In the first few days of winter, our traditional June long weekend has just passed and we have a new crop of well-deserved Order of Australia recipients following the Queen’s birthday.
The long weekend is also close to financial year’s end, so it’s sale time across lots of Australian companies who have inventory to clear. And for lots of companies that don’t have a June 30 year end or any need to clear inventory, it’s just another opportunity to talk to shoppers with an offer.
We will all have watched free-to-air, EOFY sales TV commercials, seen billboards, pop-up ads been texted and emailed with offers from Myer and Harvey Norman. And I bought a $9.99 album promoted by iTunes over the weekend. I don’t think that Apple had much excess inventory to clear or that June 30 is their year end.
With the change in season finally arriving, and it feeling like winter, I’ll also now be looking at clothing, red wine and shopping in grocery for winter food. Roasts and roots. A single malt may also find its way into a basket, in store or online. So long as it’s promoted.
I am working with a fashion retailer who has a very strong social media presence. Basically it’s in their DNA. They just do it well. Have done for years. Their products, photo shoots, website and e-newsletters are all visually engaging and consistently done well across the wide range of social media channels. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook et al.
More importantly, this retailer truly increases sales uplift amongst her shoppers with this approach. Do an online campaign on a Thursday, sales lift for the next 72 hours.
However, last week one of her friends, who is also a loyal shopper, said on her email e-newsletter: “I think you send too many emails.”
I’m not sure that’s exactly what he said, but that was what she heard. And when one of our customers gives us feedback we need to listen. Don’t we? That’s what we’ve been taught.
So for one week she stopped her e-newsletter. And lost $10,000 in sales. Sales dropped by $10,000 over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and the only thing that changed was that her shoppers were not made aware of the store’s offers that week.
Here’s the most important thing about awareness in your business: It’s never about one person. You cannot “extrapolate to the universe from a base of one”.
Or put more simply, if your best friend or your mum says ‘I think you’re promoting too much’… just ignore them. That email, text or phone call is only one of many that shoppers are CHOOSING to receive. As advanced mammals, we shoppers have an articulating digit, called a thumb. With it we can text and we can also hit the “unsubscribe” button anytime we like.
So as you scroll through all the promotional offers on your phone, tablet or PC this week, if you like what you see then pop into the store or use your thumb to buy or unsubscribe. But if you’re a business owner that hasn’t put that message in front of us, we can’t make that decision to buy from you or not.
Kevin Moore is a retail expert and the chairman of Crossmark Asia-Pacific Holdings.