Are you conditioning your customers to buy on price?

The best way to get people to buy is to offer them a discount

Retail stores do it all the time. Black Friday, New Year Sales, Summer Sales: we all know that these are a series of events designed to drive customers to their stores. They boost sales.

The print industry is no different. Many companies offer regular discount offers. They will e-mail these out, share them on social media and even send out direct mail about them.

Sometimes it seems that it is hard to buy something at full price. On the high street one sale seems to merge seamlessly into the next one. It’s the same with print. Type the hashtag #printing into Twitter search and you’ll soon find a discount coupon.

Here’s an interesting story about one supermarket shopper

Discount

This is a tactic that results in the wrong types of print sales

This person is a regular shopper at her local Marks & Spencer supermarket. Marks & Spencer tend to have fewer sales than many chains on the high street. However, they do have regular 20% off weekends. For a limited period many things can be purchased at this level discount.

This shopper keeps a keen eye out for when these weekends are scheduled. She only shops at these times. That is when she purchases her bed linen and much of her clothing. After all, why pay full price when you know a discount is coming along soon?

Marks & Spencer have educated her to expect to be able to buy their goods at a discount price. Their 20% off weekend may drive sales during the offer period. However, it is at the expense of full price sales at other times.

You can find similar shoppers in the printing industry

One trade printing company has started a series of daily e-mails about their products. Every single e-mail is some form of an offer. Every week, you will see five different product categories where prices have been cut. Again, they are educating their customers to expect cheap prices. Most buyers will wait until they see the product that they need at an offer price before actually making a purchase.

You don’t have to send daily e-mails to educate buyers in this way. As soon as you start offering discount pricing, buyers will start remembering your offers. Your phone will ring with customers expecting you to apply this lower price any time they are ready to place an order.

In the printing industry, few people are well placed to play the discount game

Discounting your products and services only works if you are able to produce print extremely efficiently. Most companies simply do not have the right workflows in place. In contrast, the big online players will have complete automation for every job until the finishing department.

For the average commercial company, complete automation is not a realistic option. So their cost base will have to be higher than the major trade printers. They need a different business model.

So what’s the alternative?

To compete against the discount trade printers it is important to offer customers something other than good quality print with great service and low prices. The trade printers offer this already.

That’s why every other printing company should develop a message based on the TPD Principle. TPD stands for Target Audience, Pain and Difference. It’s a way of targeting very specific clients. After all, can’t sell successfully by being all things to everyone. You understand what business issues your prospects face and how you can solve them. You understand what makes you stand out from the competition.

Printing companies that use a sales message based on these principles have a much better chance of engaging prospects. They are also more likely to have a higher conversion rate. You can find out more about the system in my book “How To Stop Print Buyers Choosing On Price”.

Discounting is the way to create price-focussed customers

They will move on as soon as they find a cheaper price. And there is always a cheaper price. It’s far better to create a sales message that makes your prospects and clients value you.
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One Response to Are you conditioning your customers to buy on price?

  • Marcus Doo says:

    Hi Matthew, of course another way is to try and deliver extra features for the same price , buy two get one free springs to mind – e.g. order nine different names for business cards – get the 10th one free ( after all we all know one will probably end up throwing that final corner of an A4 sheet in the waste anyway 🙂 )

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