Should Online Retailers Offer Senior and Military Discounts?

Policies for particular consumer groups, like senior citizens and people with military service, can help online retailers increase sales and build loyalty. But offering these kinds of discounts on the internet can be tricky to handle and might impact long-term profit.

Retail marketers have different notions about how nicely discounts operate and when retail reductions should be used.

Discounts Should Meet Business Needs

At one extreme, some specialists think that companies should never, under any circumstance, provide discounts on goods. Derek Halpern, the creator of Social Triggers, a marketing agency, dislikes discounts. Addressing a general business audience in a movie, Halpern argues that the short-term earnings increases a discount can supply are not worth the long-term harm done to a company’s profit and reputation.

Halpern, in this movie, uses the example of brick-and-click merchant J.C. Penney, which, he claims, had become so determined by product discounts that when it attempted to change its pricing model to offer everyday low prices, it failed. J.C. Penney clients had become addicted to the discounting. No one trusted the shop’s regular prices, according to Halpern.

Notwithstanding the arguments against ignoring, in retail, reductions, such as closeouts or alike, are often required for cash flow direction or even to make space available for newer, better selling goods. Thus, the most pragmatic and practical position regarding retail reductions may be to utilize discounts whenever they meet a particular business need and could be measured to ensure they’re meeting that need.

Bearing this in mind, senior citizen discounts and army service discounts might be a way that online retailers can both boost sales and build customer relationships, presuming that boosting sales and building relationships with these classes are business objectives.

Seniors and Military Personnel Seek Discounts

Senior citizens and people who’ve served in the army might be more prone to search for discounts.

There are, perhaps, two reasons for it.

First, so many companies offer discounts or special offers for senior citizens or active military and retired military personnel that these groups have just learned to ask.

A quick Google search for”senior discount” yields more than 126 million outcomes. And websites such as and even the catalogue of the AARP — previously, American Association of Retired Persons — provides discounts for senior shoppers. claims to have over 250,000 listings for discount offers at retailers, restaurants, and similar.

… so many companies offer discounts or special offers for senior citizens or active military and retired military personnel that these groups have just learned to ask.

Secondly, senior citizens and military personnel may have relatively lower incomes and, thus, might need to be a bit more frugal, searching for discounts whenever possible. By way of instance, at 2016 that a U.S. Army E5 sergeant with five decades of service earns $2,797.80 per month in basic pay or $33,573.60 yearly as a base. The U.S. median household income is about $52,000. Thus, income can encourage these shoppers to search for discounts.

Seniors and Military Personnel Are Loyal Shoppers

When senior citizens or people qualified for a military discount do locate a shop offering a bargain, they tend to become loyal shoppers.

A multichannel merchant in the northwestern U.S., by way of instance, often doubles or triples its average daily earnings on Tuesdays. Why are Tuesdays so powerful for this retailer’s sales? It’s because the company delivers a 10-percent reduction to senior shoppers. And regardless of the cost of the reduction, Tuesdays generate the most revenue of any day of the week. Even when mature Tuesdays are compared to Saturdays, which are typically very powerful for retailers with physical stores, Tuesdays triumph for this merchant.

The senior shoppers know that they can find a discount on Tuesday; these shoppers are extremely loyal to the merchant. If it’s a goal to improve customer loyalty and encourage regular visits, a senior reduction might help.

It might be the case that online retailers always offering a military or senior reduction could create loyal shopping habits which would be worth more than the cost of ignoring goods.

Seniors and Military Personnel Share Buying Experiences

Word of mouth marketing is a highly effective means to promote a company. And senior citizens and military families are highly-networked, social-sharing machines, which, when endeared to a merchant, can help promote that merchant to others.

Online retailers could test to find out whether their army or senior discounts were, in actuality, bringing in new clients. By way of example, a merchant could add a”How did you hear about us?” Provide as a follow up for each new client utilizing the military or senior discount. When one of those new clients makes a first purchase, she receives an email asking how she learned about the merchant. Include as a possible response”A friend told me about your reduction.”

Discounts As a Competitive Necessity

Based on which retail section a merchant functions, offering a military or senior discount might be a competitive edge or a competitive requirement.

By way of instance, envision a senior citizen shopping for a new set of Calphalon cookware. A 13-piece pair of stainless steel Calphalon pots and pans can be obtained at Kohl’s for a regular price of $499.99. Ignore for a minute that Kohl’s is a frequent discounter and that nearly everything the business carries goes off or on sale almost weekly, and this senior shopper can still get these Calphalon pots and pans in a discount. Each Wednesday, Kohl’s physical shops give senior shoppers 15 percent off on several things, meaning that a senior could save almost $75.

Senior shoppers could save 75 buying this cookware on a Wednesday at one of Kohl’s physical shops.

A merchant in direct competition with Kohl’s may find it necessary to give a similar senior reduction to be aggressive.

Offering Senior, Military Discounts Online Creates Problems

Offering group-based discounts does, however, create some issues.

By way of instance, how will an internet retailer verify that a specific shopper is, in actuality, a senior citizen or is active duty military?

In a physical store, a cashier can ask to see a driver’s license or, in some instances, request the shopper to present a military identification. But this might not be sensible online.

Similarly, some suppliers won’t allow online retailers to discount their merchandise online. This forces online sellers to publish a long list of exceptions together with information about a military and senior discount.

Summing Up

For many retailers, offering a military or senior discount could be a means to engage a loyal consumer section. But offering those discounts can create difficulties. Study your retail business segment and decide whether a military or senior discount could help your company, or not.

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