Forever Young: An Innovative Environmental Focus from Prénatal

Prénatal takes a first-of-its-kind environmental approach, promising to extend the life of its children's products by rewarding customers who choose to recycle within a designated time frame. The retail group, a European leader in children's products and clothing with 253 stores, is offering its customers a gift card reward of up to 50% of the purchase value when they take up this offer on their modular systems, strollers, car seats or cribs. This innovative promotion, Forever Young, provides not only a financial benefit for families but also a wider gain for the environment.

Launched in France in 1947 and opening its first store in Milan in 1963, Prénatal is now the point of reference for parents in Italy, Spain and Greece. Offering an extensive selection of the world’s top childcare products, the brand also has a wide range of dedicated specialised clothing for new mums, and bespoke clothes for newborns and children: all these exclusive creations are sold under the Prénatal label.

A leader in Europe in the retail of childcare products, Prénatal’s innovative campaign addresses a widespread, enduring problem. Families purchase brand-new children’s products, and their time-limited use means that most end up cast aside or stored away and forgotten in garages and attics. Prénatal’s goal is to extend the life of these under-used products, which remain in good condition.

The market-disruptive Forever Young promotion, running at Prénatal stores across Italy with plans to extend across Europe, is offering customers a 30-50% Prénatal gift card reward, when a product, purchased from their promotional lines, is returned within a 12-18-month window. The campaign is fully managed by creative sales promotions partner, Opia, who also take care of all the logistics, finding a new home or shape for the returned products through their managed recycling scheme.

With the sales promotion still running, the take-up is yet to be fully determined, but initial feedback is positive. Massimo Arioli, Business Unit Director of Prénatal, recognises that it is just the start of a journey that will remain ongoing. "In about a year, we will begin to see results; the first articles returned will be ready to come back to life and be useful in new contexts."

Remaining committed to a better shared future, helping families’ financial burdens and guaranteeing recycling that benefits the environment, he emphasises, “We are also eager to collaborate with third sector companies, who want to give further value to this ethical and sustainable process and therefore we will open a privileged channel for them.”

With Prénatal’s Forever Young video clearly conveying their commitment to these goals, we can look forward to a better future for unwanted children’s products, the children who have enjoyed them, their families, and the wider environment.

Find out how Opia can design innovative promotions that will drive your sales and optimise the lifetime value of your customers.


Why Avoiding the Discounting Trap is Critical for the Profitability of Furniture Retailers

The relentless sales from big brand furniture retailers are something to which we’ve all become accustomed. Boxing Day, the summer season, and, only shortly around the corner, Black Friday all begin to merge into one rolling tide of price cuts, resulting in customers always on the lookout for discounts and yet never really believing they are saving money from these ever-lasting offers.

Competing in this environment is tough, particularly during a year when sales of high-value goods, like furniture, have been so turbulent. We review the impact of this discounting trap, created by high-profile furniture brands, before exploring how to avoid discounting products through the use of smart alternatives that can boost sales without being detrimental to your bottom line.

The curse of the discounting trap

Black Friday is on the horizon, on the 27th of November. As always, significant price cuts are expected. However, despite the hype, there is a sense of discount-fatigue, particularly in the furniture sector. Too many cut-price sales by well-known brands have meant that these ‘special’ prices just don’t feel as special any more.

Trying to compete with this level of price-cuts is challenging, particularly for smaller retailers where margins aren’t so big, and it becomes simply unviable for their profitability.

An erratic year of furniture sales

Furniture manufacturers and retailers have been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride with their trade throughout 2020. The lockdown in March saw manufacturing forced to stop and retailers close their doors, leading to many employees being furloughed.

At the same time, the lockdown travel restrictions also created customers with more money to spend and wanting to improve their home, where they were now spending so much more time. Online orders soared, and when retailers opened their doors in mid-June, business began booming.2

The repercussions of this spike in sales is a shortage of foam and particleboard, reducing production capacity and driving up costs in the run-up to Christmas3. Furniture retailers have been left needing to pass on these increases or close their order books early at a crucial time.

However, the industry is under no illusion. This rush of sales could quickly turn as the country faces an economic downturn, and they deal with the added complication of Brexit also interrupting material supplies.4 A clear, effective strategy is needed to retain profitability, and, for many furniture manufacturers, traditional discounting is not the answer.

The long-term impacts of discounting

Traditional price cuts are used to drive footfall into stores and create a sales uplift across specific product lines. And it works – for the short term. However, these untargeted price discounts are an extremely costly way to boost sales, unnecessarily cutting sharply into your margins. Recovering your full-price position also becomes very difficult, which can have disastrous long-term effects on your bottom line.

Furthermore, with so many furniture retailers using discounts to attract their customers, the impact is becoming lost, and promotions of this kind lack any point of difference against competitors.

It is vital that furniture retailers understand how to avoid discounting products whilst retaining sales if they are to remain profitable. The good news is there is a smart alternative to traditional discounting that protects margins and offers the same, if not improved, motivation to buy.

How to avoid discounting products – alternative solutions

There is a range of innovative sales promotion solutions that can be used to engage your customers, drive a sales uplift and deliver improved profitability.

Designing a creative campaign, using tactical promotions, will create the same buzz around a product as upfront discounts. Proven in effectively removing the purchase barrier, they provide brands with a much more cost-effective method of promotion.

