Isn’t It Ironic?

3 11 2008

Isn’t it ironic that there are whole raft of retailers who are resorting to telling us how little we need to spend in order to attract us to shop with them!


This is particularly true of food retailers and supermarkets. M&S have done an excellent job with their “2 can dine for £10” promotion, and seeing the shelves being stripped as fast as they were being filled in their store last Saturday really drove this home. Possibly the fact that the offer includes a bottle of wine to help drown out the sorrows of the credit crunch may have something to do with it.


On one level it does seem almost crazy to think that the message is shop with us to spend less! But of course these campaigns are aiming to tap into the current trend of thrift that’s sweeping across the country with retailers looking to defend market share and no doubt hoping to gain incremental sales from further impulse purchases.


And in the run-up to Christmas we will no doubt see even more discounting across the retail sector and at the same time an increasing number of consumers are more likely than ever to hold out for last minute bargains.


Inevitably there will be winners and losers, the retail winners will be those who can plan and execute promotional campaigns that consumers relate too and that appear to offer exceptional value. But most importantly these promotions must appeal to new customers more so than your existing customers otherwise you run the risk of increased marketing costs, a reduction in margin but no significant increase in sales to compensate.


For example whilst the M&S promotion is good, the next phase should be to extend the concept, for example: A Friday night curry for 4, a girls’ night in supper etc. These offers would help to broaden the appeal of M&S to a wider customer base which in-turn would help to increase sales and penetration. Clearly these examples are theoretical, and I’d suggest any business would need to firstly identify its target markets and then establish a promotional strategy to actively attract them. At the same time existing customers shouldn’t be ignored because the last thing you’d want is for them to be lured to a competitor who is actively targeting them!


Going into 2009 as there will be little if any signs of economic recovery, retailers will need to become more intelligent in the ways they target customers and those that do will be those that weather the recession.







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