facebook.
Mashable reported on Monday a new program which allows online retailers to offer Facebook credits as incentives to shoppers who may be on the fence about a purchase. Operated by ifeelgoods, the program touted to help increase sales.
Social gamers can represent 60% or more of a retailer’s customer base and they are drawn into the competitive nature of the games.
– ifeelgoods site
Unfortunately, like Flooz and air miles programs, ifeelgoods’ program is geared more toward online giants, leaving smaller ecommerce sites still struggling to gain a competitive edge. Time will tell.
Facebook credits went on display in brick and mortar stores this summer, with many speculating they’ll be a huge hit as stocking-stuffers.
The question is, will Facebook Credits as an online buying incentive become a long-term, popular offering? Or will people lose interest – as they have with previous efforts to reward even one-time buyers?