NEWS JUST IN! Shoppers Like Special Offers!
Recent reports suggest that Britain’s supermarkets are set to call time on the vast majority of in-store offers such as BOGOFs because customers say they are simply wasting food and drink after being encouraged to buy more than they need.
However, we must remember that whilst shoppers tell you their views with their collective rational minds, we – as a nation of consumers – all buy emotionally and justify rationally. The truth of the matter is that, as shoppers, we like promotions! We like the buzz of getting ‘something for nothing’ or a few quid knocked off the price. Nothing pleases us more than ‘getting one over on the retailer’.
Does anyone remember the J.C. Penney debacle of 2014? They too ditched promotions in favour of ‘Everyday Low Pricing’ (EDLP) and quickly learned that their strategic mistake was to replace sales with lower pricing all round. Their original policy worked well, because it hyped consumer emotions, making them feel astute, but the change of strategy basically stripped shoppers of their sense of achievement after making a saving.
In their defence, J.C. Penney has since reinstated their original pricing strategy, but have so far failed to bring the excitement of a saving back to their customers – offering a valuable lesson to modern marketers: once the buzz has gone, it’s very difficult to revive it.
Psychologically, the message is clear – amongst this current round of replacing multi-buy promotions with regular low prices, let’s not get too carried away.
Here at SBXL (Shopping Behaviour Xplained Ltd), we have been studying the psychology of promotions with human emotions for many years now, and as a result have identified 491 specific psychological rules and behavioural traits that directly relate to the perceived desirability of an added value product in-store.
The key to successful added value offers (in terms of maintaining transparency with shoppers and not misleading them – whilst giving them a sense of reward) is to fully understand how they mentally respond to offers in-store.
Unfortunately, you can’t do that by asking them!
Most promotional influence takes place in our working memory, which retains information for a maximum of just 18 seconds. Either that or special offers impact on the mental reward centres that operate below conscious awareness.
In summary, when it comes to special offers and in-store promotions, study actual behaviour rather than paying attention to any claims that are made. Instead of scrapping all the offers, we should instead be working towards better in-store promotion. Something that not only provides added value for shoppers, but is also fair and ethical as far as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is concerned.
I am Phillip Adcock, Managing Director of Shopping Behaviour Xplained Ltd and one of the worlds leading authorities on shoppers and shopping. Add the shopper to your range planning, category management and other retail strategies by utilising my knowledge. Get in touch today by calling SBXL on 08707 66 99 74 or contact us via our website.