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5.02.2013

Research Report: Time Limited Sales Effective for Acquiring New Customers And Customers Compare Prices Both On Site and At Other Sites Before Buying

Just System Inc's online survey service Fastask released a report on findings on consumer behavior and attitudes towards Time Limited Online Sales.

A total of 750 responses were collated from people who have actually shopped at an e-commerce site offering time limited sales; 150 each from each age group from those in their 20s through to 60s.


















Overall, 77.5% of respondents actively seek out time limited sales information on one or more e-commerce sites.

Their preferred mode of acquiring that information is by registering for e-mail updates (78.0%) as well as regularly visiting the sites (68.2%).

In terms of the now popular "Big 3 SNS services" of Facebook, Twitter, and LINE, 12.0% said they are fans of their favorite companies on Facebook, 10.2% follow the official Twitter accounts, and only 7.2% said they befriend the brands on LINE. This may merely be a reflection of the take up of the services by the brands and companies themselves. LINE's official accounts are far fewer than those for Twitter or Facebook. 

Time Limited Sales Attracts New Loyal Regulars?
Interestingly, for e-commerce sites that the respondents used for the first time through time limited sales, only 20.4% said they will not or are likely to not go back to the site to shop at other times. 60.8% said that they will go back to the site to see if they are offering time limited discounts again in the future.

Combine this finding with the preferred method of gathering information on time limited sales, and it is obvious that such events enables a site to beef up their mailing list. 

Furthermore, 63.6% said that if they shopped for the first time at a site through a time limited sale, they are likely to go back to that site to shop even when there are no such time limited offers available.

Is this percentage worth the "cost" of acquiring these customers?

In terms of sites that they are familiar with, 53.3% said that if they take advantage of time limited sales on that site, they may visit that site more frequently in the future. Only 21.9% said that shopping at time limited sales on such sites means that in the future, they are likely to only shop while such offers are available on that site.

53.5% Say Securing Bargains is Worth Sharing on Social Networks
Asked if they tend to share the excitement about buying something at a time limited sale, 12.3% said they "strongly agree" and 31.2% said they "somewhat agree." 21.3% were neutral and 35.2% said they tend not to share or that they do not share such information with friends.

Not surprisingly, sharing tendencies were higher among those in their 20s and 30s (see below)








Purchase Drivers - The Time Left or Quantities?
According to the responses, the amount of time left and the quantities of goods left are equally impactful as purchase decision drivers.

The pie charts below show the overall average responses, but it may be worth noting that for those in their 20s and 30s, they are 38.7% and 38.0% accordingly, more likely to purchase something if the time left or quantities available become sparse at a time limited sale, which is higher than the other age groups. (The percentages are a total of those who said "strongly agree" and "somewhat agree" for these age groups.)



















What Do They Expect/Want in a Time Limited Sale?
1) Does a time limited sale imply to them that the goods are more discounted than otherwise?
75.7% said yes.
And 69.7% said they would actually check other sites for the prices of the same goods before deciding whether to buy at that site or not.
75.7% said they would check the regular selling price (not the recommended retail price), i.e. the price at which the goods are sold when the time limited sale is not on, before making the purchasing decision.

Note that transparency is king here, and note that the consumers have a tool that enables them to do the necessary research in only a few clicks.

2) Do they use these time limited sales to acquire goods to re-sell at auctions?
69.6% said no.


3) Do they want shorter sales periods in exchange for steeper discounts?
46.6% said yes and 37.6% said they were netural about that.

4) Are time limited sales "unfair" because the only variable is timing?
29.3% said yes, and 39.5% said they feel neutral.

5) Would they accept additional discounts in exchange for paying COD (cash on delivery) or making an electronic money transfer payment directly from their accounts in advance?
33.9% said yes and 26.1% were neutral.

Perhaps it is very characteristic of Japan that more than 30% of buyers are comfortable with paying in advance or paying COD. It may be worth noting that COD handling charges are often passed on directly to the consumer. Private courier Yamato's collection service starts at 315 yen per transaction for lower priced items under 10,000 yen; then goes up to 420 yen for shipments priced 10,000 yen to under 30,000 yen; and so on. Amazon Japan's COD charges are much steeper to discourage this payment method, however. 

For more details see: http://www.yamatofinancial.jp/en/service/por/index.html


6) Would it be attractive to be able to secure an item for 24 hours before making the purchase?
(A service quite common in brick and mortar stores)
59.5% said yes and 21.3% said they are netural to this.

7) If the last remaining item at a time certain sale was available on auction starting from 0 yen, would that be appealing?
63.2% said no, and 23.9% said they are neutral to this.

8) Of the currently available discount items, what do you find attractive? (multiple answers)
1. Outlet sales and second rate quality discounts   72.0%
2. 10x, 5x and other additional loyalty points sales   68.1%
3. Discount coupons   59.2%
4. Limited period sales that last more than 24 hours   56.1%
5. Time limited sales that are under 24 hours   57.9%
6. Free shipping over a certain purchase value   54.5%
7. Discounts based on promises to write reviews after purchase   41.7%
8. Limited quantities only sales   39.9%
9. Multiple purchase sales (purchasing more than one item)   29.2%
10. Mobile phone only sales   11.9%
11. None of these appeal to me   2.7%

9) Of the items chosen in 8) above, which is THE MOST attractive discount practice for you?
1. Outlet sales and second rate quality discounts  31.0%
2. 10x, 5x and other additional loyalty points sales   21.1%
3. Discount coupons   13.0%
4. Limited period sales that last more than 24 hours   8.1%
5. Time limited sales that are under 24 hours   7.7%
6. Free shipping over a certain purchase value   7.3%
7. Discounts based on promises to write reviews after purchase   5.3%
8. Limited quantities only sales   4.2%
9. Multiple purchase sales (purchasing more than one item)   1.9%
10. Mobile phone only sales   0.4%
11. None of these appeal to me   0%

There were no variances among age groups for 9) above up to number 3, but perhaps it is worth noting that for those in their 30s and 40s, "discounts based on promises to write reviews after purchase" rated 5th and 4th accordingly and free shipping ovr a certain purchase value rated 4th or 5th for those in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.

Food and Beverages are the Most Popular Purchase Items at Time Limited Sales
In the multiple answers section for items purchased, food and beverages ranked highest at 46.0% of respondents having purchased such an item.

The other items rated as follows:
2. Fashion Items   37.6%
3. Sundry goods   37.2%
4. Electric appliances 30.4%
5. Computers and accessories   29.2%
6. Cosmetics 14.9%
7. Sports and outdoor goods   12.4%
8. DVDs and CDs   12.0%
9. Books and magazines   11.1%
10. Others   6.1%

Once again, it is worth noting that for those in their 20s and 30s, fashion items rank the highest at 54.0% and 50,0% accordingly.

It is also interesting to note that for those in their 60s, food and beverages rated 61.3% and was by far the highest with sundry gods at 38.0% and computers and accessories at 29.3% ranking at distant numbers 2 and 3.


In the future, items they want to purchase rated as follows:

1. Sundry goods   54.5%
2. Food and beverages   53.5%
3. Electric appliances   51.3%
4. Computers and accessories   46.5%
5. Fashion items   43.3%
6. DVDs and CDs   29.7%
7. Books and magazines   28.9%
8. Cosmetics   25.5%
9. Sports and outdoor goods   20.3%
10. Others   3.3%

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Reference: Original Japanese report PDF download page: http://selectbox.shoeisha.jp/article/278

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