Dear Customer: Please Buy Something
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.
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?