Monday 19 November 2012

The letter vs. the spirit of multibuy promotions

Given the media coverage of Which? latest research on ‘misleading’  promotions, the key issue is how the consumer-shopper will react to creeping realisation that no-one can be trusted…

As a person or company works to the edge of ‘right and wrong’ they might acknowledge that whilst their observation of the spirit of the law might be in question, strictly speaking they remained within the letter of the law... In an environment where loyalty to a brand or store is increasingly fragile, spirit and letter become indistinguishable, especially to a savvy consumer, and, as you know we are all becoming savvy consumers...  This means that if a deal even seems wrong, the damage is already done..

The Which? findings
Which? year-long investigation into "misleading" pricing tactics by the major chains indicated that seven out of 10 people prefer straightforward discounts to multibuy offers.

Multibuy deals have become a staple of supermarket promotions in recent years, and now apply to nearly half the goods on offer in a supermarket at any one time. Which? said that of the 115 products that it examined in the first half of this year, 46% of the time they were on multibuy, compared with 35% of the time in the first half of 2011.

Increasing suspicion
But there are signs that consumers have become increasingly disillusioned by the value on offer in supermarket promotions. Around one in 10 products on supermarket shelves increased in price when they went from the previous standard price to the new multibuy price, then decreased again when the promotion ended.

Losing the consumer...
The only real issue for suppliers and retailers is whether, having been ‘mislead’ by a promotion, the shopper associates the deception with the multibuy itself, the  brand involved or the shopkeeper…  In other words, does the shopper dismiss multibuys and revert to ‘straight’ sales, switch to another brand or change stores…

Given the upfront investment in getting the consumer-shopper to this point, it seems a pity to then kick ‘em over to the opposition….

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