In the UK, the wine and spirits retailer Threshers is front page news because of a discount voucher. It offered an online 40% discount voucher to a few selected people. But the voucher was posted on a blog and was downloaded by 800,000 people. Threshers say they are surprised, but will honour all the vouchers; however, some commentators have suggested that this was all part of a clever marketing campaign by Threshers. Whatever the facts behind the voucher it tells us something important, as Internet marketers. If Threshers had just published an advert saying “40% off” it would have obviously attracted some people. But the online voucher is likely to have generated more custom. The reason, is that the voucher is perceived as something personal. If a friend downloads a voucher for you and emails it to you, there is a greater chance of you using it because it is “yours” rather than some general offer. For instance, the UK’s top retailer, Tesco, uses this concept very well. Each month it provides cash-back vouchers to customers who can then “spend” them in the company’s stores. This has much greater personal appeal than Tesco simply reducing their prices. Low prices are not always enough to attract customers; instead you need something personally directed so that people take ownership of the discount as something “just for them”. If you are running a business online, the Thresher’s experience should tell you something: make your promotions “personal”, rather than having a general sale.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+