You may know the old joke that ends: “We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price.” Now apply that in the retail context.
I introduced the notion of the promiscuous shopper nearly 3 years ago. This special, but hardly rare, breed of consumer is always on the hunt for the best deal and completely devoid of any potential to be loyal.
When you choose to anchor your marketing strategy on relentless un-targeted promotions, and then layer on extra coupons and rewards points, it’s the promiscuous shopper who is the first to bite, and who then spikes as a percentage of your business.
To be fair, most businesses need some of these consumers from time to time. There is clearance product to be sold and any sensible marketing and merchandising strategy will reflect a natural demand curve.
An unusually high level of discounting may also be necessary to drive initial trial, so long as you are confident that repeat business has the potential to be loyal and profitable.
And certainly promiscuous shoppers are not always immediately apparent. Time and solid analysis are needed to separate them out and start to chase them away.
But always bear this in mind: when the promiscuous shopper feels that your business is built for them, it’s the first sign of trouble. Big trouble.