Aussies are expected to spend nearly $9.3 billion on end of financial year sales. It is no doubt one of the biggest dates on the retail calendar. But the rising cost of living has impacted everyone’s wallets. Consumers are becoming more considered about what they buy and from who, competition for a piece of wallet-share is at an all-time high.

Price-promotion strategies drive immediate results in a limited timeframe by creating a sense of urgency and time sensitivity. If your products are competitively priced, of course this should be communicated, but retailers still should be careful of communicating or enticing customers with a “buy mine, not theirs” pricing strategy that’ll simply get lost in the noise. 

A focus solely on price is a zero-sum game in which your win comes at the cost of a competitor’s loss. In this situation, the customer is likely to secure the best deal available, but does nothing to entice or incentivise repeat purchases. The overall benefit is therefore zero, resulting in a race to the bottom.

The real value for brands hidden behind end of financial year sales is to combine short-term tactics and long-term strategic guidance to turn first-time buyers into lifelong brand evangelists. This means utilising the opportunity to communicate quality, build long-lasting relationships and shift the proposition of your brand as a whole.

While shoppers may be inclined to take a more frugal approach, there’s plenty of opportunity for brands to strike. 

Invest in your list growth strategy 

Ahead of major retail moments, you need a customer identity solution that can identify your website visitors. Without it, you’ll be losing out on significant revenue from the majority of non-logged-in visitors who arrive, browse, and abandon during these key sales periods. 

There are many tools out there that can help you grow your list. The key is finding one that isn’t entirely reliant on cookies for identification or has limited segmentation or frequency capabilities. 

Consider investing in a tool that will remember your visitors and which channels they have already opted into. For example, Identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) platforms enable marketers to drive revenue from your first-party data at an unprecedented scale. 

By focusing on the users hitting your site, you can accelerate the number of new customers you acquire, and use the information for continued success.

Drive relevant and personalised experiences 

The truth is, in a fast-moving world of fragmented shopper behaviour, the right approach is to treat every shopper as their own segment – and serve each with their own highly relevant experience. When coupled with robust segmentation and automation, owned channels such as email and text become powerful tools to tailor messages to your unique customer cohorts. 

And while there will always be cohorts of customers who fall off after their first purchase and show little engagement afterward, the key to winning this customer segment back is focusing on content and offers that are compelling enough to bring them back. 

Maintaining and building lasting relationships with your customers through brand-forward content and retargeting will help convert first-time buyers into lifelong brand evangelists. Loyalty offers, surprise-and-delight price drop messaging and abandoned cart emails are highly impactful, proving that one-to-one performs over one-to-many. 

Knowing your customers means you can effectively target them to close the deal. 

Underscore with an engaging value proposition 

Knowing what your consumers are buying and what’s driving them to make these decisions is a powerful tool to have the upper hand in the consideration process.

Of course, price point is likely to be a key consideration for many during this time, however; even when communicating on price, try not to neglect the reasons why your customers became interested and engaged with your brand in the first place. 

This can involve communicating convenience or experiencing benefits by offering diverse payment options or a hassle-free returns policy. Both support your consumers by eliminating barriers to purchase and making it less risky for the consumer to engage. 

This could also mean underscoring your sales messaging with more meaningful dialogue aligned with your customer’s beliefs and values. Are your end of financial year sales a chance for customers to try a new sustainable range of products at a cheaper price point, or offsetting the carbon footprint that comes with shipping? 

To maintain the loyalty and repeat business of customers, brands must be strategic in their messaging by providing options for consumers to take advantage of retail sales, in ways that connect back to their needs and wants. 

Retailers who set a foundation for sustainable growth and scalable owned channel performance will see themselves well-positioned for success in the new era of marketing. After all, retail is a race, but it doesn’t have to be a zero-sum race to the bottom. 

Success is winning the marathon, not the sprint. 

Jamie Hoey is general manager of Australia at Wunderkind.