Free stuff versus discounting

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© Brett Critchley | Dreamstime.com

Since around 2008 consumers have been very wary about value, especially on the web. So how do you trade off discount value versus communicating additional value to the consumer?

Most online brands (especially clothing) have to fight hard to encourage reorder and purchase. You don’t tend to buy on impulse as you need to at least know what you want to buy before entering it into Google!

I still have a strong view that the principles of retail don’t care about channel (online, physical, direct marketing). They all go back to the Marketing Mix (there is some debate about how many P’s there are)!. You need to use your mix to influence these to the optimal position to engage your consumer.

Promotion is something that you will change all the time to influence demand, you need to work out what promotion you are going to use.

I am a big fan of FREE STUFF instead of pure discounting. I have seen again and again that it can outplay a simple discount (relatively speaking), but it needs to be relevant to the product you are purchasing.

Here is a great point to ask the consumer what else they considered in the purchase cycle as complimentary to their success. In shirt retailing it might be a tie or cuff links, in diet it might be scales or portion plates.

These items together with your core product enhance the motivation to purchase much more than discounting alone. If there is nothing that you can find, using discounting as a strategy has been very successful for people like DFS. Everyone knows the product is never sold at full price in any volume, but it does communicate that value is at the heart of the consumer proposition for everyone who walks through the door!

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