I don’t like “sales”

Sales, as in, “40% off now!”

As a person who sells some products and services, I don’t like offering sales because 1) it encourages people not to buy when there isn’t sale and 2) means that anybody who bought during a non-sale period got screwed.

As a buyer of products and services, I don’t like sales because it means that 1) if I know I’m buying during a non-sale period I am getting screwed and 2) I’d rather just know that the company has decided how much their thing is worth and that is what they are charging me, not some arbitrary markup based on marketing excitement.


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5 responses to “I don’t like “sales””

  1. Ash says:

    I see your point, and it was exactly this that stopped Valve – a game developer – from using sales on Steam, their digital distribution platform. They ran a trial a few months ago and found that people generally didn’t care, and overall sales improved even for products that weren’t on offer.

    The problem with never offering any sort of sale is that if you have a rival of any sort who does, you risk losing sales to them when they offer the same product or service on offer.

    Plus, a good sale can generate a feeling of goodwill between yourself and potential future customers.

  2. Gavin Steele says:

    I agree. I feel that as an existing customer of a product or service, when there is a sale I get screwed.

    What I think they should do is have the sale and offer existing customers the same saving on future releases or products.

    That way you stick around to see what they sell/release at a later date.

  3. blue says:

    At my day job, we run sales constantly. It seems to boost business, but in the music industry that’s just how it has grown to be. Everything is very competitive in this realm.

    There are some things I would not buy without a sale. Recently, Sitepoint ran a sale for 5 books for the price of 1. I bought these only because of that sale, and I don’t think I ever would have purchased all 5 books without the sale.(only because I wouldn’t have wanted to shill out $150 on books.) So, the people who have bought the books at full price, got screwed.

    I also recently bought Digging into WordPress. I searched Google for a discount code (on your recommendation Chris) and applied it. Then I realized that I’m only saving $4. The size of the book, the content, and the fact that I was getting free updates to the book, seemed like a steal even at full price, so I removed the coupon code and paid the full pop.

    So, from the way I see it. If your product/service is priced correctly for the value(i.e. “Digging into WordPress,” and Netflix,) then sale pricing isn’t really worth it. If you are in a hyper-competitive market, you don’t have much of a choice, unless you decide to not run sales and just give all your competition the business.

    Lastly, I think a Price matching guarantee (which is pretty popular with e-commerce nowadays) could actually serve as your “sale” and just keep your pricing standard… Like a new local pizza shop I visited the other night said, “Let them do the thinking, while we do the baking.”

  4. Chris Coyier says:

    β€œLet them do the thinking, while we do the baking.”

    That’s amazing.

  5. Zervas says:

    The thing is, the idea of a sale helps move units. If people think they’re getting a deal (even if they are not) they are more likely to spend. That’s not me talking, that’s science.
    There are certainly outliers but if “sales” move more product than they’ll stay. This is especially true when people are judged by quarterly or other short-term stats.
    We have a tendency to want quick results even at the risk of long term losses. That’s one reason we always have a deficit.

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