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EDITORIAL With Peak approaching, how can you give your customers a buzz?

Shoppers may be spending less as their social lives resume. Image: Adobe Stock

Christmas is fast approaching – I know this because Brew Dog has launched its Beer Advent Calendar, a highlight for me. And with this yeasty yuletide froth in the autumn air, attention must turn to Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM, as some are acronym-ing it) and how to best leverage discounting to kick of the season sale frenzy.

But wait, consumers are starting to tire of discounting and are starting to see brands that do it as ones to avoid – even when According to The New Discounting Playbook – a report commissioned by data-driven loyalty and engagement platform, LoyaltyLion – finds that shoppers, while open to a good deal, are increasingly chaffing at discounting around peak season days and suggests that Black Friday rules “need rewriting to attract long term revenue”.

The research found that over half (57%) of consumers feel that BFCM discounts are never as good as they expect them to be and 58% reported that products they want aren’t usually discounted making the retail event less relevant to them. A significant number (58%) also felt that BFCM discounts pressure them into making purchases they wouldn’t otherwise have made. 

Even more concerning than shopper sentiment towards discounts, were the feelings targeted at brands peddling these reductions. 54% of UK consumers expect brands to push lower quality products during BFCM and 53% said that the deals and offers provided during this period impacted their trust in brands.

Just over half (56%) of the consumers surveyed felt that brands care more about selling products over supporting causes or living their values during BFCM, disappointing given the rise in conscious consumerism.

Furthermore, 55% felt that brands focus on winning new customers over making their existing customers feel special during BFCM.

This is potentially problematic for etailers looking to growth their businesses this Christmas. With more than 90% of UK SME retailers claiming to have pivoted to digital in the past year, many are no doubt expecting to make a killing during BFCM – and all those things that consumers now claim to hate are likely to have been key tactics.

So what can retailers do instead to help generate loyal and high-spending repeat business over the coming months? The answer lies in brain chemistry. What can you do that gives the shopper the same oxytocin rush as getting a bargain?

Giving to charity as part of the purchase, giving the shopper free delivery or loyalty points that actually count towards something and offering special promotions on their own birthday are all things that can have the same impact, apparently.

As can delivering an excellent experience. From my own point of view, what really gives a buzz is getting exactly the right thing, delivered when you want it delivered and no messing about, rather than price. When buying gifts it is the thrill of finding just what you want and being able to get it when you need it, not getting it cheap.

Changing this view of what Peak retail means is set to be a growth driver for smaller and niche retailers as they can offer something that the big players can’t – and it is that that will get those Christmassy brain juices – and the beer –º flowing.

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