My journey to the CBD recently wasn’t that unusual, although I have to admit I stay away from the maddening crowd these days. It was a pleasant enough day but I couldn’t help notice the predominance of red and white signs signifying the retail heartbreak of the ‘SALE’. I admit that I don’t respond like other people when it comes to shopping, but on this occasion I couldn’t help thinking that the only businesses that are making money out of the proverbial SALE are the chaps who make the signs and posters.
I accept I’m a bit of an odd ball – that’s the marketer in me – but I have to honestly confess with my hand on my heart that SALES are not my turn on, nor do I see them as anything but a way of slowly going broke. It’s what I call ‘an act of self inflicted haemorrhaging’.
I understand the need to clear old stock or the requirement to move items faster but I fail to see how this sales strategy can cause anything but commercial pain. I’m absolutely in favour of an annual SALE or even a Bi-annual SALE but the trouble is this is not the strategy that is adopted. I know many organisations that are on permanent SALE. Each week I drive past a store which has never had the SALE sign out of the window for the past 9 months – “This is a SALE?” I ask myself.
So when is a SALE not a SALE?
When is it deal or no deal? Sadly I can’t answer that and neither can any other consumer and when you can’t spot the difference you lose interest and the potency of having a SALE is lost. My local jewellery store has a SALE every week and I’ll bet the perception is that they sell cheap jewellery? This is surely an oxymoron. Is there any such thing as cheap jewellery?
In an effort to satisfy my curiosity, I went to discover the genesis of the word ‘jewel’. It is apparently, of late 13th Century, French derivation (Anglo-Fr. juel , O.Fr. juel, jouel) meaning “article of value – precious’ So exactly how can you reduce the cost of something ‘precious’ every week if it wasn’t over priced in the first place?
What is the answer to falling sales and what strategy can you use to develop a more profitable business? Here’s a unique, lateral and right out of left field suggestion.
Forget volume! Start thinking about your bottom line and remember, on most occasions the only person who prospers from volume sales is the manufacturer. Look for unique and high quality goods. Specialise! Inculcate your organisation with exceptional service and here’s the big one …drum roll… increase your prices.
Round about now I can see all those conventional retailers dismissing me as a prize idiot whose ready for the silly farm… and they may have a point in this rational and ordinary world. They’ll point to the successes and discuss the merits of great discount fetes; how ‘BOGGOF’ has taken some companies to the top of their game… but wait what does this all mean?
Does success and being number one translate to high profitability? If, as I suspect, the answer is a resounding No!, then it’s ‘NO DEAL’. Price is not always the name of the game – in fact, it almost never is and if you Mr. Retailer have any doubts, take a look at your on going strategy and bottom line, then ask yourself one question, “How do I stop being a price junkie?” When you’ve got the answer the idea of increasing prices and actually selling the product for what it’s worth may just occur to you. Then you can join me as one of the odd ball winners. The price is almost certainly right when you learn to say ‘No Deal’.