Beware the vapid price trap

Your recent article ’Promo junkies become hooked on a quick fix’ (MW 21 October), points to the uncomfortable truth that many brands and retailers are having to face up to. The pursuit of the adrenalin shot that price-based promotions can give has left many with an image hangover, and a sense of their brand values being at best diluted, or at worst damaged.

Legoland is probably the prime contemporary example of this; I would never consider going to the theme park for full price as there are so many offers and special deals available. Similarly, walk into any supermarket and you’ll see a number of brands that are almost permanently on BOGOF. Rachel’s Organic Yoghurt and Cravendale Milk are two high-profile examples.

But there is also a darker side to this. Price-based promotions such as BOGOFs are encouraging people to buy more and at the same time to waste more. And in today’s social responsible society, where we are already wasting upwards of 8 million tonnes of food a year, surely there is no place for brands that behave like this.

There are alternatives. For example, buy one get a voucher for a second one. This reduces the propensity for waste, but also saves money as brands don’t need to bargain with retailers to get the extra shelf space required to accommodate the increased stock level.

On top of this, it can present them with a powerful data capture opportunity.

Brands and retailers need to find a way to get off the price-based merry-go-round, or they will find themselves facing the very real possibility of not being able to sell at full margins again.

Becky Munday
Chief executive

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