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Ecommerce Forum

Getting our B&M Customers to buy online
Vacationers visit our stores, how to get them back to our site?

 8:34 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

We get a large number of customers who visit our physical stores while on vacation and make meaningful purchases ($500-$5000). In an attempt to get them to come back and shop for complementary items on our website, I had some plastic gift cards printed that were good for $50 towards any online purchase. Of the 500 given out, two were redeemed. Not the resounding success I had planned for.

Any ideas how I can get these buyers to repeat online?



 10:25 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

500 / 50 = 10% != interesting ..I'll probably throw away the card..

5000 / 50 = 1 % = you got to be kidding me ..I'll throw it in the trash can, inside your shop.. or leave it on the counter ..

Make the card good for at least 20% of the next purchase ( whatever the pre discount value ) ..and I might be interested in keeping the card..

Make it for 25% and you are getting my attention..and maybe a repeat sale..

NB...for purchases around $5000.oo , consider the following..

30% and you'll be tempting me to take out a visa or mastercard and make a purchase..

40% ( and free shipping ) and you have another sale ..

*NB2..if you can't offer at least a 25% discount ( whatever the "sticker price" ) and still be making a real good profit..you are paying waaaaaaay too much for what you sell..or as netmeg would say "your business model needs a rethink" ;-)

* Not addressed specifically at you akmac ;)..but in general, most people forget to actually make enough gross profit, to make better than minimum wage, by the time they have allowed for all their overhead costs..


 10:51 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks Leo,
I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. You may be right about the amount being too small. There was some debate early that a $50 "Same as cash" card would drive more customers than a %25 off offer. Maybe I'll try a 25% off card, and see how that goes. We always offer free shipping.

We're also thinking about giving scratch-off cards where a customer can enter a code on the site to get a certain discount, say 10-25%, but I think the added steps might be obstacles. Though, I do like to scratch off that silver paint...

Items on our site start in the $100 range, but there aren't many. So technically, a $50 gift card could lead to %50 savings. Average sale is around $1500.

Which would motivate your guys more $50 gift card or 25% off your next purchase?

Ideas/experiences other than gift cards?


 11:28 pm on Jul 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

Items on our site start in the $100 range, but there aren't many. So technically, a $50 gift card could lead to %50 savings. Average sale is around $1500.

Which would motivate your guys more $50 gift card or 25% off your next purchase?

A $50.oo "off" card on a $100.oo purchase as against a $50.oo "off" card on a 1500.oo purchase "rewards" those who spend less in "real money" with you, more than those who spend more in "real money"..<= fact ..and also that will be the perception of those who spend $500.oo or $1500.oo or $1500.oo or $5000.oo ..

25% is better..and is seen to be more fair..each is "rewarded" according to what they spend..

However, IMO and IME, what is sometimes known as "loyalty discounting" actually works better for the retailer B&M or "online" if the more the initial purchase ( IP ) the more the applicable discount..

So ..

IP = $100.oo = 25% off next purchase..
IP = $500.oo = 30% off next purchase..
IP = $1000.oo = 35% off next purchase..
IP = $2000.oo = 40% off next purchase..
IP = $5000.oo = 45% off next purchase..

( adjust the figures and the percentages to fit your margins and your average purchase amounts )

Make it clear to them that if say they spend $100.oo on IP ( thus they have repeat discount of 25% ..that it will apply to all subsequent purchases..) ..and if they make an actual ( after discount is applied ) subsequent purchase of $500.oo then their loyalty rate discount moves to 30% and so on..

Call it bronze, silver, gold, platinum etc or whatever would fit what you sell ..

The more they spend over time, the better their discount % becomes..basic "loyalty card" or "valued, privileged customer" stuff..give them a unique ID code on the card, tie it to their name on a DB, write a welcome "joe/jane" script and drop the cookies, build in the "upsell(s)" ( works for godaddy ;-)..add an "opt in" mailing list for "special privileged customer notifications"..or "send a gift to a friend for anniversaries, xmas etc .."using your discounts or points"..

The ingredients in the recipe change, depending on the customer and the product or service..but the "upsell cake" is the same..people eat it up..just make them feel "special" and that "they are getting your personal attention"..

"Freebies" work too ;))...Google, and others of us, know this very well, and have done so for years before Larry and Sergey were born..


