We recently opened our mail to find a letter from a local men's retailer. Now, getting a mailing from this particular merchant is not unusual. Several times a year, post cards or other forms of direct mail show up offering sale prices on designer lines including Hart Schaffner & Marx, Lauren Ralph Lauren, Tommy Bahama, etc.
What made this particular mailing unusual was the direct tone of its message.
The communication, which took the form of a letter from the owner, read: "In my extensive retail career of 42 years, I have never experienced such difficult times. Tightened credit and economic uncertainty have created the perfect storm of of falling sales... We realize that we must act decisively to raise revenue in an effort to pay suppliers and secure our future."
The letter goes on to detail the extent of a new sale with references to the lengths the store will go to provide the service that its affluent customer base requires.
Having finished the letter, we have to admit to feeling conflicted. Here is a local business that evidently is in trouble. The product selection is excellent as is the service. Prices are not typically low but on sale they are relatively competitive. But, we were not in the market for any of the items it sells before receiving the mail. Should we now go shopping, not because of need or for the deals, but to try and help the merchant out? We still haven't decided.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the sales communication described in this article? Is it an effective tactic to get consumers into stores? Is there an alternate tact you would recommend instead?
How effective do you think the promotion described in this article will be in drawing in customers to shop?