If you’re thinking of having a discount or a sale, and you sell WordPress Plugins or WordPress Themes, you may wish to consider the un-intended side-effects.

Why sales exist in the physical world

Sales became a thing in the physical world of retail to help move old inventory off the shelves to make space for new inventory coming in. Storing a bunch of stuff on a shelf costs money, and the longer it sits on the shelf, the less profitable it becomes. Therefore, having a sale is a great way to clear old inventory out.

But Plugins and Themes do not take up space on a shelf.

WordPress Themes and Plugins are not physical products that take up space on a shelf. They are digital products, and selling them doesn’t mean they stop taking up space on the server. In actuality, by storing 1 copy of the plugin/theme, you’re storing an infinite number of them, because they are simply copied each time. Therefore, sales don’t help to clear-up-space on any shelves, or server hard-drives. And whether they’ve voiced it or not, your customers know it. 

The unintended messages you send when you have a sale

Message 1: “We overcharge. This WordPress Plugin/Theme isn’t actually worth what we charge for it normally.”

If you have a sale on a digital product, it shows that you’re able to charge less for a product that doesn’t take up any space. It tells your customers that your prices are too high, and can make you look greedy. 

Message 2: “Don’t buy now. You should wait to buy until it goes on sale again.”

When you are constantly having sales and offering discounts, you’re unintentionally telling your customers not to buy unless there’s a sale happening. Your customers are aware of how often you have sales, and if you’re not running one, they’ll be more likely to wait around for the next sale. The problem is, they may never actually come back, and you risk losing a customer. 

Message 3: “We are not a premium brand, we are a discount brand.”

When people look at your brand as a discount brand, it cheapens your value. Some people will expect to pay a low price, and others will expect to get a low-quality product.

When people expect to pay a low price, it becomes more difficult for you to make a profit. Eventually, low prices can become too low and drive you completely out of business, as your support team struggles to keep up with the ever-rising number of customers you have. 

For other, more savvy shoppers, the expectation of low quality could drive them away to your competitors, and they might be willing to pay more there because of the assumed higher quality.

What about running infinite sales?

There’s a technique that some online stores use, which is to run sales 100% of the time. The idea is to prompt the customer to buy because they can take advantage of a great deal! While this may work at first, ultimately you’d be lying to your customers. An infinite sale is not a sale at all. It’s telling lies to your customers in order to trick them into making a purchase. If you want long-term customers that trust you, this is probably not a good idea. 

Choose the type of brand you wish to be

Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the type of brand you’d like to be. If you want to build a base of customers that value your product enough to pay what it’s worth, trust you with their websites, their businesses, and their money, and keep coming back year-after-year, it’s worth considering the benefits of positioning yourself as a premium brand. 

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