Secret Online Discount Codes Target “Select” Customers
By Bernice Hurst, Managing Director, Fine Food Network
Retailers know how much customers appreciate a bargain and use a wide variety of means to offer discounts. Some find subtle ways to reach consumers who would like to feel special but may not yet be their customers.
In another twist out of cyberspace, discounts as high as 20 percent at some of the biggest retailers are accessible “simply by typing in codes that can be found on internet forums and specialist sites,” according to The Guardian. Some retailers themselves use websites devoted to circulating codes that access discounts, planting them carefully for consumers to find and wield in triumph.
Guardian Money revealed some of the most valuable codes along with a warning that they “can expire quickly” and advise that bargain-hunters should “keep a constant eye out for new discounts.”
Nick Beeny, founder of sendmediscounts.co.uk, which lists only codes sent by retailers, says stores increasingly see discount codes as an extension of their marketing activity without having to provide discounts to everybody.
“They don’t want to have a general sale for everyone – they want to keep the mystique of a secret sale,” he says. “Through us they know they are reaching dedicated shoppers.”
But he also notes that some retailers object to sharing and points to one who withdrew a discount after realizing an offer intended for a small number of customers had been picked up online and used by thousands.
Myvouchercodes.co.uk lists codes sent by stores alongside those sent in by consumers. Owner Mark Pearson believes it’s a clever marketing method that gets other people doing their work for them, spending far less than they would on a more traditional campaign. It also means that only determined shoppers get the bargains, cutting out those who haven’t been looking to save money and are willing to pay full price. Mr. Pearson is one of those who believes in rewarding shoppers’ efforts.
“If you have the code, you feel like you have earned it – you feel special. And feeling like you are getting one over on a big store may just encourage you to spend more.”
Discussion questions: What do you think of the marketing and traffic-driving potential of secret online discount codes? Is the excitement of finding a discount code likely to increase customer spend?