Active Junky leaves green in the pockets of its members

Active Junky's rapid ascent of the retail mountain has changed the game for consumers and retailers alike.

The outdoor gear cash-back aggregator shopping site drives traffic to its retail partners and gives rewards to its members, benefiting everyone on the outdoor gear and lifestyle shopping mountain. With more than 250 retail partners including Sports Authority, Athleta and Backcountry.com, Active Junky expects to have five times its current membership by the end of 2013.

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"There is no reason why you wouldn't go through Active Junky," says member Nicholas Levich, who has purchased skis, bindings, sunglasses and mountain-biking gear through the site. "It's definitely super-easy and, to be honest, I would have bought from the same people, but the cash incentive through Active Junky makes it better."

Similar to what Kayak does with airline tickets, hotels and rental cars, Active Junky aggregates retailers' online stores and allows a member to search for items by category, brand, retailer, price or style. Active Junky collects a marketing commission on every sale it drives to its partner retailer websites, then turns around and shares that commission with its members.

Here's an example of how it works:

You need new skis. Go to ActiveJunky.com and search as you would any store, or just click on the retailer of your choice. If you are eyeing those $600 skis from REI, click through Active Junky to REI's website, where you will get cashback on everything purchased. If the current deal is 5 percent back, after you make your purchase at REI, $30 will go into your Active Junky account. Every three months, Active Junky then sends you a check or pays you through paypal the total balance of your account. If the retailer has a loyalty program, such as an REI dividend, you also receive that in addition to the Active Junky rebate.

"We are really paying people money while they shop," says Kevin McInerney, Active Junky founder and CEO.

Active Junky, which was launched in August 2011, receives an average commission of 15 percent from its partners and refunds its members an average of 8 percent on all purchases. It started with just twenty companies, but its innovative business model and active customers continues to attracted brands and retailers.

"We are curating a community, specifically around outdoor sports enthusiasts in outdoor gear and apparel," McInerney explains. "Therefore, retailers pay us a high commission because we are providing the perfect customer to them. In return, our members are getting a larger discount by shopping through our program."

With no formal marketing campaign, growth has been mostly from word of mouth and the refer-a-friend program. In December 2012, Active Junky recorded 450 percent sales growth over the previous December.

"Active Junky is able to deliver new and loyal customers to outdoor brands and retailers. It's a great, endemic community on the website," says Brian Boyd, owner of Clique Affiliate Marketing, which represents brands Go-Lite, Stio and Soul Poles that are sold on the site.

Active Junky is not limiting itself to the web; it has set its sights on brick-and-mortar retailers in the future. You can join Active Junky on its website.

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Kate Gibbons
Contact: Kate Gibbons