lady with moneyRetail has always had catchy slogans to help train the masses of employees and customers they try to get to buy stuff.  I’m thinking:

  • “The Customer is Always Right”
  • “We sell for less”
  • “Where’s the beef?”

Well, I’m here to inform you that there’s a new strategy out there.  It must be due to the recent recession, so I’m calling it Recession Strategy 09 or RS09 for short.  It appears to be: “We pay you to shop here!”

Three examples from this past weekend:

We went to Cinemark to see the new Harry Potter movie on Thursday.  We had just come from dinner, so no appetite for popcorn or drinks… we just sat down to enjoy the 30 minutes of previews before the show.  As the exposition was just coming to an end and the train was on its way to Hogwarts, the power in the entire cineplex went out.

We waited patiently for about 15 minutes, but when we caught wind that a transformer had blown, we decided to get our money back and leave.  I will give Cinemark credit… they tried to push what was best for them on us first… they were pushing the “rain check” option.  My dad explained that they were from out of town and wouldn’t be visiting a Cinemark anytime soon.  The girl emerged from the out-of-order box office with $50 cash – $5 more than what we paid for the tickets!  We got paid $5 for sitting through the previews and first half-hour of Harry Potter!

A2 and I went to DSW Shoes on Saturday to return a pair of shoes she didn’t want.  We had also received a coupon in the mail (rewards for buying the last pair of shoes), so we took that coupon in to shop as well.  A2 bought a new pair of shoes, returned the old pair, and used the $10 coupon.  Net cost +$8.  Seriously… they paid us $8 to carry that pair of shoes out of their store!

Later that day we went to Target.  A new Super Target has recently opened near us, and we have gotten several coupons in the mail as promotions for the grand opening.  We took one of the $5 coupons with us to shop.  When we went to check out, I place the coupon on the check-writing shelf, but the checker forgot to scan it before applying the total to my debit card.  Rather than handing the coupon back to me, she simply scanned it as a new transaction and took a crisp $5 bill from the register and handed it to me.  I felt $5 richer!

Is this a coincidence, or is there some kind of market research which says that leaving an establishment with cash in your hands is a great loyalty winner?  I’m not talking about discounts, I’m talking about taking cash out of the till and putting it in your hot little hand — making literal the old car salesman’s “Cash Back” slogan.

I’ve never understood retail, but I do have a sense that retail is absolutely bonkers.  How many convoluted ways can you get consumers out there to spend money?  Where else is brand popularity worth more than profits?

Only in retail is being #1 is more important than making money!

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4 Responses to New Retail Strategy

  1. i need to shop with you.

  2. Debora says:

    Does this mean I need to hand out more cash at my store? I don’t think my accountant will go for that! 🙂

  3. Special K says:

    Me thinkest the cinemark girl doth flunk her math tests…

  4. Rhia Jean says:

    Just wait, next you’ll be spending your Sunday evenings going through the newspaper clipping
    coupons.

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