Retail advertising is the poor cousin of marketing – and for good reason: most of the time it is bereft of good ideas, breaks the most basic tenets of good marketing and to top it all, is executed poorly. At the risk of offending someone important; I will defy any reader to distinguish between Harvey Norman and Domayne advertising (for instance – many more examples) if you removed the logo from the ad.
Retail advertising is mostly about selling the price. That is of course ridiculous. It should be about selling the offer.
What is the offer?
Offer = Product + Price.
Retail advertising is about communicating the offer (effectively) to your target market.
In order to understand good retail advertising, we need to understand a few basic aspect of (good) marketing:
- What role does price play?
- The fundamentals of picking the price to advertise.
- What is the product? (And is not what you think.)
- How does the customer make the purchase decision?
- How do you persuade them that your offer is the best?
- How do you get that message across?
- Who do you get it across to?
As a starting point, let’s quickly look at the role of ‘PRICE’ in advertising. (As in dollars – not me.)
Should the emphasis always be on price? When should the emphasis be on price?
Not counting specific, strategic clearances at very specific times, the only retailer that should be advertising price… is the price leader. There can only be one, and you should think carefully about whether it is you – or indeed whether you want to be the price leader. (There are a few exceptions: supermarkets and ‘grudge purchases’ for instance) but this piece is about specialty retailers who always resort to price.)
I will give you one piece of proof – and it is that bad that I won’t name & shame the retailers. One is a leading jewellery retailer who routinely advertises Gold Earrings for $1. I am yet to see a line queuing up for that particular bargain. A fashion retailer regularly advertises tops for $1.99 (everything must go) and it is not Lowes or Big W. And rarely do I see more customers in that store than the full-price store right next door.
Cheap prices are the easy way – not necessarily the right way.
From a consumer psychology perspective, pricing ‘at the market’ is all that is required. (People don’t necessarily want the cheapest; they just don’t want to feel ripped off.)
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