‘Special day’ promotions can give retailers the distinction they need
A new university study finds that consumers are more likely to use discounts celebrating a “special day” — such as pizza/pie promotions or 31.4 percent discounts for Pi Day (March 14) — than for standard holidays or one-day sales events.
The research led by Lehigh University said one reason consumers may be more open to deals on special days is that traditional promotions can generate “negative thoughts” because they feel commercialized.
The more surprising finding was that consumers appeared to be rewarding retailers for their ingenuity in developing a promotional event around a unique day. Daniel Zane, a marketing professor at Lehigh, said in a statement, “They actually think about how the marketer who created the special day-themed promotion was creative in providing a way to celebrate the special day.”
Retailers and food establishments can take advantage of the appeal of special day-themed promotions by tapping the nearly 2,000 national holidays that have arrived over the years.
Among the most popular special sales days already include National Ice Cream Day (third Sunday in July), National Coffee Day (September 29) and National Taco Day (October 4). Many running stores plan events around Global Running Day (first Wednesday of June). Sales of apparel, games or toys have been pitched around Mario Day (March 10) and Star Wars Day (May 4 – “May the Fourth Be With You”).
The researchers said the promotions should be “original and appropriate.” A spa pedicure discount would fit for National Barefoot Day (June 1), but not an apparel discount on National Food Day (October 24).
Researchers said business establishments can also come up with their own special days, such as celebrating their founder’s birthday, an anniversary or the day that a company adopted its mascot dog. Lands’ End declared March 23 “National Swimsuit Day” in 2017 and has celebrated the day annually since.
Special days can be further personalized around customers’ interactions, such as the anniversary of a customer’s first purchase. The researchers said, “It is possible that consumers who receive special day-themed discounts may feel they are unique or in an exclusive subset of consumers receiving the promotion.”
- Shoppers more likely to buy on Pi Day and other “special” day-themed promotions – Phys.org
- Promoting Pi Day: Consumer Response to Special Day-Themed Sales Promotions – Journal of Consumer Psychology
- National Day Calendar
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does it make sense that special day-themed promotions are more productive for retailers than traditional holiday campaigns? Should retailers aim to hold a few special sales days every year or hold them more frequently?