How to Use the Bounce-Back Effect to Drive Sales

“The bounce-back effect”…what’s it mean? Most successful and forward-thinking retailers today are efficiently using various marketing mechanisms to drive the consumer to their websites and from the website back to the store. And at each point, a sale is consummated by virtue of some form of consumer incentive.

[dropcap size=small]T[/dropcap]hese bounce-back contrivances are very sales-productive and pleasing to customers; they get some form of discount or free item simply by visiting the retailer’s website. And at each stop at the retailer’s website or store, the consumer is rewarded for the visit.

Various forms of bounce-back coupons have been around for many years but were usually delivered via mail or in-store handout. For example, Bed Bath & Beyond has successfully driven their business through the profuse use of the 20% discount coupons mailed to American households. In other cases, retailers have just handed out a discount coupon after completing a customer’s sale. The consumer can then redeem the coupon at their “next” visit to the store. Such bounce-back coupons often resize on the patron’s refrigerator door via a magnet as a reminder to return to the store.

The concept is relatively simple: in the store at the point of sale, the customers is handed a coupon that is printed or the sales receipt, which is redeemable only on the retailer’s website.  AT the website, the consumer collects their incentive and also receives a second incentive which is redeemable only at the retailer’s store. Thus, the consumer is “bounced back” to the store. And at the store, the customer redeems their incentive and then is again given an incentive redeemable only at the website. The public loves the bargains and the retailer enjoys the incremental sales.

In part, what savvy retailers are doing is collecting email addresses of their current or prospective customers. Given a large and growing email a database of likely purchasers, the retailer can very effectively and inexpensively market their merchandise to the public This is smart retailing and eminently more cost-effective than using print, radio or TV advertising. This is productive marketing in the digital age.

But exactly how do retailers collect email addresses? Each time a consumer is incentivized to visit the retailer’s website, another email address is collected. Each time someone makes an online purchase, their email address is added to the database.

And at the cash register, often the cashier circles some verbiage on the receipt inviting the customer to partake in a survey and, at the same time, possibly win $1,000 in a monthly drawing. This is yet another method by which retailers collect email addresses.

Other retailers have popup windows on their websites inviting visitors to sign up for daily or weekly specials from the retailer. Here again, all this increases the size of the email database and the larger the email list, the more sales will be escalated via special offers and ongoing bouncing the consumer from the website to the store and back again to the website.

All of this is part of new retail, which takes advantage of the power of the internet and mobile marketing. It’s as if the smart phone has become the retailer’s best friend, provided that they know how to reap the advantages and minimize the disadvantages.

It all sounds like a surefire marketing plan—it is, with a few caveats:

  1. Having a large database is useless unless the information is kept secure, accurate and current.
  2. You use it prudently and regularly
  3. You don’t abuse the privilege of contacting the customer. If the retailer buries the consumer with a barrage of emails, then it is likely that the patron will add the retailer to their spam list or otherwise “unsubscribe” from further content.

In the ongoing war to generate sales and profits, and in the face of stiff competition, perhaps it’s time for you to take pause and seriously introspect about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of your website and how you are using the power of the internet. If you have a website but don’t take advantage of various bounce-back tools, you are leaving money on the table. If you want your consumer base to increase, as you must, then you need to get in step with these highly effective sales activities.

Be web proactive; it pays off in the new retail!

*This column originally appeared in the May/June 2014 print edition of Fishing Tackle Retailer.