Our perception of value can be modified with bonuses rewards and discounts.

While avarice and greed have negative connotations the concept of getting a good deal is hardwired. We love bonuses, rewards, and discounts.  We love to feel we got great value for our investment.

The value doesn’t even have to be ours

My sister has physical dexterity issues, so when she mentioned she needed a new camera, I jumped to help her find something suitable. 

I remembered the challenges I’d found with the small profile digital cameras.  It can be hard to get crystal clear photos.  Stability issues. 

I started researching the best cameras for unsteady hands.  Something a bit bigger but not too bulky.  I found a useful website and emailed her the information.

“Thanks for the help!” Came the reply.

There’s a Walmart near her and I knew it would be easy access if she had any problems. I went online and checked their offerings. 

I knew she needed stability, the ability to easily transfer them to her computer, and maybe a bit of a zoom lens. The website I found had also suggested a larger view screen over a viewfinder for people who wear glasses.

I found a little Kodak PIXPRO FZ152. The price was reasonable for her budget, just $82, marked down from $149.95. Forty-one reviewers and a good rating. 

So I shared the link with her via email.  I did suggest she purchase an SD card to go with it.

A little while later, she messaged me, “Hi, Judi, I just ordered Kodak FZ53 digital camera!. It’s red!  It comes with a carry case and an extra memory card for just $100 with free shipping!”

I could hear her excitement so I shot an email back, “Congratulations!!  Have fun with it.”

Then I realized the number was different.  I looked it up. The camera she ordered is smaller, flat, and would be harder for her to hold. The FZ53 was available solo or in a bundle.  Gena had gone with the bundle. 

Then I noticed there was only 1 review and it had 1 star.

My heart sank.  I clicked to read the review, “Not worth buying. does not come with entire bundle. camera quality sucks.”

Sis had gone for the “good deal” but may turn out to be a bad purchase.  Thank goodness Walmart has a generous return policy.

Positive value building

As a business owner, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to sort through offerings. As a digital marketing specialist, I work with clients to make sure their offers are buyer-friendly. 

At the same time that we make the client feel good about their purchase, we make sure the company will feel good about the sale.

It’s about finding the right balance for both the seller and the buyer to have a positive experience.

Secret

One thing I see a lot of marketers miss…not all customers respond to the same type of offer. If you are always focused on creating value one way, you may be missing sale opportunities.  You are also training your customers on what to expect.  

Mattresses and furniture are a case in point. Stores that sell mattresses and or furniture are always having sales. We’re talking deep discount, fire sales. Clearance sales. Going out of business sales.  

People know this and when there isn’t a sale…they generally wait.  Sometimes they wait long enough to get a sale and free delivery.

3 Value Techniques

With the current social situation, more people are wanting to purchase from companies that support change and inclusion. Expect Gen Z to be strong on this issue.

Some people like to buy products because they feel good about the company’s story.

Others buy because of company philanthropy or involvement in the community. 

Millennials look for environmentally friendly products. They want to “make a difference” with their decisions and their purchases. They will pay more to do that.

Discounts

In the CBD niche, online sellers typically offer discounts. Does that mean it’s the best method?  Not necessarily as we can see from the furniture stores. 

There was a woman who ran a small boutique in the southwest.  She had ordered some turquoise jewelry and it hadn’t sold well.  Headed off on vacation she had an afterthought and messaged her assistant to mark it down to half-off.

When she returned a huge amount of the jewelry was gone, but there was no sale sign.  She picked up a bracelet and noticed the price was twice the original price. Her assistant misunderstood and instead of marking it down, doubled it.

People bought more because they perceived if it was this expensive, it had to be quality.  

When there were only a few pieces left and the season was nearly over, she left the altered price tags on and put up a sale sign of 50% Off until Friday. 

Those last pieces were gone quickly. Value and urgency combined.

If something looks good but the price is too low…they wonder what is wrong.  I’m not advocating you raise all your prices. I am advocating that you take a good look at the pricing, your target market, and the value balance. 

Bonuses

In numerous studies bonuses outperformed discounts.  While discounts are price reduction determined by the company. A bonus is something the customer earns.

A bonus might be based on a quantity purchased.  This happens routinely with some alternative health supplements. Especially, those sold via long-form sales letters.  

Invariably, while you can order one, the price keeps getting better if you order more. Often the sweet spot will be at least three or four of the same item.

There are also the buy one item at the regular price and get a second item for a reduced price. Women’s retail often does this.

A third bonus type is based on dollars spent.  The amount of the bonus goes up every time you exceed a threshold.  Spend over $50, save 10%. Raise that to spend over $100, save 15%. And the big one…spend over $200 save 25%.  People reach for it like the gold ring on a merry-go-round.

Rewards programs

Most of us have at least a fist full of rewards or loyalty program memberships.  Amazon Prime, Airline miles, credit cards that reward you spendable points, Costco rebates.  The list is nearly endless.

However, not all get used equally.  Over half barely get used at all. Here are some that have been used very effectively.

Points programs where you earn based on dollars spent.  My local nursery has this and the rewards points convert to a discount on future purchases. I recently got a plant free.

Amazon Prime is an example of a paid membership program.  You pay your monthly/annual fee and get free fast shipping and other bonuses.

Sephora and Victoria’s Secret use a tiered community program.  Your status is determined by how much you spend. The more you have spent in a calendar year, the higher your bonus and the number of perks you receive. 

Nike rewards buyers based on a fitness achievement like running a 5K with badges and discounts.

There are many variations of rewards programs. The key is finding something that matches your specific business model and philosophy and your target customer.

All good rewards programs enhance customer loyalty and long term value. It’s a project well worth pursuing.

When I work with clients

My goal is to help them add new clients.  At the same time, we focus on bonuses and rewards to retain existing clients. It’s far easier, and less expensive, to keep a customer than to replace them.

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