Alternative strategies to discounting

How to avoid a race to the bottom


I hope your week is off to a good start.

For those of you in New Zealand, I hope you have something nice planned for Matariki this Friday.

I know a lot of businesses are doing it tough at the moment – peaks and troughs, it’s the way the world works. And while it’s easy to get sucked into the rhetoric of economic doom and gloom, the brands that prevail are those that adapt.

Today, I want to offer some strategies to boost sales (even when it feels like it’s an uphill battle) and drive ongoing loyalty, which every brand needs to weather the proverbial storm.

Here’s what’s on the agenda:

🛍️ 8 ways to boost sales without discounting
🤝 Loyalty is a long game


8 ways to boost sales without discounting

In this current climate, it feels like every day brings another sale. And I get it. You’ve got stock to move and employees to pay – you do what you have to do to keep the lights on. But getting involved in a price war is one of the most expensive ways to gain customers.

Earlier this year, I wrote a newsletter about the psychological effects of discounting – you can revisit that here. But in the meantime, I thought I’d offer 8 alternative strategies to get customers’ attention and drive conversion, that don’t require a race to the bottom.

1. Focus on value – not price
Motivate your customers through their pain points and desired outcomes. If you’re selling workwear, don’t compete on price against cheaper products in the market, instead highlight what value it will bring to your customer’s life – confidence, professionalism – you get the idea.

2. Offer bundles and packages
Bundles provide more value for money and get more products into customers' hands. When people are watching their spending, they look for better deals – create a compelling offer and you may generate higher cart values.

Hyoumankind upsells site visitors a travel bag add-on

3. Reward loyalty
Loyalty programmes don’t have to be all about discounts; offer experiences instead. Get creative. A kitchenware company could host an exclusive online cooking tutorial, increasing engagement, reducing churn, and encouraging referrals.

4. Leverage social proof
Reviews, user-generated content, and expert testimonials can significantly increase the demand for your products. Highlighting real people’s appreciation for your range builds trust and credibility amongst new customers.

UGC is a key element of Glossier’s marketing strategy

5. Highlight your values
Focus on what makes your brand and products great rather than what your competitors are doing. Emphasise your brand’s unique story or initiatives to attract customers who share your values.

6. Educate your audience
Invest in content that teaches your audience about your product. A brand that sells plants might create educational videos about plant care. This makes customers more confident in their ability to care for their plants and more likely to make repeat purchases from a brand that supports them.

Patch Plants in the UK created a bank of educational content

7. Focus on customer experience
Exceptional service justifies a premium price. Provide top-notch support and answer queries promptly to build a loyal customer base that values the ease of doing business with you.

8. Leverage scarcity and urgency
Limited-time offers or limited quantities gives people FOMO. A jewellery brand, for instance, could release limited-edition pieces each month, creating buzz and driving demand.


Loyalty is a long game

Promoting loyalty and advocacy is important to every business – it’s how you generate repeat purchases and word-of-mouth. Building a good reputation is multi-faceted and something that requires ongoing effort – but I’ve listed some quick wins below that can make a big impact.

Communicate regularly
Fostering connections with your customers is key to ensuring that when they’re spending, you’re their first choice.

  • Send personalised emails

  • Engage on social media

  • Post on social and your blog regularly

  • Respond to comments and queries online

Follow up post-purchase
When you convert a customer, it’s important to create a positive experience to leave a lasting impression.

  • Send thank-you emails

  • Confirm orders promptly

  • Request feedback

  • Offer incentives for reviews

Handle returns gracefully
Returns aren’t ideal but if you handle them well, the customer will likely come back and complete a purchase. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

  • Simplify return policies

  • Provide pre-paid labels

  • Communicate transparently

  • Process returns quickly


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Thanks for reading!

Until next time.

Alex Murton
Managing Director & Co-Founder
Studio Almond