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Why I never ever do discounts. Like, ever.

Why I never ever do discounts. Like, ever.

Let’s talk about why you should never ever ever, do discounts... together.

(Points to you if you sang that in your head like a Taylor Swift song. You’re awesome.)

 

I decided a while ago that I would NEVER have sales (and by sales I mean coupon codes, discounts, mark down sales) in my Etsy store. And here’s the big reason why…

I’m a cheapskate. A sales junkie. I’ll hunt down coupon codes to get the best bargain.

(SIDE NOTE: There’s a really cool browser add-on called Honey which automatically searches for coupon codes for you. It’s free and AMAZING. I just love it and every online shopper can benefit from this.)

I say this because I want to explain that I understand the consumer brain. If I see a store do a sale even ONCE, I will always put off buying something from them when there’s not a sale on because there could *maybe* be another sale coming up.

I really, really, hate when I buy something and then there's a sale the NEXT WEEK.

 

I want my customers to know that;

  1. My prices are already fair. I don’t discount them, because I’m already cutting my profit margin close enough. I want to keep my products affordable for them while still making enough to keep the lights on. I’m not jacking up prices to be greedy and can therefore afford to give them 20% every other week.
     

  2. My products are valuable. Discounting them immediately makes things feel a bit “cheaper”… And my wares are legit great. A lot of effort goes into the design and manufacturing of them. You’re getting your money’s worth when you pay full price.

“But how do I get people into my store without a discount?” I hear you cry.

The key is to build relationships and trust. You do this by adding value to their experience in other ways. 

FOR EXAMPLE… I give away a free printable every month that’s not available in my store.

I also include a bonus sticker and hand written note with larger orders. My business cards are super pretty and can double as mini bookmarks.

I regularly provide valuable content on my blog and interact with my followers on Instagram (they are the loveliest bunch of people. I really like my little corner of the internet.)

Some of the best value adds I’ve seen are stores which do a deal… Buy 5 items, get the 6th free. I might have only clicked through to buy 2 things, but now I’ve seen that epic deal you can bet I’m going to check the entire store to see if I want enough things to get that offer!

In my experience, discount codes rarely make a dent in long term traffic, anyway.

They attract the bargain-hunting vultures of the internet (present!) who are probably not your ideal customer. You want to be attracting people who LOVE what you do. Those people don't try to get your stuff for rock-bottom prices because they value your work and understand you have to make a living!

I’ve discovered a tactic that makes a much bigger impact.

Once a year, on my biz birthday (which also happens to be MY birthday), I do a huge giveaway.

I gather $100+ of merchandise and open it up to my Instagram followers. Last year I gained several hundred followers (and saw a lot of excitement from my existing people!)

There’s always a bit of a drop off afterwards (people who followed me purely for the giveaway who leave after), but I’ve found I usually retain 50 – 80% of them. Those are pretty exceptional stats.

Ultimately, here are the two biggest reasons you shouldn't do discounts...

 

YOU NEED TO MAKE MONEY.

Sacrificing your profits just to get more orders is NOT a sustainable business strategy. I don't care if you're still waiting on your first Etsy sale or have your own web store. Do not undervalue your work.

 

EVERYONE ELSE NEEDS TO MAKE MONEY.

Seriously. When you do a crazy sale and sell your items way too cheap, it ruins the market for all the other sellers. You devalue your entire industry. This is exactly why people expect to pay $20 for logos when designers should really be charging a minimum of $300 (and that's a freelance JUNIOR designer... Most experienced ones I know expect $1k minimum).

 

To recap (if you scrolled to the end - no judgement), here are better ideas than a having coupon code / sale:

  • Provide a freebie (like my monthly printable)

  • Do a clever offer (like buy 3 get one free)

  • Give a little extra in the packaging (like a hand written note, bookmark, badge)

  • Do a giveaway (but not too often – I do one annually)

Kit Cronk is a freelance graphic designer and letterer.
Her retail line is full of funny cards, cute stationery, and inspirational quotes.  
When this Brisbane girl isn’t working, you can usually find her watching re-runs of 90’s sitcoms or reading another fantasy novel with iced mocha in hand.  
Follow Kit’s work on Instagram!