 7:30 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'd say it depends a little on the products you are selling. If people spend up to $5000 in your shop while on vacation because they say: Look how cheap he is, his goods are so cheap I'll buy in bulk, buy two additional suitcases to carry them home and pay the overweight of my baggage and still will have saved money. If this is the type of customer we are looking at then the discount card might be the way to go.

If not, then I don't think it is the right way to try to attract customers that spent $500 to $5000 while they are on vacation in your shop with discounts.

Someone who simply spends $5000 on a spontaneous purchase during vacation is probably not the kind of pearson collecting trading stamps. They probably don't need your $50. They don't need your 25% discount. That might work with the customers that spent $15 or $20.

In some niches discounts don't attract customers but even scare them of.

In this case I'd throw away the gift cards and exchange them with some kind of service cards. Something that adds additional value to their current purchase and not devalues their current purchase - like a $50 bonus card.

When people are not buying because you are cheaper than at home, but because they are in vacation spirit and want to reward themselves with an expensive purchase, then there is nothing better to destroy that spirit than a discount card that says: Buy online next time and everything will be 50% off!

In this case your card or whatever you give them must be something that transfers that holiday feeling into their everyday life. Maybe something that works as a holiday souvenir, some kind of additional service card and promotion for your online shop all three in one item.


 8:36 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

We sell luxury items that are very small, and (can be) very valuable. Most customers are here on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

I do worry about eroding perceived value by offering steep discounts, especially when we don't offer steep discounts in our stores.

Our average customer is over 40, skewing female, with quite a bit of discretionary spending money.


 9:07 pm on Jul 31, 2012 (gmt 0)

I am in a niche with similar customers - customers paying up to $400 EUR for luxury items where you can get the non luxury equivalent for $10 at the local drugstore.

In my experience, the last thing this type of customer is looking for is discounts. They usually not only pay for the item but also for the feeling to have bought something valuable and special.

Perhaps instad of giving them a discount card you could give them a card with a "secret" code number they can use to access a part of your online shop with offers reserved for special customers or something like this. Or with special services. Or additional information about the items you sell. Depends on the items your selling.


 9:19 am on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

special services

- free insured shipping
- Lifetime membership of Widgetloversclub with news and information like jesac just mentioned above


 3:19 pm on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

In this case... if people are spending that amount of money, a discount probably won't mean a thing to the masses. I would focus on ways you can constantly communicate with them in email or mailout flyers via snail mail.

- Email Marketing (require an email at time of purchase, even if 50% refuse, the other 50% WILL give you their address) Go right into your mailing list tool and enter them, incentivise them to opt in with your $50 gift card.

- Flyers - Hand every buyer a customer info card... and ask them to fill it out! Or, simply ask them for mailing address at the time of purchase. Send out flyers twice a year pointing them to special offers on your website... it may cost a good bit, with the $500-$5000 price range, it should be worth it if your net is good.

- QR Codes to your Facebook Fanpage, twitter, etc - Let them "like you" on your front door, share items via QR codes, etc.

To summarize... marketing, marketing, marketing...

These people are not going to think about YOU again until their next vacation. YOU need to make them remember you at every chance you get, and consider every chance you get to talk or interact with people walking through your door, as your LAST chance.

My .02 cents.


 10:29 pm on Aug 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree with a percentage discount, I noticed when I do a 15% discount i get a few sales but when i do 20% i get up to 5 times more sales. The most important thing is to get them to your site at all cost because it's easier to keep an old client then it is to find a new one. :)


 5:52 am on Aug 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

when I do a 15% discount i get a few sales but when i do 20% i get up to 5 times more sales

Try to make your discounts something unique, something people think and speak about. Not just 20%, but 20.12%.


 8:39 am on Aug 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Try to make your discounts something unique, something people think and speak about. Not just 20%, but 20.12%.

Yes, and he could also rename his shop. Something like "Honest Joes luxury items. 50% on everything! We are crazy and we now it! Buy two diamond rings, get one for free! Get a free Rolex with every purchase above $15000."

Sorry but you can't run a shop that sells luxury items like a 99 Cent store. Not as B&M and not online.


 11:34 pm on Aug 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, there's a thin line in luxury goods where you want to motivate buyers without devaluing your product.

Why do you return to the same luxury purveyors... or do you?

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