Discounts and promotions are a tricky thing in retail. Offer them once and many consumers will wait for your next promotion before making another purchase. Offer them too often and they won’t purchase without a discount. And, it’s not just consumers who become discount-dependent. Retailers can – and have – become addicted to promotions too. A discount code is often a quick fix to a slow sales period, especially for those with performance metrics that need to be met.
In his latest piece for Retail Customer Experience, Coherent Path CEO James Glover explores this discount addiction and the unintended consequence: shoppers who now expect a deal from retailers with heavy promotions strategies. Not only do price reductions cost retailers money, they also cost them repeat purchases, as they attract price-driven consumers who are unlikely to turn into long-term loyalists. In fact, research has shown that buyers who purchase at a discount are unlikely to be as valuable as someone who purchases a product at full price since their motivation is, in most cases, solely price-driven. They will continually hunt for the best deal they can get, without loyalty to the retailer selling the item.
But discounts don’t have to be the solution for driving sales and cultivating customers. With technology like machine learning and advanced analytics, retailers can use data-driven strategies to free them from relying on discounts and empowering them to attract loyal, long-term customers.
Check out James’ piece, “Using data to break discount dependency and nurture loyalty” for three ways to prioritize long-term customers.