Are Deals Appropriate for High-End Brands? Yes!

We've made the claim that coupons can work for just about any business, as long as the deals are created with specific goals and audiences in mind. Mom-and-pop shops, regional chains, national retailers and yes, high-end brands.

That's right, even high-end brands can - and do - use deals to entice the right crowd to shop at their establishments. In fact, Access has helped many of these brands craft offers, but more on that in a moment.

Here's one thing many people don't realize: rich people love coupons. Households making over $100,000 are twice as likely to use coupons as those earning under $35,000. College graduates are also twice as likely to use coupons as those who did not graduate from high school. In fact, studies show that the less a household earns, the less likely they are to use coupons.

More than any other brands in the universe, high-end brands are very specific (even secretive) about their offers, but they're just like any other business in the world in this: they still need people to walk in the door and make purchases.

Here are three simple lessons Access has learned from high-end brands in our efforts to craft offers that drive the specific results they were looking for:

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1. They choose their audience wisely

Offering a deal to anyone on the street is a surefire way to make everyone know you're discounting. High-end brands look for opportunities to reward their targeted audience. In one of our custom campaigns, a bankcard issuer came to us looking for cardholder benefits for customers with over $500k in assets at the institution. Access consulted with a number of high-end merchants that appealed to this audience and helped create offers that made sense. In this case, the merchants were excited to offer a deal in a private setting to an obviously wealthy, discriminating audience.

2. Their offers are dialed in

In the same campaign referenced above, Access helped a number of businesses that never would dream of couponing come up with the right offers. One restaurant greeted guests with a complimentary bottle of wine and visit from the chef. A watch retailer gave a $750 credit toward any purchase. A high-end boutique offered to open their doors one hour early for a private trunk show. These and a handful of other offers were exclusive to this audience and offered real value for the affluent cardholder. The merchants reported that although the offers were very rich and different from their "no discounts" stance, it was well worth it due to the incremental spend and overall customer experiences at their stores.

3. They consider card-linked rewards

If coupons aren't right for your business, rewards may be the route to go. The bulk of consumers that shy away from coupons are quick to pull out their card that racks up points, miles, or cash. A promotion for 20x the miles, or $10 cash back is perceived much differently than a coupon.

Again, it's really easy for a brand to be considered "cheap" when offering coupons. Brand perception is a big deal and recovering that image can be difficult. Hopefully these tips help brands know what possibilities exist before extending offers in the marketplace.

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Topics: Customer Incentives, partnership marketing, Mobile Coupons, Merchant Discount Network, Payment Card Rewards, Card-Linked Offers, dave bona, Access Development, coupons, customer loyalty

Written by: Dave Bona

Dave Bona is the Vice President of Partnership Marketing at Access Development. He oversees the company's relationships with over 300,000 local and national merchants - the largest private discount network in the nation.

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