How to Lower Your eCommerce Customer Expectations

Article by YouDonkey and protected by CopyScape

Week Long Sales - Up to 60% Off Sale - One Day Only Sale - Red Tag Sale - Clearance Sale - Weekend Blow Out - BOGO Sales - Interest Free Financing!!!

What do these all have in common? They are your typical retail gimmicks and you should stay far away from these gimmicks. We've heard them all, see them posted in every window and even see them in our mail and daily newspapers. Some of us actually fall for this practice without realizing what they are doing. Here is a quick list of the common practices other companies use to get you in the door.

Here are the gimmicks and why you, as a retailer, shouldn't fall for them:

Free Gift with Purchase Sale - You have your customer purchase an item then reward them by offering a cheap gift. The gift is usually something the consumer doesn't need and made inexpensively so it will fall apart. Consumers know the retail prices of the item are usually inflated to hide the cost of the free gift, so consumers are now turning to the internet to combat this practice because like you, they don't want that crappy item and don't want to pay for it. They want what they came for, that item, not the gift.

Coupons or Coupon Sale - A great way to get the consumer to purchase an item they generally don't use in their daily life. Sometimes a retailer will release a coupon for something the consumer actually uses but it come to a terrifying consequence... training your customers to expect a coupon to shop with you or not shop with you at all. If you just offer the item at a low price to start with, you will train your consumers to check you out first when it comes to their purchasing needs.

Free Shipping - A tactic many companies use to attract buyers to their web sites and not their stores. This helps the company by saving on building size, storage space, and labor because the item ships from the warehouse. but this doesn't really help you out because shipping costs more and the only thing you are doing is hurting your "brick and mortar" store. In many cases this will hurt your reputation because you don't have the "back-end" to support the increased sales or the payroll to handle the labor intensive package-and-ship method. Boxes, bubble, tape and shipping insurance costs more than a shopping bag and a register.

Buy One and Get One Free Sale - This is known as the "add on" or a "spontaneous purchase". This is only used to inflate the receipt amount and to lower the stock level of that item. Usually never used on items the consumer needs or looking for or the item is inferior or has a larger markup. A great tactic but also trains your customer to purchase those items only during sales. People will wait for these sales, so them and you a favor... offer BULK items. Reward them to buy more to save more while you push more out the door at normal retail markups. This way you get the consumer who only wants one or two and you get the consumer who doesn't care about the amount they purchase because they want to save the most money.

One Day Only Sale - This is a type of sale many companies use to reduce the retail prices on items by a certain percentage (like up to 50% off) to entice consumers in their doors on a specific day. This type of sale is usually held during the slower months to increase sales and keep the stock moving. But the draw back is... people wait for these sales and are trained to wait for these sales. This is a no-win situation for your company and probably the biggest culprit when companies "go under" because you have to have them all the time and the markup isn't there and your profits slowly and steadily disappear until you close your doors (or site).

No Interest Store Credit Sale - Credit Card companies, Retail companies and even the Automobile companies have jumped on this bandwagon and all suffer the same consequence. This probably is one of the best tactics used to get people to buy, use or sign-up for their products and usually mentioned at the beginning of the sale to make the item more attractive even before the item is shown. The consequences are not as always apparent at first because it works... but then they realize it's not always healthy. Why? Someone has to pay for the labor for billing and supporting the credit... and the card companies certainly won't take the hit. So who does? The retailer takes the hit and takes even a bigger hit if they discounted the product and used the "interest free" plan. Many retailers use a "no discount" tactic when using a "No interest". This works because the markup pays for the "no interest" and all parties are happy. But the negative is... you guessed it... you train the consumer TO BUY ONLY DURING THIS SALE.

No Hassle Return Policy - Many companies are adapting this policy to attract the consumer to purchase goods with them. This works and companies should have a return policy but outlined for a specific time frame... but in many cases you will be training that it is okay to buy from you and it's okay to return it even it it's used. This is commonly practiced in the jewelry market because consumers "rent" the jewelry for a night out and then return it a week of two later.

My summary will be quick and to the point. Stay away from gimmicks, keep your prices competitive, be up front and descriptive with all your wording and stay at a slow and steady sales pace and you'll win the race. You may not be rich tomorrow, but you will keep your business afloat.

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