Smarter is as smarter does

waitroseRetailers are often confused as to what constitutes a promotion. Basically, they are seriously fixated in simply giving money away.

So let’s here it for a retailer finally looking outside of the casket.

Waitrose said the launch of its ‘Pick Your Own Offers’ promotion has helped to drive sales, with total provisional divisional sales (excl fuel) for the week ending 20th June seeing a 2.3% increase on the previous year.

The scheme offers loyalty card holders 20% off ten products of their choosing, from a list of its most popular branded and own-brand products.

Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas said: “Among the most popular choices from the list of nearly one thousand lines are essential Waitrose bathroom tissues, Waitrose British blacktail free range eggs, Waitrose cherry vine tomatoes and essential Waitrose British chicken breast fillets.

People rushed into press to denigrate this approach. A letter in the Grocer this week opined;

The actual mechanic and required commitment will turn folks off. Waitrose shoppers won’t really care because they can get 20% off their toilet paper for the next 3 months…..

Most people entirely miss the point here. The older shopper is more into theatre – and this offer gives you theatre in spades. They are also more into reading, they grew up with it, something Millennials often find hard to understand.

With a shop of £50 you could save a tenner, and have fun deciding how you actually “spent” the discount.

There are two huge advantages to Waitrose in this flexible approach to running discounts;

The first is that they will get a behavioural economics view of what really matters to their shoppers. Shoppers could choose to reduce the cost of staples, but in the knowledge that they would not necessarily save an enormous amount per purchase. OR they can reduce the cost of those little luxuries that make life right – bringing them down to nearer the everyday price. Looking at the list above you could see a mix of strategies here.

The next step might be, of course, to pick a few of those that fit into the luxury category – and offer them direct via e-mail to people keen and eager to listen. As Waitrose don’t get all the insight that Tesco receive, this is really a no-brainer for them.

The second advantage is that this approach spreads the demand burden over 1000 lines and not just a handful. This makes it easier to manage by the supply chain who ofte3n struggle in Waitrose in particular.

It’s the sort of approach that shows Waitrose understand their shoppers better than the commentators do, and certainly better than Tesco the rest.
Win Win in my book