The original blog post below was published on Mar 25, 2023. It was updated to a podcast episode on Jun 8, 2023.
Why do you feel so guilty asking your audience to pay full price for your items? It almost feels as though they are doing you a favor by placing an order with your small business. Assuming you do list your product for full price, it may feel like no one will shop your items despite the fact they do shop boutique prices for graphic tees.
I have been there.
We must work to shift our mindsets so that we don’t need to run sales to sell products all of the time. There are five reasons why always running sales is actually hurting your business:
#1 You’re devaluing your brand and the brand next door.
Your price point is how you communicate what your product is worth. By continually lowering the price or keeping the prices lower, you are reinforcing the true value of the product. When you attempt to sell at full price, it will appear your prices are inflated leading to less individuals willing to shop full price.
Brands and companies set prices based on the location, cost of goods and local companies. When you drive prices down consistently, it makes it harder for the next brand to sell as well with a healthy profit margin because it trains the customer to expect more for less. Eventually those businesses can’t sustain a healthy profit margin and close doors.
#2 You’re encouraging customers to wait for sales.
I wait for sales at stores that I know have predictable sales rotation such as rotating what is 50% OFF each week. However, stores that don’t have a predictable rotation of sales, I shop at any time as I know I need the item soon and can’t guess when the opportunity to save money is coming, if ever.
If you’re constantly running sales on your t-shirts, you’re teaching your customers to wait for a sale before making a purchase. This can lead to lost revenue and cause long term damage if customers are always waiting to shop. Limiting your sales reminds your customers to get in on deals when they see one because they know they don’t come often.
#3 You’re eating into your profits.
Running a sale may provide additional revenue, but at what cost? Selling a screen printed tee for $7 will provide roughly $6.50 in gross sales (after transaction fees), but what about your net sales? How much did that tee and print cost you? After balancing your books, you realize, you actually made nothing from all of that work you did. You would have been better off, never stocking up on inventory and never making the shirt in the first place. You are left with the same amount in your business bank account.
Imagine selling that same tee for $25. Roughly $13 profit even if you sell less tees. Running sales constantly is a zero-sum game.
#4 You’re creating an unsustainable business model.
Following along with #3, consistently running sales is not a viable business strategy. When calculating profit margin, creators often only account for the raw materials when pricing their products… but what about your operating costs? Your website? Email Service Provider? Canva subscription? Those are real costs that need to be covered by generated income as well.
If you are looking to make tees for a hobby for a year or two and then call it quits, running sales constantly will put you on that path.
#5 You’re creating unnecessary stress.
Running a handmade business is not as simple as posting a product on your website and the floodgates of orders open. Inevitably, customers have questions about sizing, color or print that require an amount of customer service to close the deal. The time spent answering customer service inquiries, along with ordering supplies in the long run may not be worth your time for a buck or two.
Brainstorming sales, putting together the events and outline takes time. If you are relying only on fun sales events to sell… that will take a lot of effort, quite frankly it’s unnecessary effort. Create a standard weekly drop routine that takes the guesswork out of the equation. Weekly drops keep your audience guessing without trying to track down what day is the next sale.
If you need help planning weekly drops, check out the Product Drop Organizer which has captured all monthly, weekly, daily observances and weekly themes for you.
Subtle changes compound into big profit shifts in your business! It’s time to break the sales-only mentality to grow your business. It’s time to level up your mindset.
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