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  • Gambar penulisIrvan Irawan Jie

Malls… *sigh…

Ok, having spent most of my working days mall hopping in Jakarta, I found an inconvenient truth. Indonesians love their discount shopping spree… every malls I’ve visited had a discount program of some sort. Either a midnight sale, promotion area for the so called “branded” sale, department store sales, buy one get one, use “so and so” card and get another added discount, or even a proposed 50% and up to 70% sale for the whole mall during Christmas and New Year shopping season. True that everybody loves getting a good quality item for a bargain, even some expert comments from the people at the seminar I attended suggested a room full of mall employees, in this time of crisis they can depend on the big red “SALE” sign to get through.

It might be good for them, but that comment was very irresponsible, especially for us vendors. In my opinion, there are two kinds of “SALE.” A bad “SALE” is where it will trained the customers to hold off their shopping until there is a “SALE” sign, thus indirectly killing the vendors. A “SALE” is good for short term profit, but it is very bad for our long term survival. When a brand is associated with a “SALE” then those brands will not be able to sell their new arrivals for a few months, until that big red “SALE” sign appears in front of them. I feel sorry for the brand managers that work so hard to maintain their brand image but tarnished by the Mall’s “sincere” attempt to help them to make a sale with those mentioned promotion programs.

Mind you, promotion is not about a “SALE” sign; promotion is where you can give the customers an added value to actually pay for the asking price. Promotion is when you frame a story that fit the customers “world view” thus swaying the customer to actually get the item because they want to. A “SALE” is good only when you actually have to clear your stocks, when you have to sell a new arrival with a “SALE” is very unhealthy.

I must admit that there are some vendors who cheated on their pricing. Before they give you a “SALE” they’ve already increased their MSRP, thus offsetting the “SALE” discount value. But, do you still want to support those brands? What about the honest and truthful brands that never cheats on you? If you like a brand, and would like to see the brand in the future, then it is justified to support them.

Here’s my thought for the brand managers, my college professor once told me, business is all about profit, without profit you’ll die. When you have a “SALE” just because a mall wants you to, aren’t you cutting your profit and killing yourself slowly? Especially during this hard time, when the global economy crisis has not seen it’s worse yet. Prices, labor cost, operation cost, and other costs are rising but why the hell do you want to cut your profit?

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