Although before last year, I couldn’t remember Black Friday being a thing in the UK, this Black Friday I have already been bombarded with e-mails from at least 10 large companies. This was followed by smaller outlets jumping on the bandwagon, trying to convince me to spend money with their ‘amazing deals’.
Like most people, I was intrigued by the deals that Amazon and others were offering but so far, I’ve been strong and resisted buying anything that I don’t actually need. It’s still early in the day though, so no promises!
As I made my way through the sales e-mails, I noticed that for some companies, I started to feel a bit annoyed, disappointed and almost cheated.
For some companies, mostly the ones that I’ve been loyal to, I was feeling that they have let me down by offering such large discounts on some of their products.
This sounds crazy, right? After all, I obviously like them. That’s why I signed up to their marketing e-mails, that’s why I’ve bought from them before - so why did it make me feel like this?
It’s because it made me feel that they have been taking advantage of me in the past.
Previously, I have gladly handed over my money for their products, believing that I was getting good value for money. But now, they are offering a 20% discount on ‘all items across our range’.
Then, with my consumer hat on, I started doing the maths. So if they’re offering a 20% discount now, that means they are initially marking up their products by 30-40% to make a profit, which allows them to offer a 20% discount and still make a profit. So what the hell was I paying extra for in the past? The product wasn’t 20% better, it didn’t arrive 20% faster!
Will other consumers do the same thing and feel betrayed?
The problem with offering discounts is that it could lower the value of your products in your customers’ minds. If they work out roughly how much profit you’re making on each sale, it may put them off from buying from you in the future.
I am not saying that discounts are a bad thing but I think, as a business, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons. If you are discounting stock because it’s end of line, people understand that and would love to grab a bargain. If however you’re discounting something by 20%, something that you sell all year, just because it’s Black Friday, could you be damaging your business?
The customers that you're likely to attract during a 'flash sale' are people out for a bargain. They are not long-term, loyal customers. They will not be the people you need, promoting your company by telling all of their friends how great you are. They will grab the bargain and you will never see them again.
I was once asked by someone why we didn’t offer discounts. My answer was, because this price is what our product is worth. If you want something cheaper, you can go elsewhere but what we offer is the highest quality on the market and you get what you pay for. This sounds a bit arrogant but think about it, if you’ve priced your products or services fairly, is there room for a discount in the profit margins?
I think it’s all about treating your customers fairly and not trying to make a quick buck.