Using discounts to attract customers, or at least boost sales in the short term, is probably one of the oldest tricks in any marketer’s book. It's such an easy and obvious tactic that anyone should be able to use it to boost revenue in a heartbeat… right?
That's mostly true, but there is a problem with the "sale pricing" system that a lot of companies are discovering in the digital age – namely, that if you have sales too often, customers will stop buying at times when you aren't having a sale. In other words, buyers quickly learn that there's no reason to pay full price if they know another discount is right around the corner.
You see this frequently when businesses start inventing holidays as an excuse to discount their prices, or when a certain "last-chance" offer comes around again and again. In those situations, there is no reason for a potential buyer to pay any attention. After all, even if they don't buy now, another discount or occasion is sure to be right around the corner. The last chances never seem to end.
How do you avoid this kind of problem in your own business? The easiest way is to simply schedule your sales and discounts well in advance, and to make sure that you aren't having more than a few a year. Additionally, you should ensure that when you make a "last-chance" offer to customers, it's really the genuine article.
Discounts might be good for boosting sales, but they can also kill your long-term profitability if you don't think carefully about when, how, and why you discount. Keep that in mind before your sale prices become permanent.