discountmongersLook at all the options consumers have to obtain discounts. The Internet is a mecca of coupon codes, discount alerts, wholesalers, and Groupons at the ready for savvy shoppers. We have trained consumers to get discounts so well that some of them will never buy full price items. This is an age that caters to the thrifty, which is advantageous in many respects. For retailers, however, it can kill business. How do you appeal to the discount shopper when you want him or her to pay full price?

The secret lies in the same principle in the story about Target predicting a teen’s pregnancy. Remember this? A Minnesota man stormed into a Target, mailer in hand, demanding to speak with a manager. The mailer was addressed to his teenage daughter and was rife with coupons for baby supplies. The man angrily accused the company of trying to encourage his high schooler to get pregnant. The manager was dumbfounded and apologized. A few days later, the embarrassed manager called to apologize again. However, this time the father did the apologizing. He found out his daughter was, indeed, expecting.

Target is able to store histories for customers, tied to credit cards, names, or email addresses. When someone buys a lot of unscented lotion and stockpiles certain supplements, the store’s data system flags her as likely pregnant. It then creates coupons to get her buying baby items early in her pregnancy, making her more likely to stick with Target throughout her pregnancy.

This doesn’t mean that you need to data mine so thoroughly that you can predict a due date based on the purchase of lotion. The secret here is personalization. Tune into the way your customers shop, and strategically feature items that appeal to them.

If you have some tracking capabilities for your email lists, you can do this electronically. For example, if you have subscribers who buy organic, you would want to send them discounts on healthy products. At the top of the email, you could also feature a “best value” or “highest rated” juicer. If the first thing a person sees is an item that fits her personal style, she is more likely to buy it – even at full price. In fact, many discount shoppers feel free to splurge once in a while because they consistently save so much money. Just get the personalized items at the top so they’re the first things the consumer sees.

You can do this in the store, too. Let’s say you’re discounting cat food. Do you know what cat owners love about their pets? Cats are low maintenance. You could put a display near the food called “Time Savers” and put everything from self-cleaning litter boxes to self-dispensing food units to Roombas on that shelf. You could also call that display “Cat Sitters” or “Vacation Helpers.”

Personalizing comes down to strategic display signs and properly placed featured items. After discounts, convenience is the best reason to buy, so make it easy for your customers to purchase the full-priced items.

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