Seasonal sales and other scary stories

It’s mid-October, so Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night are on their way. Along with the traditional seasonal promotional posts that go with them.

Spooky Sales, Offers So Good They’re Frightening, Prices The Go With A Bang! and all that sort of thing.

Does it work? Hmm.


Story time

This is short, so pay attention.

One of the scariest stories I ever heard was ‘The Couple Who Bought A Full-Price Sofa From DFS’.

Everyone knows you NEVER buy a full price sofa from DFS!


What not to do

AKA ‘lessons from DFS’

Reason 1 for not doing seasonal sales: people wait for them.

So you lose out on full-price sales from people who were definitely going to buy from you anyway. You DON’T gain new customers.

Think about Black Friday. Hallowe’en’s scarier little brother.

People wait for it. I’ve known businesses who didn’t want to do Black Friday because they’re missing out on full price sales, but were then scared not to do Black Friday because people expected it and they’d get grief on social media for not making offers available. Gah, can’t bloody win, eh?

Does that mean you should do them? Maybe, maybe not.


Who wants to jump in the canal?

Reason 2 for not doing seasonal sales: they might not suit your business.

If you’re in retail, seasonal sales are pretty much expected by your customers.

So then it’s up to you to use sales smartly, and use them to sell off excess stock to make shelf space (ie, the things that just weren’t selling, and you just need to get SOME money for them coz you know full price just isn’t happening!)

But if your customers don’t expect it, then you have a decision to make. Do you NEED to do a seasonal sale?

If you have that excess stock problem, they can be a great idea.

But if you don’t, it can make you look a bit desperate for custom.

Think about a beauty salon doing 20% off for Hallowe’en. 20% off Hallowe’en nail designs, fair enough – but otherwise you risk the message being ‘come to us because we’re cheap’.

When people think of your business, do you want them to think ‘cheap’? Unless you’re Poundland…

I’m not saying sales are a bad thing per se, just that you should consider carefully before doing one.

‘Everyone else does them’ isn’t necessarily a good reason – ‘if everyone else jumped in the canal, would you?’ Yeah, OK mom.


How to do non-seasonal sales

So, don’t feel you have to go with the seasonal stuff if it doesn’t suit your business or your audience.

You can do a flash sale – 20% off for 24 hours because it’s my birthday! Or it’s my cat’s birthday! If you do sales less often and they feel more special, people are likely to share them and make more of them.

Sales work well when they’re unexpected, a delight for your regular customers who will now buy more from you and/or encourage their friends to buy from you.


The summary

You should know by now, there’s always a summary!

Things to ponder before you leap into seasonal savings, spooktacular sales and the like.

1) Would people buy anyway? You KNOW people wait for sales. Think DFS. Do you NEED to do this?

2) Do people expect this from you? Does it suit your business? ‘If everyone else jumped in the canal…’ Is there a better way to do it?

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