Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dazzle Customers with Surprise Gifts

My granddaughter Molly will be reaching her sixth birthday. With the help of her parents, she’s been planning her celebration. A few weeks ago, she announced that on the invitations, she’d like it to say it is a surprise party. Molly then drew a diagram of where the guests could hide before jumping up to yell, “Surprise,” when she walked in.
     I’m not sure this truly qualifies as a surprise party. Still, like Molly, many other consumers who love to plan in detail also enjoy surprises. For example, researchers at Yale University and Carnegie Mellon University found that a surprise gift to commercial bank customers resulted in significantly higher deposit account balances.
     In the Yale/Carnegie Mellon study, some bank customers with relatively high account balances were mailed unexpected gift certificates to restaurants and gas stations. The outcome was that account balances for those receiving the gift grew by $6,000 more, on average, than did account balances of those not receiving the gift. Those receiving the gifts also were more likely to praise the bank.
     Another form this can take is to have surprise specials in your store. At first glance, it might seem to be really bad business to surprise a customer with an especially low price on items the shopper had already intended to buy. After all, they’ll buy the items at the price they had expected, so why give up any of the profit? But consumer behavior researchers at University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and University of Pennsylvania found that just such a practice, used with care, can end up building your profits.
     The reason is that customers who are grateful to you will buy more from you, and nothing brings out gratitude in a customer more than finding a surprisingly low price on an item the customer already had intended to buy. They’ll buy more from you over time, and they’ll also spend more than they’d originally planned to spend during the shopping trip where they found the surprise special.
     Don’t discount most items on the person’s shopping list, and don’t stop advertising the low prices on those popular items which will draw traffic into your store. But knowing you offer surprise specials will motivate all that traffic to move up and down the aisles on a treasure hunt. What better way than this to make shoppers aware of all the products you offer them?

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more:
Have Unannounced Discounts on Common Purchases
Tailor Loyalty Programs to Customer Culture
Thank Shoppers Freely

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