BrainTrust Query: Extra Tagging – Smart Marketing or Not?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail Doc blog.
Deal-mania is everywhere, from the freakish examples of Extreme Couponers on TV to the daily deals and, the old standard, the Sunday paper inserts. But the extent became clear to me while strolling through my local Rite Aid.
In every aisle I saw coupons taped to the front of many products. It didn’t matter if the product was on a shelf, hanging from a pegboard or stacked on an end-cap.
These little white slips with $2.00 and $1.00 off became the focus of anyone looking to buy almost any product in the store. The products themselves disappeared behind the paper. Which meant we noticed only the ‘deal’; then our eyes glazed over and we moved on. The coupons had no meaning; they were a distraction. If every item could be discounted, the coupons were no longer sale attractors but obstacles in the way of finding what you came in for. That was in New York.
In a similar twist, when I walked into a Safeway in Portland, OR a few days later, they had an additional yellow tag on nearly every product on the shelf. Some were sales tags, some were “new low price” tags, some were “reduced for quick sale” tags and some were club price tags.
Rite Aide’s and Safeway’s extreme tagging strategies made their stores look cheap — and not in a good way. It’s like a panicked marketer said: “Tag as many as possible to raise sales.”
Does anyone give a damn if something is now eighty cents cheaper than it used to be? When a customer needs a niche product, it doesn’t matter what the price is or was; customers aren’t waiting. So who thinks this will positively alter customer behavior? Panicked store marketers.
And these are the same marketing people who are bound to bring panic couponing to customers’ smartphones.
If we become numb to you, annoyed or irritated; if we feel shopping is a chore where not only do we have to take the time to go up and down the aisle, but we also have to navigate through all the “deals”, we’ll go elsewhere where we’re treated like humans, not like rats looking for the cheese.
And because we’re not angry, just frustrated, we won’t call and tell you, we’ll just avoid you. Which of course means you’ll think it’s because you didn’t provide enough deals.
Discussion Questions: Have shelf tags become a nuisance? What effect are tags having on the shopping experience?