Time to cure your brand's Discount Code addiction

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How to wean your customers (and your marketing team) off vouchers and discount codes…

Seeing how 2015 has started with announcement after retailer announcement that excessive discounting severely dented margins in Q4, it's a good moment to consider another type of rampant discounting: ‘Discount Codes’.

Vouchers as Class A Drugs?

Indiscriminate scatter-gunning of discount codes cheapens your brand by creating a class of customer that always expects discounts.

This problem has been particularly pronounced in the casual dining industry where vouchers have been compared to Class A drugs and research from Mintel (1) found a third of British diners regularly use vouchers and a huge percentage say they will only visit chains if there is an offer.

It's just too easy for marketers to turn to the ‘quick fix’ to boost sales, but the fear that customer numbers will drop the minute the discounts disappear means it’s hard to quit. What we get is a real ‘tragedy of the commons’ where competitors discount away their margins chasing price sensitive switchers.

I am sure we all see evidence of this. How many of us have a wallet stuffed with a couple of ‘30% off’ coupons alongside some


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80% of January sales are over by January

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We thought it would be fun to show you how the January sales looked 30 years ago (see video below), when the lure of great discounts could bring the masses to your store.

But for January 2015, with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and even Panic Saturday promotions fresh in shoppers' minds, you're going to need more than just great prices to ensure your January sales don't fizzle out before January even starts.

So, here are our tips on how to use Social Selling to make your New Year sales a lasting success.

First, a look at how we used to do January sales in 1984:

Here are our top five Social Selling tips for January 2015:

1. Involve your social audience early. As we approach the tail end of December use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to ask your audience what they want to see in your sales. Make them feel like they’re curating the campaign.

2. Sometimes less is more. It’s tempting to launch all your offers on day one, but hold some back. Treat them as mini-marketing campaigns and launch them regularly throughout the entire campaign.

3. Make some of your offers exclusive to your social audience


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by Peter

Singing for their supper: why casual dining needs to change

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In my wallet, I have two 30% off coupons for Pizza Express. Alongside them, I’ve got some random membership card that entitles me to 40% off at Pizza Express. Oh, and… hang on, yep, here it is: another Pizza Express saver - this time a £10 voucher earned with supermarket loyalty points. That’ll keep the toddler in “Pat A Pony” pizzas for the next few weekends (he seriously needs to learn how to pronounce the word “pepperoni”).

Thing is, I didn’t have to do anything to get these coupons. I didn’t scrub dishes in their kitchens, or win some kind of competition. I didn’t even have to like pizza (I’m ambivalent). Pizza Express just gave them to me because that’s what casual dining chains do these days. They discount. Relentlessly. Aggressively. Dementedly. To the point where it’s no longer about attracting new business or inculcating loyalty, it’s simply a matter or keeping up with the Jones. Or, to be more precise, the Garfunkels, the Carluccios and the, um, Nandoses.

The rest of retail already went through this and - thank god - is finally starting to come out the other end.


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Marketing Week says Co-buys "send conversion rates soaring"

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What do we mean by 'rewards'? What kind of incentive is it when retailers offer the same boring savings to everyone? How can we expect customers to be loyal when it's rarely a two-way street?

These are some of the critical questions facing brands, retailers and marketers today. And Marketing Week have tackled them in a stand-out feature about vouchers and incentives, published in their latest edition. Unsurprisingly, they've consulted the experts: Buyapowa, plus two of our clients, Tesco and GameSeek.

It's a seriously good read. So, seriously, read it:

http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/a-personal-touch-gives-smarter-rewards/4010009.article

If you take it all in and decide that smart rewards aren't for you, we'd love to know how you can afford to take that risk.

If, on the other hand, you decide that clever incentives are exactly what your business needs, we'd love to speak to you about that, too - so we can help you get started.

EIther way, get in touch now.


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Daily deals: why they need to die... and STAY dead!

Daily deals: why they need to die… and STAY dead!

Ugh. Here's something we thought we'd seen the back of: the daily deal. Oh sure, Groupon and its legion of clones limp on, increasingly irrelevant after alienating merchants and customers alike with unreasonable trading terms and uninspiring products. And the Daily Deal's equally undead relative, the Voucher Site? Well, they're somehow managing to hang on in there, too - eking out a meagre existence by feeding on crumbs of affiliate revenue.

But these things really are the bargain bin of the Social Commerce world. In fact, let's be honest: they're not actually Social Commerce at all. When did you last tweet your friends to say: "Just picked up an amazing voucher for a 30% off meal at Plastic Pizza. You should get one too! #GotNoShame".

So we were amazed (and a little troubled) to see a respectable giant like Barclaycard dipping its toe into this particular stagnant pool - something they've done with their Bespoke Offers site, which claims to offer personalised, daily-deal-style savings to anyone who fancies getting involved. When it launched, industry pundits like Moneysavingexpert.com founder Martin Lewis were quick to point out the worrying lack of exclusives: a large number of the deals on offer were


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