When Groupon started I used it quite a bit.
A common sense concept at its core I think.
A neat way to get to a big audience quickly so you can tempt them with a killer offer and – when you have their attention – wow them!
Except, that’s not my experience.
The Groupon Effect.
Discounting is only relevant to certain types of business. That’s a given.
But if you are a business where discounting is an acceptable part of your business strategy, beware of doing things backwards.
Basically, in my Groupon days I was mostly treated like crap.
Eeew. You’re a Groupon customer…
I experienced (or at least imagined I experienced) smaller portions, longer wait times, poorer service, grumpier faces, less personal interfacing (he’s just a Groupon customer…), bits missing and unadventurous thinking.
Why? Because most businesses are stupid.
They’re doing things backwards.
Think Long Term.
If you’re discounting, this is by definition a long term strategy.
Because you are sacrificing profit and if you do that you must recoup it somewhere along the line.
So if you’re getting me to your hotel and I am, on that occasion, a Groupon guy… make me feel like a king!
Give me bigger portions, shorter wait times, better service, happier faces, more personal interfacing, add-ons and adventurous thinking.
Because the only reason you want me there as a discounter, is to turn me into a loyal fan.
Think short term if you like. Give me a smaller steak and fewer chips to save you a bit of money.
But I won’t come back.
Just this month a really great magazine gave me the opportunity to be featured in their wonderful publication for free.
But when I asked to proof the copy and take a look at the context in which the content was positioned they said, nah, we only do that for paying customers.
I don’t know why this magazine wants to teach me what it is like to be a non-paying customer.
I wanted them to teach me what it’s like to be an important, valued paying customer.
So I could be so blown away that I decide to become one.
I always prefer long-term relationships to short-term ones, so I am there for the taking.
At one of my other businesses, Always Wear Red, we never discount and we never will. But we do occasionally gift pieces.
So yes, that’s as deep as you can go.
Clearly if I want to minimise the short term loss, I place one of the world’s finest cashmere scarves in a carrier bag. Because that saves me money and time on the packaging, the high-end point of sale materials and the time it takes to assemble and hand label and attach and trim ribbon…
But of course I don’t do that.
I do the opposite.
Because, just like every paying customer I have to make you feel like a queen or king. You have to feel like you’re our only customer. You are one of the most important people in my business.
A customer isn’t just someone that pays you for something, it’s anyone that interacts with your brand.
Anyhow, all that was about is how to treat people in business.
Even when they’re getting it for free – wow them!
That’s the whole point.
And anyway, you don’t want to do anything at all unless you do it superbly well, do you?
Your personal pride wouldn’t allow it.