Almost everyone now thinks long and hard about the products they buy. Consumer confidence, already knocked by two years of a global pandemic, has been further hit by spiking inflation and rising costs. Brands and retailers, who can be badly affected by this fall in confidence, must create a strategy to pull customers towards their products. So, what should they do?

One solution might be to cut prices: make your products cheaper and more people should buy them. It’s a strategy that sounds simple enough – but companies that are thinking of relying on price reductions to build consumer confidence should tread very carefully.

Research suggests a drop in the price per unit isn’t necessarily going to peak potential customers’ interest. Consultant Bain & Company says consumers often don’t realize the magnitude of the price cut – or they don’t even notice the reduction at all.

Worse still, while a cut in the ticket price might not be noticed by consumers, it will definitely be seen by your competitors. Per-unit reductions could lead to a price war, with a consequential impact on revenues and profitability.

In fact, the potential damage of price reductions in the longer term should be of even more concern. Your business has worked hard to build the perception of its brand. If your company gets associated with price cuts now, it could lead to a downwards spiral in terms of its reputation in the market.

Constant price cutting can damage brand equity and erode profit margins. Research suggests customers begin to develop low expectations about brands and retailers that employ such strategies. Rather than trusting your business, they can start to become disengaged.

So, while times are tough now, they could be even tougher in the future. Make the wrong choices about product pricing when consumer confidence is low and customers are unlikely to return. To keep people interested in its products, your business needs to employ a much more subtle range of tactics. Here’s six techniques that we believe can help keep your customers happy.

Cashback promotions

Rather than relying on reduced prices, cashback promotions highlight savings, which is something that’s proven to motivate purchases and deliver a substantial increase in product sales over the longer term. By working with a specialist like Opia, you can create a promotion that works for your business and its customers, and then track and trace payments and the success of this approach.

Dell created a cashback promotion across a range of desktops, laptops and notebooks. Customers could claim their prize online as soon as their products were dispatched. The campaign was so successful that Dell and Opia used this format repeatedly to drive sales at other times, such as Back to School or pre-Black Friday.

Trade-in promotions

Trade-ins offer a different approach, combining the attractiveness of a newer product with an incentive to return old devices. Customers are compelled to upgrade their old equipment via a conditional, time-limited reward in cash or as a gift.

If your brand is planning to launch a product with the aim of increasing market share, then a trade-in of a competitor’s brand for your new model could be a route to competitive advantage – and one that supports sustainability agendas. To ensure efficient and ethical disposal of old products, Opia works with a network of accredited recyclers.

Buy and try promotions

When consumer confidence is low, you need to find ways to reassure potential buyers that the risk of purchasing is reduced. Buy and try promotions remove some of the barriers associated to buying something new by giving consumers a risk-free, no-obligation trial period.

This tactic is a great way to help wary customers try an innovative or higher value item that they might not previously have considered. And in the unlikely event of a customer deciding to return the product at the end of the trial, Opia can manage returns, refunds and recycling of used goods.

Referral and rewards programmes

When you’re not sure what to buy, who can you trust? Research suggests most people turn to those they know – 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth opinions or recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. So, if you want to get in front of new customers, you need to win the trust of their inner circle.

That’s where referral and rewards programmes can help. Building these kinds of sales promotions is an effective strategy for increasing sales, with research showing referred customers have a 37% higher customer retention rate. Opia makes it easy for customers to refer friends using a range of digital channels, such as email, social networks, instant messaging or chat.

Gift with purchase

Sometimes it takes that little added extra to convince people to buy – and added gifts can boost the attractiveness of your products. Opia carries out extensive market research and sources gifts that are highly regarded by your target audience and offer a low cost to your business. And we ensure your free gifts are delivered quickly and efficiently.

Samsung wanted to drive sales on their flagship S Series phones. Using a post-Christmas ‘get active over winter’ message, the tech giant aimed to promote its Galaxy Watch Active as a free gift. Opia handled all elements of the successful campaign from promotion to design and onto claim management, validation, fulfilment and customer support.

Instant win

One way great to create buzz around your product is to start a competition. You’ll need to engage customers with high-value rewards that create a compelling reason for purchase. Opia uses an innovative instant-win promotion mechanism, alongside a time-limited sales campaign, to ensure the incentive to buy products is higher than ever before.

Competitions can generate big intertest on social media channels. But with various rules and regulations in each jurisdiction, you’ll need to ensure your company works with an expert on each competition. Once again, Opia excels here and provides end-to-end campaign management.

Conclusion: Great rewards for everyone

Customers might be feeling the pinch but that doesn’t mean your sales have to suffer. Use the right promotional tactics at the right time and your company can keep generating revenue. Rather than someone having to take the strain for wider macro-economic conditions, both your business and its customers can get just what they want.