The retail world has been put through the ringer over the last few years. In 2020, the COVID pandemic pushed many companies out of business or close to it, and in 2022, record-high inflation created new troubles for retailers. Of course, it's not just the stores that suffered. Shoppers have been looking to cut costs where they can as they battle inflated prices brought on by recent challenges. But at least one popular retail chain has a plan to help more cost-conscious consumers. Read on to find learn more about the new partnership between Dollar General and Ibotta that will help shoppers "stretch their budget."
READ THIS NEXT: 5 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Dollar General Employees.
Shoppers are still feeling the weight of inflation.
Inflation has fallen from the 40-year high of 9.1 percent it reached in June 2022. But it's still quite high: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), inflation was up by 6.5 percent in December compared to the year prior. And shoppers are certainly feeling the heat. They're paying more for groceries these days, so they're being left with less money for discretionary spending, and as a result, holiday sales fell well below industry expectations, CNBC recently reported.
"It just signals that consumers continue to be cost-conscious," Matt Shay, the chief executive for the National Retail Federation (NRF) told the news outlet. "They're feeling it. They're aware of the pressures of managing their daily, weekly, monthly expenses."
They're turning to discount retailers.
The ongoing stress of inflation is pushing more shoppers toward stores with guaranteed saving opportunities. Data tracking company Placer.ai reported that discount retailers are seeing increased foot traffic in stores across the board, according to PYMNTS.
Five Below saw the greatest increase, with store visits increasing 50 percent this last quarter compared to the same quarter in 2019. But Dollar General and Family Dollar also saw foot traffic jump by over 20 percent, while Dollar Tree experienced a 15.3 percent increase in shopper visits.
"As consumers continue looking for ways to adjust their shopping habits to the ongoing inflation, the discount&dollar store sector appears well positioned to maintain their visit gains going into 2023," Placer.ai wrote in their Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Report.
Dollar General is now looking to further help cost-conscious customers.
On Jan. 19, Dollar General announced that it is partnering with Ibotta, an app that provides cash back rebates. Through this new partnership, Dollar General will be the "first retailer in its channel" to join the Ibotta Performance Network (IPN), according to a press release.
IPN is "the first digital network that enables promotions to be delivered in a coordinated fashion across retailer platforms, large third-party publisher sites, and Ibotta's leading direct-to-consumer properties," the release explained.
In a statement, Ibotta founder and CEO Bryan Leach said that "partnering with like-minded brands" such as Dollar General is a priority for the company with its IPN network.
"Dollar General is deeply committed to creating maximum value for their customers through seamless, customized programs that help save them even more money," Leach said.
Dollar General says this partnership will help shoppers "stretch their budgets."
Dollar General shoppers can already start taking advantage of this collaboration. According to the press release, "consumers can currently receive cash back rewards on thousands of items at Dollar General through Ibotta's platform." And by spring 2023, the discount retailer said that customers should be able to get these cash back rewards directly through the Dollar General app and website.
"We are excited to provide an additional innovative option for our customers to help stretch their budgets," Emily Taylor, Dollar General's executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a statement. "Ibotta's cash back rewards program further complements our continuous efforts to provide financial offerings and rewards to customers alongside our everyday low prices."