Friday, April 17, 2015

Percent vs. dollars

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     Every business can use sales to build traffic and move goods and services. Sales can take different forms. Inventory can be marked down, dollars-off coupons can be offered, and then there is the "50% off everything" banner strung across the entrance.

     "Dollars off" and "percent off" notices attract the attention of your present clients/customers as well as people who have never done business with you. But what's the difference?

     Example: Gretchen runs an upscale shop specializing in women's clothing and accessories. From time to time she held a sale, putting much of the merchandise at 20% discount. She decided to try another approach. She put the word out that certain items would be offered at dollar discounts. Some items were $20 off, others $50 off. When she used "dollars off" as opposed to "percent off" the results were noticeably better.

     A variation of this occurs with big ticket items. New cars are frequently advertised with "$1,000 cash to buyer" at the time of sale. It draws more attention in a more positive way than offering a percentage off the price of the car. 

     Example: Gustav runs a small auto repair shop. He uses coupons to attract attention of current and future customers. Side by side, coupons offer $10 off an oil change and 10% off other auto services. His coupons appear in print (ads, flyers, postcards) and on the Internet (social media, website, emails). The $10 off coupon brings people into the shop, and the 10% off coupon brings them back. 

     Percent vs. dollars off is all about the perception created in the minds of the people you want to attract. It is next to impossible to pass by that $10 bill you see on the sidewalk--so you bend over and pick it up. Not so with percent off. 

     The next time you want to do a little promotion, try the "dollars off" method. A coupon that is worth a dollar is a coupon that is just like the dollar bill in your wallet. It's perceived as money. Either people use it themselves, or they pass it on to a friend. 

     Get creative in promoting. Use both percent and dollars off and test out the results. It might surprise you and get you onto another way to grow. 

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