With the holidays upon us and retailers filling up our inboxes, there’s no better time to consider how sales can turn customers off…
If your email address isn’t brand new and you have bought a few things online, you have inevitably found your inbox increasingly populated by promotional offers from retailers. Offers in and of themselves are not a bad thing; they can motivate transactions, increase basket size and give consumers the feeling that they are getting a deal – everybody wins! But in the constant competition for attention, the level of promotional noise has reached dizzying levels.
Sales, discounts and coupons have been around for a long time, a natural evolution from the barter economy that predated our modern age of set prices. But they used to be something special, often tied to a calendar event or to push specific new (or outdated) products.
Today’s offers to “Save 15%” or “Get $5 Off” bombards buyers constantly. Instead of being a novelty that truly inspires someone to get over the hump and make that purchase, there is now an expectation to receive a discount. The dynamic has swung so far at some retailers that buyers are a sucker for ever buying anything at list price since they just needed to wait a few days until the next sale kicked in.
While this phenomenon is most extreme in the retail sector, the expectation of deals and the variable efficacy of promotions exists in many other industries. So how can a business use promotions effectively to drive incremental sales and build customer loyalty without needlessly shrinking margins or alienating customers?