Archive for January 15th, 2019

January 15, 2019

#146) You can’t give it away #4: “I’ll catch the next one” (Why we don’t give a #*@! about discounts)

couponsPhoto: BessieSpin

Limited Time! Act Now! Offer Expires Soon!

It’s been done.

Recently I was offered a 20% discount on an annual membership renewal. Since my membership wasn’t ready to expire for another four months, I started an email to the company to ask if, since the coupon code was only valid for two days, I could apply the discount to my future renewal. When I saw that the email was sent from a “do not reply” rather than go online and research the correct address for such inquiries, I decided it would be more fun to write a blog post about why I decided to leave my 20% discount on the table.

A friend of mine whose father is on his fourth marriage quipped that when her dad asked her if she was going to come to the wedding, she said, “Nah, I’ll just catch the next one.” The same can be said of discounts. How many times have we received an email or seen an ad with a “you can’t afford to miss this” offer, only to see some variation of the same promotion the next week? With all of the competition for our time, attention and money, are we going to drop everything and buy a unicorn horn for our cat because it’s 15% off Today Only? As this article notes, “[It] becomes increasingly difficult to convince consumers they need to make a purchase right then and there when they are offered countless limited time bargains day after day, many of which resemble one another.”

That’s not to say discounts don’t have their place, if done effectively. The website WebFX suggests offering discounts to show appreciation, not to retain customers: “Have some clients left you for a cheaper service provider? Are you afraid you might get rejected if you ask for what you’re worth? These sorts of reasons [for offering a discount] can greatly undervalue your skill, time or effort.” This article about discounting suggests doing 4 major promotions per year and not to show the same ad to everyone: “Someone who already bought your product doesn’t need to be notified you are running a discount.”

My response is a variation to this last point: since I was planning on renewing my membership anyways, the discount was moot. However, a customized email – I have been with this company for close to a decade – sent from an address to which I could respond directly might have made me want to engage more with them instead of running to my blog. The company in question provides a service that I want, regardless of the price. Would a 20% discount have been nice? Sure. But I’ll just catch the next one.

 

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