It seems I’ve been living under a rock and missed the launch of Heartsy a few weeks ago.
Heartsy is a Groupon-type site for makers & artists. There are a few deals per day – which range from 50-90% off retail prices. I have to say, despite my pleas for spending more on your stuff, I love this (in theory). I love the exposure it could create for makers, the new hearts it could expose to handmade goods, the opportunities to “try” before you invest, and the word-of-mouth that could be generated.
When I shared my opinion on Twitter, people were taken off guard. How could I be into this?
In the video above, I share my big reason:
There’s a difference between a discount and discount culture.
Namely, discount culture – as espoused by Walmart and other big box retailers – hurts every one in the supply chain from the makers to the shippers to the retail workers to the shoppers. A discount, when used strategically, can be a great way to build cash flow and introduce new customers to your product.
Although my product base is quite different, I use discounting for exactly that reason and it works well for me.
I also share my (perhaps somewhat unique) experience of really using Groupon to try out new things at a discount and then coming back for more & more at full price. I might be an exception but I’m the kind of exception you really want in your customer base. And I have a feeling there are more of me than you might think.
So what other reasons are there to like this crazy discount idea?
- Advertising is expensive and doesn’t always convert.
- Getting your product into people’s hands means more people offline can see it.
- Goods should be priced for profit at wholesale, not retail, so any loss is minimal at worst.
- Makers can build lists of qualified buyers who can then be up sold to easily in the future.
I have more. Ask Megan.
Sure, there are plenty of ways this whole scheme could go horribly, horribly wrong. There will be a lot of people who get burned. But I don’t see that as Heartsy’s fault.
While some may use the site get a cheap handmade thrill, it’s unfair to assume that shoppers can’t discern the difference between a one time deal and the value of the goods they’re consuming. Shoppers are getting over discount culture but that doesn’t mean they grab a discount!
Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the makers & artists who use the site as a marketing vehicle to develop great relationships with their buyers. It is the makers’ responsibility to celebrate maker culture as opposed to discount culture.
Heartsy should be used from a place of power, for both buyers & makers, not a place of desperation.
So, what do you think? Can makers who price properly benefit from this type of discount exposure?
Also recently wrote about the trouble of underselling (or why “discomfort” is a terrible pricing strategy) on Oh My Handmade.