There are lots of sites out there offering cash back or points when you do online shopping – like ipoints, Pigsback and Quidco. As far as I’m aware however, there hasn’t been one that’s specifically focused on being green and rewarding you for your ethical shopping until Green Rewards contacted us for a paid review of its site.
Green Rewards does just that – rewards you for your eco shopping. As the home page tells us: enjoy, shop, earn and redeem. The first thing to note is that while it encourages ethical shopping, it actually has a wide range of partners, not just environmentally friendly or ethical ones. So it’s up to you how to spend your money and earn your points. Partners are displayed in categories like Books, Music & Film or Home & Garden and clicking through will display all the stores in that category and then you go through to that website. If you’re logged in then Green Rewards will track your purchase and reward you with the appropriate amount of points.
Points for purchases vary from store to store and are displayed with the store’s logo before you click through. There’s actually a very good FAQ section that explains everything in much more detail than I can. Basically you spend money and then are rewarded with points in the next 30 days as the purchase gets verified. So far, so much the same as other reward sites, but where Green Rewards differs is that you can only spend the points to do eco shopping in its own Green Shop.
This may seem a limitation but I like the idea. There are things you’ll want to buy that just don’t fit in the green category, why not make those purchases and use the money back (or points in this case) to pay for your green products? The Green Shop has a huge range of products to spend your points on, from eco-friendly table mats to books and games. Each product will cost a different amount of points or offer a split between points and cash. This latter option seems more advisable as it will take a while to earn enough points to get ‘free’ products. For example a CD will earn you 60 points if it’s £10. To buy a £37 Eco Kettle, you need 8,720 points – which is 145 CDs! But for 73 CDs and £21.80 you can buy it as well. That doesn’t really seem much better but it’s not too bad in comparison with other sites I’ve used, the points system just seems to earn you less than if you were getting it in cash.
The idea is that you wouldn’t buy hundreds of CDs but use the site as a portal to do all your online shopping. You’ll soon find yourself building up points and putting it towards purchases, just don’t expect it to happen overnight. There’s no expiry date (as far as I could see) on points so there’s no rush to spend them, just quietly build them up until there’s something you want from the green shop. You can also donate points to charity.
From a usability point of view, the site is clean and nicely laid out, although I found a few of the categories packed full with lots of pages so used the search facility to navigate around to products I wanted.
Signing up is easy, it took less than a minute and you get 500 points for registering. My points balance was prominently displayed on the site and it’s easy to look at your account history.
Overall the site is easy to use and a good idea as a way of getting people to spend their points/cash back in a green way. It just needs to start getting the attention and users other sites get.