Can Secret Deals Win Customer Appeal?

The Lempert Report
July 24, 2015

Forget the advertising, take a secret approach to in-store deals and let the customers spread the word!

If you've shopped for anything online this past month, or gone shopping in almost any large retail store you would have noticed the huge sales push for "Christmas in July". Most retail giants, like Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy have spent July boosting sales with "Christmas in July" deals, even holding their own versions of "Black Friday in July"

Target offered shoppers buy-one-get-one 50 percent off deals on clothes, shoes and fragrances. Amazon had a "Prime Day" sale offering "more deals than Black Friday" for Amazon Prime members. Walmart offered shoppers more than 2,000 online exclusive "rollbacks," or discounts. And Best Buy had sales on July 24 and 25 saying on their website, "no need to wait for after Thanksgiving sales to get Black Friday pricing…".  But as these big stores spent a lot of time and advertising money promoting some of their biggest sales of the year, we thought of a totally different approach that food retailers could take; secret deals!

Just like "secret" trunk shows from clothing designers or "off the menu" items at restaurants that only regulars seem to know about, customers love being "in the know". They love either getting a deal that seems secretive or knowing about an item before others do, and furthermore, they love sharing this with their friends. So why couldn't supermarkets cash in on this? Instead of promoting store deals through social media or other advertising, wait so that only when customers come in the store do they discover a certain deal. Whether it's money off various items, or even free products, create a sales event that customers only learn about when already in the store. The store would then email, tweet, Facebook ,or even Instagram the event to the customer who could invite a few friends. It becomes an insider event that turns viral as customers spread the word on their own digital platforms.

Food retailers could really stand out by creating insider sales events, not only does it appeal to consumers who love to be "in the know" but it becomes more appealing as friends pass it on to friends. As customers continue to get saturated with advertising for various store deals and sales, retailers need to find ways like this to rise above the noise.