A sales manager at an electronics mall admitted to Tuoi Tre that it is not easy to attract consumers to retail stores and supermarkets at a time when most people are cutting spending.
“Our promotional programs are designed to give customers the sense that a great variety of products are on discount, while there are in fact only a few,” he said.
“Hence, customers may buy things that they did not initially intend to.”
In fact, such a trick can easily be observed in many electronics center around Ho Chi Minh City, which often run ads boasting phrases such as “most shocking price ever,” “giant discounts,” or “Big Sale – Big Bang,” while there are in fact only a few items being discounted.
Lured by these ads, many consumers have found themselves in an awkward situation in which the products they want to buy are not discounted, while those that are discounted are not appealing enough for them to open their pockets.
There are also cases in which a consumer asks a sales assistant about certain discounted products only to be informed that such items “are out of stock,” or “yet to arrive.”
The assistants then enthusiastically guide the consumer to other products in the same category, but without any discounts offered, something that many consumers said is very annoying.
For their part, the supermarkets have taken advantage of all occasions to offer shopping campaigns.
In almost every month of the year, promotional programs are regularly launched, in the names of either marking the supermarkets’ birthday, children’s day, or even the new academic year.
A supermarket even launched a shopping campaign titled “Warm Winter” in HCMC, where the climate is particularly hot all year round.
In fact, most of the consumers that have packed the electronics centers and supermarkets during the promotional time visit simply to window-shop.
“Few consumers actually buy things since most people now have shallow pockets,” a sales assistant at an electronic mall said.
Targeting new items
While the discounted prices are traditionally offered on electronic products and fashion garments, supermarkets and electronics centers are now putting other items such as rice and vegetables on discounts, in their race to attract consumers to their facilities.
Tu, a resident in District 11, said she regularly drops by a supermarket to buy meat, fish, and vegetables, since these items are being discounted.
But during her shopping there, Tu often buys other goods such as sugar, salt, and household products, even though they are more costly than those sold in stores on the street by up to several thousand dong.
Like Tu, many housewives have fallen into such traps at the supermarket.
A director of a supermarket said that most such stores are now focusing on running promotional programs covering fresh food and essentials commodities, rather than household products like in previous years.
“Thought profits earned from food commodities are not particularly high, it is an effective way of attracting consumers in the face of harsh competition,” he said.