John Anderson CBE

Member Article

Good deal, Bad deal

Like many up and down the country every morning I receive the latest deals in my area; restaurants, bars, sporting events, theatres and retail there is always something on offer which appeals to someone.

These relatively new tools are widely popular with consumers, after all in this economic climate who doesn’t want to save a few pennies whilst dining out. At first glance they appear to be just as popular with business owners however if companies fail to integrate them properly into their marketing strategies these offers could kill the business rather than to help make a killing.

If utilised effectively on-line discounts should provide companies with access to a new audience, which is a positive but do these customers go beyond the deal? It is essential to measure what the return on investment is; not just in terms of profit made on the initial sales but also potential income; converting one off users to become regular customers can tricky.

It advertises your business and surely that’s a good thing, but it is vital to remember that a proportion of those who are attracted to daily offers will never be interested in purchasing anything at full price.

A small planned promotion can go a long way, the key word being planned. Entice your customers in but leave them wanting for more. Offering too many low prices will make your customers less willing to pay full price for the same product/service in the future. Perhaps you have heard the horror story of bakery that had to produce thousands of cupcakes at significant cost to the business as they failed to specify a maximum order limit. Likewise it is important to remember that discount strategies can devalue your brand and have devastating effects if taken too far.

However many organisations, even cities are using offers to promote a cohesive and unified approach to encourage people to try their wares. Innovative discount cards are being used in Manchester and Leeds and have proven to be a good way of boosting business for the retail and entertainment industry. City cards are offered from Manchester Council giving 50 per cent discounts for restaurants and retail. Leeds offers a card, along with three magazines a year, offering discounts at theatres and museums and is available for purchase from libraries and leisure centres and just last week it was reported that one Sunderland Councillor feels this maybe the key to encouraging more people to the high street.

If you are a small business owner wanting to increase your customer base then I would perhaps think elsewhere to promote your business, but if you are just after exposure then offering a onetime only deal maybe a viable option, just don’t expect a massive boost in profits.

A deal is good but a great deal should give customers a taste and then persuade them to return and buy further goods or services at full price.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by John Anderson CBE .

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