A new university study finds that consumers are more likely to use discounts celebrating a “special day” — such as pizza/pie promotions or 31.4 percent discounts for Pi Day (March 14) — than for standard holidays or one-day sales events.
The research led by Lehigh University said one reason consumers may be more open to deals on special days is that traditional promotions can generate “negative thoughts” because they feel commercialized.
The more surprising finding was that consumers appeared to be rewarding retailers for their ingenuity in developing a promotional event around a unique day. Daniel Zane, a marketing professor at Lehigh, said in a statement, “They actually think about how the marketer who created the special day-themed promotion was creative in providing a way to celebrate the special day.”
Retailers and food establishments can take advantage of the appeal of special day-themed promotions by tapping the nearly 2,000 national holidays that have arrived over the years.
Among the most popular special sales days already include National Ice Cream Day (third Sunday in July), National Coffee Day (September 29) and National Taco Day (October 4). Many running stores plan events around Global Running Day (first Wednesday of June). Sales of apparel, games or toys have been pitched around Mario Day (March 10) and Star Wars Day (May 4 – “May the Fourth Be With You”).
The researchers said the promotions should be “original and appropriate.” A spa pedicure discount would fit for National Barefoot Day (June 1), but not an apparel discount on National Food Day (October 24).
Researchers said business establishments can also come up with their own special days, such as celebrating their founder’s birthday, an anniversary or the day that a company adopted its mascot dog. Lands’ End declared March 23 “National Swimsuit Day” in 2017 and has celebrated the day annually since.
Special days can be further personalized around customers’ interactions, such as the anniversary of a customer’s first purchase. The researchers said, “It is possible that consumers who receive special day-themed discounts may feel they are unique or in an exclusive subset of consumers receiving the promotion.”
- Shoppers more likely to buy on Pi Day and other “special” day-themed promotions – Phys.org
- Promoting Pi Day: Consumer Response to Special Day-Themed Sales Promotions – Journal of Consumer Psychology
- National Day Calendar
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does it make sense that special day-themed promotions are more productive for retailers than traditional holiday campaigns? Should retailers aim to hold a few special sales days every year or hold them more frequently?
Christine Russo, Principal, Retail Creative and Consulting Agency (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)
It’s a refreshing way to communicate with the customer vs. the ubiquitous one-day sale of days gone by.
Neil Saunders, Managing Director, GlobalData
Special day promotions are often limited to the day in question, so there is an urgency to using any discounts. Usually, they are also focused events which capture attention around a particular category in a way that general discounts and promotional periods do not.
Rick Moss, President, Co-founder, RetailWire
FYI, a good resource is https://nationaltoday.com/ where you’ll see that October 10th is National Metrics Day, National Angel Food Cake Day, National Cake Decorating Day, National Handbag Day, National Walk to a Park Day, World Mental Health Day, National Kick Butt Day (curious about that one), National Online Bank Day and, of course, Columbus Day and Native American Day. So much to choose from!
Brandon Rael, Strategy & Operations Delivery Leader
With the emergence of social commerce, adtech, and martech capabilities, special day-themed promotions are becoming the norm. The legacy model for retailers only to promote during traditional holiday campaigns is outdated, especially as consumers enjoy day-to-day engagement, storytelling, and authentic brand experiences.
Every day brings new possibilities for retailers to drive special day promotions that transcend the physical store and traditional advertising industry model.
Patricia Vekich Waldron, Contributing Editor, RetailWire; Founder and CEO, Vision First
Creativity and a compelling reason to buy is a much more interesting proposition than “one-day sale.”
Jeff Weidauer, Principal, SSR Retail LLC
Special day-themed promotions make sense on a number of levels: they break out of the noise, provide a sense of fun, and create a feeling of urgency.
Carlos Arambula, VP Marketing & Business Development, Estrella Brands
Promotions that feel customized to the consumer will always lead to higher returns simply because of the targeted nature of the discount. Couple the practice with loyalty programs to increase the perception of exclusivity and grow your core consumer loyalty along with their shopping baskets.
For more retail related news and resources, be sure to bookmark the following link: https://www.retaildive.com/
Doug Works, Executive Director, Board Retailers Association
We really like those calendars (mentioned above) that have quirky but special days that a portion of your customers will embrace. We encourage all board specialty retailers to focus on hosting community oriented events with “select items” on sale (or buy this, get this free or discounted) rather than store-wide sales. Don’t forget to embrace and celebrate Skate Shop Day (February 18th), Surf Shop Day (May 21st) and Go Skateboarding Day (June 21st).
If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join form