3 alternatives to discounting to drive long-term success during BFCM

3 alternatives to discounting to drive success during holiday sales.

As an ecommerce brand, it’s easy to get stuck in a race to the bottom by slashing prices, particularly during peak sales periods like Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM). Huge retailers boast reductions of up to 90% during the famous last weekend of November. This forces many independent retailers to feel pressure and copy this futile tactic in order to compete. 

The reality is that heavily discounting products negatively affects your brand. By cutting prices so low, the message can transfer across to your product’s quality and cheapen your brand. Don’t forget to think about your existing customers too, you don’t want them to feel like they have overpaid for your products in the past. 

Unfortunately, this issue is a double-edged sword, as it has become culture for ecommerce brands to run promotions over the BFCM weekend and most consumers expect brands to deliver this. It’s easy to see why ecommerce merchants feel there is no alternative to discounting.

But there is. You can attract customers over the weekend in ways that don’t cheapen your brand but rather add value to it. Read on to discover three tactics that provide an alternative to discounting:

  • Align with your customer’s values
  • Get more from your most valuable customers with VIP treatment
  • Build a community customers want to be a part of
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Align with your customer’s values

Our research shows that 68% of consumers say they’re motivated to purchase by knowing a brand shares the same values as them. These days, customers are less interested in shopping with faceless brands and prefer spending money at stores that express their personality and values. 

Branding can help you in this department. A strong brand story that resonates across the whole shopping experience will cement who you are to exploring shoppers. Take a look at natural beauty brand, Ayla’s homepage. Visitors are immediately presented with the brand’s mission statement. This declaration of the brand story tells shoppers who they are and what they believe in across the website. This makes it easy for customers to know if this brand suits them or not.

You can also use loyalty and rewards programs as another way to tell your brand story and appeal to customers’ personal values. Offer shoppers rewards for positive actions, such as recycling, or charitable rewards.

Pet brand, Edgard & Cooper, offer their loyalty program members options to exchange their “Belly Rubs points”, for donating to a dog shelter or planting a tree. Edgard & Cooper have strong ethical values. They create fresh and natural pet food that comes in biodegradable packaging to show they care about animals and the environment. And their customers share these morals also. 

See more examples of environmentally and ethically responsible loyalty programs.

Use your branding and loyalty program to show your beliefs and connect with customers on more than just price. 89% of shoppers say they would switch to a brand that is associated with a good cause, given similar price and quality. With many brands offering consumers very similar products and prices, showing brand values will give you an edge over your competitors, offering an impactful alternative to discounting.

Get more from your most valuable customers with VIP treatment

79% of customers say they’re loyal to a brand if they can unlock exclusive benefits. Membership mentality is important to the majority of shoppers and you can utilize this during the sale period as an alternative to discounting. Instead of reducing the value of your product and therefore your brand, add value by offering customers exclusive and desirable perks. Use a loyalty program as a way to unlock these benefits and in the lead up to BFCM, promote exclusive rewards to drive customers to your site.

Beauty brand, Pacifica Beauty, uses a loyalty program tiers as a way to offer exclusive benefits. New members are enrolled in a basic tier with standard points for purchases. While loyal, repeat purchasers are enrolled in a higher tier with better, more exclusive perks. The exclusive benefits give new members a goal to aspire towards when they reach a spend threshold. And, it shows customers that the more loyal they are to the brand, the better they are rewarded. 

Offer customers exclusive perks and VIP treatment this BFCM instead of cutting your prices. This way, you’re adding value to your brand and products rather than taking it away. And customers will appreciate getting extra special rewards for their loyalty and want to continue the relationship.

Build a community customers want to be a part of

You can find communities across the internet, whether it’s in Facebook groups, village newsletters or online forums. Groups with similar interests provide a haven for people to speak freely about their interests with others who feel the same. 

Retail giant, Nike, use this benefit in their rewards program. Their loyalty app is designed like a social media app where customers can like and comment on fitness articles and workout plans. This gives customers a sense of togetherness while also encouraging engagement with the brand. You can read more about this and Nike’s other loyalty tactics in our blog, Scale success story: Nike loyalty scheme.

Annmarie Skincare, gives its most loyal customers access to a private Facebook group where they can bond over their collective enthusiasm for clean, organic skincare. 47% of customers we asked said they are motivated to be loyal by becoming part of a community of like-minded people. Add value to your brand rather than taking it away by creating a place where shoppers can share thoughts, ask questions and even make friends. 

Members of Annmarie’s loyalty program spend 140% more than non-members. Find out more about Annmarie Skincare’s loyalty strategy in our case study.


Don’t fall into the trap of cutting prices to compete during sales events, including Black Friday Cyber Monday. You’ll find yourself in a race to the bottom and suffer the consequences of cheapening your brand. Instead, find ways to add value to your brand as an alternative to discounting. Use a loyalty program as the tool to award points and exclusive benefits that will make customers feel like they’re gaining and you won’t feel like you’re losing.

If you want to know more about how loyalty can drive success during this year’s BFCM, book 30 mins to speak to one of our Loyalty Consultants.

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About the author

Alison Murtagh

Alison is a Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion. After starting at the company as Office Manager, she began helping the Marketing team with projects in her spare time. Since then, she has developed a strong interest in Marketing and joined the team full-time, working on content, events and social media.

This article originally appeared by our friends at LoyaltyLion.

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