Discounts: the whys, hows and lessons learnt

Amazon’s just done it… M&S are doing it… Black Friday’s built around it… In fact, right now most brands are doing it… What is it? Discounts… Offers… Slashing prices… Whichever way you look at it, the customer pays less for an item than it was previously (though we all know there are some sly practices out there and the deal isn’t quite as good as you first thought!).

Companies do it for several reasons – it attracts customers to your site (they might buy something, they might not, but they are there looking in the first place so the odds are good); it has the potential to increase sales (while customers might buy a discounted item, they might also buy a full-price item too); it might mean the difference between hitting a sales target that month or not; it can be the opportunity to sell old stock; and ultimately, it can build on existing customer loyalty (giving great value for good-quality products can entice both new and old).

It can be seen as simply a marketing stunt to generate interest in a brand or an item, create that coveted hype that so many companies crave. At Sheepers HQ, we understand that, and as a small business, we can totally appreciate the reasons why the tactic is used. As you are reading this and perhaps you already follow us on our social media channels, you may have already anticipated the direction this blog is headed…

We offered a large discount (50%) across a large proportion of our stock after we hit 50,000 followers on Instagram… We did it before – 40% off when we hit 40K, 30% off when we hit 30K (you get the picture). So we hit 50K and offered 50% off. It was due to be for a very limited time – 30 minutes to be precise. You may think it utterly ridiculous. It was our biggest discount and the timeframe was narrow. It was a celebratory ‘thank you’ for supporting us really. We were so chuffed and excited. But we did not imagine it would attract the level of interest it did.

The first time, despite our website being hosted on a server with a pretty large capacity, the 250,000 hits we received, crashed the site. It simply couldn’t handle the traffic. We upgraded the server and tried again. The next time, there were lots of issues, not with the capacity of the server, but external issues out of our control and they simply couldn’t be resolved in time.

Instead of creating an exciting experience for everyone and presenting an opportunity for us to do something positive for our customers (which we know we all need right now), the idea backfired, leaving some people unhappy, disgruntled and frustrated… None of which we intended of course, and certainly the second time, none of which we foresaw.

For those who managed to place their orders, we’re so pleased; for those who didn’t, we are sorry that you struggled to do so, that you set aside time specifically to do so, and that ultimately you were unable to get the discount you wanted. We do value each and every one of our customers and we hope that you will begin or continue your Sheepers journey with us in the future.

Please do follow us on our social media pages and our mailing list as we will be holding more discounts to give more opportunity for people to own a pair of Sheepers at least! 🙂

Thank you,
The Sheepers Team xx

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