Sales Fatigue

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve been getting nothing but emails about how stores are dropping prices to unbelievable levels and once-in-a-lifetime bargains.

In total I have about 300 sitting in my deleted items folder, and I’ve probably opened a total of four. So despite the spam and the rush of the shopping season and the eleventh-hour panic of online holiday ordering not too many of those deals seemed to sink in. (And funny enough, I had two more post-holiday clearance emails just fly into my inbox as I finished that sentence.)

It seems as if I’m not alone. A lot of people aren’t opening those mailers. A lot of people just unsubscribe, ban-hammer or blacklist the senders, but there’s some guilty part of me that loves seeing desperate sales copy fly through my inbox.

So how do you go from unopened spam mail to alluring offers? The answer is pretty simple—just make it worthwhile. I remember getting an email from a luxury group site that had everything on sale for $29.99 for four hours only. This has happened only once, but it’s ruined me from ever shopping there again because every time I go to buy something, I keep waiting for that email to pop up again.

Sales fatigue is sweeping a lot of people—because there’s nothing thrilling about a bargain when the bargain isn’t one. And when you don’t feel like you’re getting away with price-chopping murder the fun of it gets sucked out. So I have to chuckle when on New Year’s Eve I got a 50 percent off select items email only to turn around at 12:01 a.m. New Year’s Day to get the same email and graphic with 80 percent slapped over the 50.

When exactly are we supposed to finally shop? It’s an exhausting feeling, I know, because businesses are treating sales like a countdown. What’s the point of shopping now when you know strategically they’re going to reduce sales even further in a few hours? And if they don’t, then is it your fault you missed the sale or is it their fault because the sale wasn’t really worth it compared to others they have had?

A few months ago, I wrote about how the retail experience is really lacking on drawing people in, and online sales have the same problem—especially in a cramped holiday season.

As businesses fight for social space online and getting the attention of eyes and clicks, they’re forgetting one major point—making something worth clicking. I’m not suggesting that bankrupt-inducing sales need to happen. In fact, they don’t even need to be sales, it could be some really well done promotions.

Consumers are becoming jaded to “save up to,” “save at least” and anything that ends with “of the year” or “biggest ever.” They’re waiting for real deals and they know what they should be looking for. It’s partially because spending is in a humbled state, but it’s also partially because companies are throwing sales ads out every 16 hours.

Perhaps it is time for a business resolution for the New Year; when sending emails to your customers, make them worth opening—regardless of the word “sale”.

Locke Hilderbrand

Locke has grown up with an eclectic mix of travel and technology at all times. His views and ideas are inspired by the fusion of subcultures and street scenes, global travel and the internet. He is a cultural translator and scene adaptor by day, artist by night, always hunting for what's next and embracing what's now

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