Unlocking Success: 6 Discount Strategies for Printing Companies

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Written by
Ella Faulkner
Internal Sales

To Discount or Not to Discount?

There are times when discounting can be a smart move to help nudge customers in your direction, remind a lapsed customer you’re there, increase the value of an order or say thank you.

Then there are times when discounting may not be helpful — or even harm your business over the long term.

So how do you know which is the right print discount strategy for you?

Which Print Discount Strategy?

Think of your printing discount strategy as the ‘why’ of the exercise. After all, there’s no point in discounting for discounting’s sake. There are numerous potential strategies for your discounting.  You might want to:

  • Make an impact (for example, when launching your business)
  • Increase your market share
  • Challenge the competition
  • Lock in customer loyalty

Of these, only the last strategy is largely risk-free and unconfrontational (that is, it doesn’t set you against any other print provider). Every discount has a cost to you, but the cost is easier to offset when you know the customer is going to keep spending with you.

Challenging the market, making an impact and challenging the competition — unlike discounting for loyalty — are confrontational strategies that can deliver big results, but they also present greater risk. Start a discounting war with a competitor who has deep pockets and a competitive spirit, for example, could cost you more than it earns.

Whatever your strategy, consider these tactics:

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6 Discount Strategies for Print Companies

1. The discount voucher

Finding customers is the first major challenge for every print business. It’s a challenge made more difficult by the fact that many potential customers will be loyal to their existing print supplier. They may have built up relationships and ways of working that span years.

It’ll take more than 10% off a first order to prise those people away from their current supplier.

For others, however, the relationship will be far less solid. Whatever reason they choose to use their existing printer (convenience, cost, geography, habit etc) a discount code could be enough to convince them to give you a try. And one opportunity may be all you need to create a loyal customer.

You could offer the discount via social media. Better still (given you’re a printer), if you’re targeting a geographic area, drop a leaflet into local businesses. It may even give you a chance to strike up conversations.    

2. The VIP card

You know how frustrating it is to have been a longstanding customer of any organisation and feel taken for granted. When the best insurance/mobile phone/broadband packages keep going to the newbies, it’s easy to feel as though a company doesn’t care about keeping you. It’s the same for print.

Offering ongoing discounts to reward loyalty — perhaps as part of a trade customer scheme; perhaps with a loyalty or VIP card (of the sort you might get in a coffee shop) that rewards either volume order or spend — can help ensure customers feel that they’ll always get the best deal with you.

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3. The products specific discount code

Two of the challenges of launching a new service are that i) you need to let customers know what the service is and ii) you need to encourage them to give it a try.

A discount targeted specifically at the new product can help do that and has the advantage of ensuring that you tightly control the costs of the campaign.

4. Seasonal discounts

You know when your peak season is, and you would probably never consider discounting during it because you simply don’t need to.

But you may also have a quieter period when you need to drum up additional business to keep your print shop team busy. Targeting discounts at those quieter periods can help support this.

If you have a quiet month or quarter, consider running a campaign throughout the period, increasing the discounts or benefits with each additional order.

5. Bulk buys

A simple but effective way of driving volume business is to discount larger order quantities or values. Always be aware of your print shop’s capability to deliver. There’s no point offering discounts on volumes you’d struggle to service.

6. The ‘thank you’ discount

Offer your customer a discount on their birthday, at Christmas, on the anniversary of them opening your account with you – or just because.

It’s a great loyalty builder (or loyalty retainer), but it’s also a good way to encourage lapsed customers, that is, those who haven’t shopped with you in a while, to give you another try.

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The Most Important Print Discount Strategy of All?

Don’t discount if you don’t have to

Money off isn’t always the answer. Too much discounting too regularly will give your print company a reputation as a discounter – and that can be a tough reputation to shake.

It’s good to use discounting as part of a range of measures to win and retain customers. Discover alternative strategies to discounting.

And if your discounting is having the desired effect and bringing lots more business your way, you’ll need, talk to us.

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