Management Memos

Making Measurably More For You Since 1985

June 2019

June 2019 Always On Sale?

Could be Good For You!

A new survey by PayPal has 68% of Australian shoppers always on the lookout for a sale or discount. Unless you can live on just 32% of the market, your merchandising will have to pitch at these buyers.

Market is Price Focused

The large majority of Australian shoppers are addicted to sales, the PayPal survey shows but most retailers are falling short of meeting this shopper demand. The 2019 Trends Report, found that while most consumers are hungry for sales, just one in five retailers has at least one sale running.

Over half your shoppers choose on-line convenience

The survey also found half of Australians waited until an item was on sale before buying it online. That is significant - half of all shoppers!

If your market includes Gen Y and Gen Z, this price focus is even more acute. For Gen Y shoppers, 65% (well up on that half of all shoppers) wait until an item is on sale before buying, and then 63% of them choose on-line convenience to buy at that sale price.

For the younger Gen Z, 73% wait for a sale price, and 65% choose on-line convenience to buy at that sale price.

'We're On Sale' Can Be Sound Strategy

Running a promotional sale directly correlates with impulse purchasing behaviours PayPal found, with 58 per cent of Australians making an impulse purchase, just because something was on sale.

The study canvasses consumer behaviours, and revealed a real gap between shopper expectations and what retailers are offering. “This gap between consumers’ desire for finding a bargain, and retailers' sales activity highlights an opportunity that retailers can leverage to drive greater sales volumes and attract new customers,” said Peter Cowan, Director of Mid-Market, Small Business and Partners at PayPal Australia.

“We found that over a third of Australians (37%) have bought a brand online they wouldn’t usually buy because it was on sale, which is huge for smaller retailers wanting to build brand awareness and win new customers,” he said.

While this 'We're on sale' focus can lead to concerns that traders could permanently reduce margins and damage their long term viability - and that's a really serious concern - that need not be the case, provided it's handled properly.

Price Can Be Your Ally

Full Value Pricing Intro
Click the image for more

Running a SME is already a tough gig. There is always a pressure on margins, so traders need the highest possible price. Nothing wrong with that aspiration - higher margins, more profit, and still more growth - but, the price also has be right.

The price that gets the sale is obviously more right than the price that doesn't. That's what makes the price variable one of your most powerful business development tools. But you have to understand price. Just like electricity, it can be a powerful aid, but if you apply it wrongly, it can kill your business.

Some traders have the attitude "the price is the price, and that's the price", and that attitude comes with the gruff comment "I can't be giving stuff away!" That's a wrong use of your price setting privilege. Correspondingly, it's worth remembering that on-line trader 'Kogan' has been fined heavily by ACCC for hiking prices before discounting them in the 2018 'EOFY Sale'. That's a similar misuse of a traders pricing privilege.

But trading on a price advantage can be smarter than either of those foolish extremes.

For most SMEs, using price as your differentiator can't be a blanket "Lowest prices are just the beginning" approach, to borrow a slogan from a well known chain store. Price as the main differentiator has to be handled much more subtly by a SME.

You do need a graduated insight into how price works - both for buyer and seller - if you're going to get this right. You can see more in this earlier edition, or click here to arrange a phone call to talk through your concerns - no selling, no obligation, of course!

Pricing isn't simple. One client found several tens of thousands of dollars in extra profit, just by taking advice on pricing. Now that seems an idea worth investigating!

If You Are 'On-Sale', Then Make Sales Happen

Shoppers buying at a sale prefer shopping on-line rather than in-store - at least 57% of them do - but half of them actually do their sale shopping in-store.

“If you’re on sale - you’ve got to be online and mobile-optimised, particularly if you’re targeting youth markets, where the majority do their online sale shopping via mobile,” said PayPal's Cowan.

If you are on-sale, you'll have to do new things to make these sales actually happen, and you'll have to do these new things well.

  • Make sure your web site advertises the sale
  • Make sure your promo sale is available on your web shop, and really promoted
  • Send out social, email, and SMS messages, all promoting your sale on shoppers' mobiles
  • Store displays, press, radio, & TV must all offer the same specials as your on-line ads
  • Spruik the same deals everywhere
  • Be clear and consistent on the date and time windows for your sale


Face Less Competition
by having your promotional sale at a different time.

Taking all these things together, it means:

Remember that over two thirds of Australian shoppers are on the lookout for a sale or discount - and these shoppers offer you potential to create new customers

You can offer really attractive prices - and make more money, if you have a deep understanding of the price mechanism as it affects both buyers and sellers

You can harness the power of pricing with some training, help, or really good price tools

Half or more of your shoppers want to buy on-line - so if your sale is not accessible on-line, you have just cut your potential in half

Make sure your print and electronic messages are the same, and that your email, web, and social marketing all sing the same song.


Help is readily available. Some of it is free, some of it is chargeable. Call us now, and discuss how this important and powerful topic affects your business.

We can help you explore the challenges you face, and the opportunities they represent.

Let's discuss it on a phone call. After that, you can just hang up - if that's what you'd like to do. NSA!

Phone us (see the numbers below) or use the contact form here to get help. Absolutely obligation free.


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Any advice, information or comment contained in this document is general in nature, and should not be relied on as the basis for any specific commercial, business, employment, or financial decision. Specific advice should always be obtained for each individual circumstance. Accordingly any advice, information or comment contained herein is for general guidance only.