A few years ago I was invited to became a “Black Belt” on the retail and retail technology site Brick Meets Click. This involves some occasional retail debate and commentary and some interaction with various retail stories and news. I am not sure I am really worthy of the accolade, but I do tend to learn a lot about trends and issues and have some fun with it. Profiles of all the Black Belts can be found here.
If you are interested in retail but have not visited the BMC site, then it is well worth a look.
I was pondering over the weekend whether to write something about the Lidl Social Price Drop which has been in the news. This involves prices for products being set in the run-up to Christmas by consumers in relation to the level of tweet activity. It is a bit of fun and an interesting oddity perhaps, but maybe there are some lessons to be learned. Full details of the Lidl Social Price Drop as explained by Lidl (including an explanatory Video) is here
Anyhow BrickMeetsClick has done the job for me. They recently blogged on the matter and have allowed me to reblog their post below. The original is at the BrickMeets Click site, and I do encourage you if you like what they did with this story, to go over to their website and have a rummage around. There’s lots of good stuff there.
So, over to BrickMeetsClick:
“Lidl is letting shoppers lower the price of one specific product each week leading up to Christmas – simply by tweeting about them. We think this is significant because it shows a retailer acting on the insight that some customers want to be more actively involved in defining what they get from that retailer.
Two things seem to be at work in this promotion:
- The fun of the experience is probably part of the motivation for participating – how low will the price go? (Note: Lidl currently caps the price reduction to 50%.)
- Lack of consumer confidence in published prices may also play a part. This confidence is restored when customers see a price drop as a result of their actions. (In the British market, this loss of confidence is more prevalent due to the devaluation of the pound and price increases by some suppliers.)
Any way you look at it, this is a clever tactic to increase customer engagement and enlist help in promoting a dynamic price offer.
On a more conceptual level, it’s an example of empowering the customer – and a reminder to retailers that “getting consumers to feel more in control” can make them “want to buy,” which is a very different dynamic from just selling them something.
Lidl’s use of Twitter to draw attention to their low prices on key products for the Christmas holidays is also is noteworthy because it:
- Creates a buzz that amplifies the message.
- Expands communications without adding advertising expense beyond the final markdown.
- Is repeatable – Lidl will repeat the same two-day event every week between now and Christmas.
Here are two lessons that can be taken from this innovation in price promotion:
- Retailers can transform many different items into Known Value Items (KVI) to build traffic to their stores. Now it’s no longer necessary to depend only on popular products that carry low margins – it’s possible to use higher margin items as KVIs and still be able to sell them at a profit.
- Social media can be an effective customer engagement vehicle that helps increase communications reach with little or no added expense. Consumers become more willing to interact when they’re offered what they see as a worthwhile experience.
The bottom line is that grocery retailers can increase promotional effectiveness while reducing promotional costs using these methods. What do you think?”
With thanks to Bill and Cindy for allowing me to re-post