Is Discounting A Sign Of Failure

Whenever I see a store discounting or having a sale I think they must be in trouble. Most of the high street seems to be in trouble these days.

For big stores, discounting is merely shifting unwanted stock. For the supplier to these stores it means a loss because they have to give money back to the trader that stocks their products in the first place. It’s always the little man that loses out. If you buy something on sale, someone, somewhere is going without.

For a small business discounting can mean working at a loss unless you have huge mark up prices to start with. If you’re selling at a loss, then are you really a business?  And how long can you allow customers to purchase at a loss before you’re out of places to turn?

There was a time when there was a certain pride in HOW much you had paid for a garment. These days the pride is in how cheaply you  got it. That’s chav. I don’t want to the be the kind of designer that gets boasted about by customers because they got something for a tenner. All my designs are unique. You aren’t going to go anywhere else for what I make. So if you want it, you’ll have to pay full price for it. I want customers to be proud of what they bought because of what it is, not because it was at the bottom of a bargain bucket. If that’s what you want, go to Primark.

Black Friday has been particularly damaging, especially because it takes the hit away from Christmas sales. This year customers have been more reluctant to head to the shops. Perhaps because Black Friday stretched right into the Tuesday after. Discount overload has worked the other way.

I want customers to be proud of what they bought because of what it is, not because it was at the bottom of a bargain bucket.

The other problem with discounting is that you are conditioning your customers to only shop with you when everything is cheap. If all milk was £2 a pint, and noone ever dropped their prices, people would pay £2 a pint for milk because there would be nowhere else to get it.

Unfortunately thanks to stores like Primark, where every day is sale day, other stores are forced into a position of feeling like they have to discount because customers are now so conditioned to expect cheap they won’t pay anything else. And this is why I come back time and again to education, to ‘conditioning’ customers to expect more or less. Depending on how you see it.

If you are stuck in a quandary about discounts watch this 5 minute video from Social Triggers. It makes complete sense!


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