Sympathetic Pricing – a New Trend PERFECT for Retailers
Growing in popularity and ripe for retailer picking, sympathetic pricing offers retailers a way to connect with their customers in an authentic manner that big box stores can’t match!
A new trend resonating with consumers is Sympathetic Pricing. We know, we hadn’t heard of it either! Sympathetic Pricing is, “flexible and imaginative discounts that help ease lifestyle pain points, lend a helping hand in difficult times, or support a shared value”. What does that mean? Offering your customers discounts based on shared moments or values—think of your local coffee shop’s early bird special for those of us unlucky enough to be out and in need of a beverage between 5-6am. Or remember McDonalds sharing water and food with rescue workers after the September 11th attack.
Why is sympathetic pricing taking off now? This stat helps bring it into perspective, according to PR firm’s COHN & WOLFE’s 2013 report just 5% of consumers in the UK and US believe big businesses are very transparent and honest. Sympathetic Pricing is a reaction to this mistrust and a part of a movement by consumers looking for more authentic shopping experiences. The good news is that, as a local retailer, you’re in a prime position to be able to offer sympathetic pricing to your customers. Here’s how.
The first tenant of sympathetic pricing is “flexible and imaginative discounts that help ease lifestyle pain points”. We saw this in action in March 2013 when, “Australia’s Noosa International Resort offered guests a 20% discount on their hotel accommodation” if it rained during their stay on Australia’s “Sunshine Coast”.
How can you use this in your store? Keep your eye out for your customer’s pain points. Is back to school a busy time of year for your mom shoppers? Can you offer a way to make their lives better? Perhaps try having a sale on those cute lunch boxes you just got in stock. Maybe you could even sell the lunch boxes stocked with non-perishable lunch items, just add a sandwich!
The second tenant of sympathetic pricing is retailers who “lend a helping hand in difficult times”. This goes back to September 11th when McDonalds offered free food and beverages to rescue workers.
How can you use this in your store? Compassionate pricing offers you, perhaps, the best way to use sympathetic pricing. Thats because know and understand your local market since you’re living in it and are uniquely positioned to help in a way big box retailers can’t. (Case in point—see the Starbucks Water Faux Pas during September 11th.) So consider offering discounts to area residents impacted by a natural disaster or joining in on a popular neighborhood cause that is important to you.
The final tenant of sympathetic pricing is to “support a shared value” or belief. This is a little different from Compassionate Pricing which focuses on a disaster or other immediate problem. Purposeful pricing is more of a long term look at helping the community or joining together for shared values. Here you want to think of pink products for breast cancer awareness in October or annual can drives around Thanksgiving for local food shelters.
How can you use this in your store? Participate! Offer your store as a drop off point for can good donations during the holidays, and give a discount to community members bringing them in. Or, on your next trip to market search for cause related merchandise and play that story up in your store.
However you decide to involve your store, sympathetic pricing is a growing trend that you are uniquely positioned to participate in. Whether through offering a discount or sale to ease your customer’s pain points, seeking to show compassion or offering purposeful pricing, this trend can help you set your retail store apart from the competition and gain you new, loyal customers.
Are you seeing success with sympathetic pricing in your store? What ideas do you have to give this concept a try? We’d’d love to hear your story in the comments below.