When discounts don’t work

70485702.JPGToday I took a bunch of clothes I hadn’t worn for a while to the Tallinn re-use centre. It’s a fine social enterprise that accepts clothes and other items in reasonable condition, sells them or gives them to the people in need of clothes and uses profits from sales to educate school kids to reuse and recycle. After handing over an armful of T-shirts, jeans and sweaters the girl at the counter thanked me and handed over a thank you card. I took a quick look at the card before handing it back (to be used again, you know) and what got me thinking was that the card featured a small discount off my next purchase. I reckon that while the people buying stuff from the centre may be very price sensitive the people taking their stuff there are most probably not. What I think they could have done instead:

  • Taken my email address to engage me with newsletters in the future.
  • Taken my email address to send me information where the clothes I donated ended up, making my contribution more tangible.
  • Allowed me to pick a free book from the selection of donated books
  • Nothing. (In addition to the smiling thank you I got anyway). Promos may work wonders but they’re a hindrance if price sensitivity is near-zero.
  • Any other examples where discounts don’t work? 20% off your next wedding and 2-for-1 funerals come to mind.


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