On behalf of retailers everywhere, I’m cringing inside. And dying a little too.
I’m seeing 40 percent off at Hugo Boss during a special sale. I’m seeing Williams-Sonoma offering me more deals than ever before. Fresh & Easy is offering me 20 percent off my groceries.
Apparently, word of the bottoming out of the economy hasn’t reached consumers yet, as evidenced by the fact that the world of retail is still on sale. And at very steep discounts.
So long as consumers stay away, and traffic continues to be lackluster, retailers will continue to deeply discount, reinforcing the practice that consumers won’t ever have to pay full price again. How do retailers that are rolling out lower-priced lines, which many will be launching this summer/fall, expect consumers to pay full price for those?
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
The trick is to get customers into your store without a deal.
I won’t visit Hugo Boss because the merchandise isn’t that interesting as of late
I’m tapped out on Williams-Sonoma — my kitchen is well-equipped. And while I love their margarita mixes (and it is summer), $16 for a liter of the stuff seems a bit much.
I’m a Trader Joe’s junkie. Convert to Fresh & Easy for 20 percent off? Well, this one I am going to check out.
But that’s one out of three. So even though the discounts are steep, I’m still not buying.
So how to increase traffic (and potentially increase sales)?
Offer up a free gift – and hit up manufacturers to give it to you. Offer it to your top lapsed users to get them back into your store. It can be just about anything that people will see as valuable. People LOVE free stuff.
Offer up an event – What can you offer that doesn’t cost much? If I’m Williams-Sonoma, I’m offering up a cooking class for my top spenders in my database. Anything that helps make people’s lives more simple, that saves time, that teaches them something their passionate about, they makes people feel better about themselves, well, these are all places to start for events.
Offer up a free service – if you’re really desperate, offer it up for free with no strings. Best however, to offer it with another paid service. We did this all the time in the beauty biz — complimentary eyebrow wax with every hair color service. What can you pair to offer customers that they’ll see as added value.
There are so many ways to skin the slow traffic cat. Discounting to the point where you’re not making any money isn’t one of them.
How are you driving store traffic?
For more great insights into retail news and trends, follow me on Twitter.