Examples of these promotional strategies include cashback campaigns, gifts with purchase or instant win offers:

  • Cashback rewards highlight customers’ savings and motivate purchases without the need for upfront discounting.
  • Gift with purchase promotions work on a similar basis, presenting better-perceived value for the customer with the addition of a specially selected, market-relevant gift.
  • Instant wins campaigns use high-value, sought-after rewards with the added excitement around a competition to drive sales.

Securing longer-term profitability, particularly during a climate of uncertainty, will also be immensely valuable to your brand’s future. Strategic sales solutions strengthen brand loyalty, shorten refresh cycles, widen your reach and lead to an increased share of the customer wallet.

Mechanics that achieve these goals include referral and rewards programs, which use strong incentives to drive recommendations and reviews, and trade-in promotions, which offer time-limited rewards to motivate product upgrades.

Creating smart sales promotions provide customers with a compelling reason for purchase without the need for costly upfront discounting. Working on the basis that only the most engaged customers make their claim, promotional costs are significantly reduced – often by up to 50%!

Furthermore, driven by market insights, these innovative and unique campaigns create a point of difference when compared to competitors' relentless discounting.

In a highly competitive market, finding cost-effective solutions that allow you to avoid the traditional discount trap is critical. And with a discount-fatigue setting in and an increased sense of uncertainty about the actual savings being made, campaigns that offer something of value are shown to be highly responsive.

To find out more about how Opia creates market disruptive promotions that allow your brand to stand apart from your competitors, engage customers and drive a sales uplift, please get in touch with our strategy team.

 

1 https://www.idealhome.co.uk/news/black-friday-257538

2 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/10/covid-boom-uk-furniture-firms-sitting-pretty

3 https://www.furniturenews.net/news/articles/2020/10/940782193-material-shortages-affecting-furniture-production-and-pricing-says

4 https://www.business-live.co.uk/manufacturing/manufacturer-reveals-how-lockdown-led-19019417

 

 


When Bicycle Demand Exceeds Supply: 3 Creative Strategies for Upselling

Earlier this year, we wrote about the unprecedented demand for bikes brought about by the pandemic. Demand for bikes was outstripping supply and manufacturers needed creative solutions to support retailers in satisfying their customers' requirements. Although the lockdown rush has slowed somewhat, stock of entry and mid-level bikes is still low. In this blog, we explore this challenge further, before sharing some innovative ideas for sales promotions that can help boost sales by encouraging upsell in the retail market.

 A summer high that led to sell-out bike stocks

Social distancing restrictions and encouragement to use other means of transport during the pandemic had an enormous effect on bike sales. Data from the Bicycle Association has now confirmed that between April and June 2020, bike sales increased by a massive 63% year-on-year.1 These sales were strongest for bikes under £1,000. As health concerns continue and the focus on environmental benefits increases, this demand is set to continue, but perhaps not at the same colossal rate. The UK will likely follow the same trend as the US, where July saw the highest value of bike imports at $151 million. Although a slight taper was seen in August, at $142 million in imports, this is still an increase of 24% when compared to the same month last year.2

Facing an autumnal challenge of demand exceeding supply

The bike market has been left with vastly diminished stocks, with entry and mid-level bikes sold out, and, despite the peak in sales being in the summer, new stock cannot be produced quick enough, and any that is received is likely to sell out fast. To maintain a good level of sales and keep customers brand loyal, manufacturers need ways to motivate customers to make a more expensive purchase, without resorting to discounting their bikes and impacting their longer-term profitability. Understanding how to upsell has therefore never been more important.

3 unique and innovative sales solutions

Buy & Try, Satisfaction Guarantee Promotions

Customers are often hesitant when faced with making a more expensive purchase or trying something new that’s out of their comfort zone. Tackle this uncertainty by adopting a sales promotion that overcomes the purchase barrier and gives your customers confidence in their buying decision.

For example, a Buy & Try promotion can offer a risk-free, no-obligation trial period. Customers have the opportunity to try out their new bike with the option of returning it, if not suitable, and quickly obtaining a refund. Taking out this risk consideration creates a sales uplift of these higher-value products.

Job Safe Schemes

Particularly at this time, the future of many people’s jobs is uncertain. This unfortunate circumstance means that customers may worry about making a higher-value purchase, losing their income and then not being able to afford the payments.

Remove this concern by offering a cashback option should an individual lose their job. A redundancy refund policy, such as our Job Safe scheme, acts to boost buyer confidence. When a customer enrols in this scheme, if they lose their job in the following 12 months, a payment of 50% of their purchase is made directly to them.

Basket Boost Campaign

A Basket Boost campaign, where customers receive cashback on their purchase when other store accessories are purchased alongside, is another method of removing the purchase barrier and allowing room to upsell. This strategy delivers increased sales in two ways; firstly, by providing the customer with a better-perceived value, and secondly by giving your brand an advantage with the retailers. Stores are far more likely to showcase your line of bikes if your promotion encourages further purchases at the store.

Shortage of certain product lines does not have to mean a loss of customers to rival competitors or a drop in prices that hurts your bottom line. With imaginative thinking and relevant, targeted campaigns, you can run sales promotions that drive volumes, protect your margins and strengthen customer loyalty for future profitability.

To find out more about how we can support you with your upselling strategies, please get in contact with our team, who will be pleased to explore the opportunities with you.

 

1 https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2020/08/03/bike-sales-increased-63-during-lockdown-reveals-uks-bicycle-association/#6f86a3177e12

2 https://www.bicycleretailer.com/studies-reports/2020/10/06/bike-imports-24-august#.X32G42gzY2w


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