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No, the consumer doesn’t care about your sale.

You’ve all lived it, more often than you wish you did. You pick up your phone in the morning, turn off the alarm and you go straight for your inbox. And there it is, mixed within the news you want to read and the emails you really care about, 60% of emails telling you about an amazing sale and a can’t miss it opportunity that only lasts for a limited time. That’s how you spell annoying without using any letters. It’s not limited to emails, it is everywhere, especially on Facebook.

There are many reasons why Facebook came up with a new algorithm to decide what shows up on your timeline or not. However they want to put it, it all boils down to one thing and you’ll guess it easily, MONEY! Mark Zuckerberg can say he’s had a change of heart about how his platform is being used and that he wants to get back to the basics of family and friends, but the reality is not necessarily that clear. The more time people spend on Facebook, the more money the company makes, simple math. In a sense, he’s not lying when he says he wants to promote more social interaction because people do end up spending more time on Facebook when it’s more social. The opposite being also true, people don’t spend a lot of time in a place where they are being bombarded by advertisement and things they don’t really care about.

Back when my father was starting his family, if he wanted to know about a sale going on somewhere, he either called the store or opened the newspaper and that was it. If you were not in the paper as a retailer, customers couldn’t find you. You won’t learn anything by me saying that times have changed. The issue is not whether the online business will cause the downfall of every bricks and mortar retailer. The issue is that, as retailers, even though we know times have changed, we haven’t changed the way we think about business. We still want to create that extra sale, promote this limited time deal or that special offer. Reality is, any day of the week, the consumer sees so much advertisement, for so many things, he doesn’t care about your sale. Matter of fact, he doesn’t care for multiple reasons:

  1. He doesn’t need what you’re advertising

  2. You’ll still have a sale next week or next month

  3. You’re identical to every other retailer

In 2018, when the consumer is looking for something, he has all the tools to find information, pricing and availability without you throwing advertisement at him. Now don’t decide that because I am telling you this, you should stop advertising, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is why not advertise differently? Instead of adding your voice to all the other retailers and talk about special pricing and percentage off, why not talk about features first and then mention the special? Here’s a real-world example:

Retailer 1 has a sectional on special for $1499 instead of $1999 and goes to market like this

SAVE $500 on this ABC sectional, now only $1499 for a limited time!!

Retailer 2 has the same special and goes to market like this:

Why not treat your family to a comfortable movie night. With plush cushioning, this ABC sectional is the perfect place to spend quality time. What’s more, for a few days, you only pay $1499 instead of $1999. Drop by the store and test it out, don’t forget the kids, they need to approve it as well.

As a consumer, which message has a better chance of sticking with you? Which message will you remember most? As a retailer, we’d like to think that it’s the first one, because we’ve been doing it that way for a long time. As a consumer, the second message is different than everyone else, and you’re addressing my needs with a result. I may be more inclined to change my living room couch if I start thinking about the quality time I am missing instead of just pricing. Agreed, if I am already in the market for a sectional, the first message will speak to me. But isn’t the point of advertising to create a need?

As a retailer, you also have access to tools you did not have before. Use them well and make yourself stand out because at the end of the day, no, the consumer doesn’t care bout your sale.

If you’d like to discuss this post, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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