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Why offering early discounts can benefit all

Some people leave Christmas prep until the last minute. However, encouraging customers to get organised for the festive season early can have surprising benefits for everyone.

Do you suffer from the last-minute shopping rush?

Some people leave everything until the last minute. On Christmas Eve the shops are filled with buyers, desperate to get everything for Christmas. Often they will buy anything and everything in their haste to try and make Christmas memorable, despite their lack of planning.

In theory this should be good news for retailers. They see plenty of sales. And everything is sold at full retail price.

Actually, the last-minute shopping rush gives retailers a big problem

They have to be geared up to deal with a large number of shoppers just before closing for the holidays. They must guess how much stock they should carry. Christmas branded items are not going to sell after Christmas Eve so there’s a big risk of having to write off some stock.

Customers don’t have a good time either. They are stressed because they have run out of time. They may not be able to find what they want. And the customer experience is worse than normal with all the crowds and queues.

That’s why retailers incentivise customers to shop early

You won’t get any bargains on Christmas Eve, but you often will in October. Running the right offers earlier in the run up to Christmas avoids many stock issues. It also avoids having to manage so many customers in the final days.

The printing industry should follow a similar strategy

The last thing that resellers want is to let customers down. However, in the run up to Christmas there can be capacity problems in the printing industry. This year paper may also be at a premium.

In addition, most print sellers want to manage their workload. They would prefer to avoid having too many last-minute jobs in the run up to Christmas. That is the sort of situation that can lead to costly mistakes when handling jobs.

That’s why incentives are so important

Companies that encourage customers to buy early have a much better chance of managing capacity and scheduling issues. They are also likely to be able to manage their workload in a more controlled way.

We have already written about educating your customers on the importance of planning early for Christmas. However, some customers will have the best of intentions of planning early but become caught up in day-to-day business issues. They will need an extra push to start their Christmas planning now. A time limited incentive can be exactly what they need to encourage them to make a timely decision and place a print order in good time.

What are the best incentives at this time of year?

This is often a busy time of year for the printing industry. So offering reduced prices is not necessarily a good idea unless you can obtain improved pricing from your suppliers.

Instead, try offering a value-added incentive. This is where the perceived value of the offer is more than the cost to you. For instance, you could offer a set of free Christmas stickers with an early order of Christmas cards. The cost of production to you is minimal, but the perceived value to your customer is much higher. Alternatively, you can offer a cost-free upgrade such as a faster turnround time.

You can also use an incentive to promote a new or existing service to your buyers. For instance, if you have started to offer WTTB’s new Canva design service, this could be the ideal opportunity to spread the word. Consider offering an introductory design price as long as a client places a Christmas order before the end of October. You win more Christmas work at a sensible time. The client gets to try out a new service and spends more with you as a result. If all goes well, they may also become a regular design client.

There’s another advantage to incentivising customers to act early

This gives you more of a chance to plan your own Christmas at a sensible time. There will be no need for you to be part of the Christmas Eve rush!

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