Which Brands Still Offer Online Holiday Discounts Despite Supply Chain and Labor Shortages?

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If you’re looking for online discounts and coupons this holiday season, you might notice that they are hard to come by. With a limited supply of products in stores due to the congestion at ports, combined with the shortage of workers needed to unload and transport those products, brands and retailers feel like they have less incentive to offer coupons this season.

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However, a new report by RevTrax noted that some retailers are still offering promotions in order to keep their loyal customers who may be more price sensitive with inflation occurring.

Jonathan Treiber, CEO of Revtrax, told GOBankingRates that with goods harder and slower to import — due to all the container ships backed up at most major US ports — retailers are having trouble maintaining predictable and sufficient inventory levels.

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“With a high demand among shoppers to spend this holiday season, retailers see demand outstripping supply and opportunity to generate higher margin sales for hard-to-find products,” Treiber said.

There are, however, some brands offering coupons through email signups this season, and they fall into one (or both) of two buckets. The first bucket includes brands that are prioritizing first party data acquisition, which has enterprise value above and beyond a single discounted sale. The other bucket consists of brands that are experiencing less supply chain and labor issues, which leads to confidence in supply and inventory levels, according to Treiber.

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The brands that are still offering coupons through email sign-ups include Bed, Bath and Beyond, Neiman Marcus and Walmart Plus, he said.

“What links these seemingly very different businesses is their commitment to building and growing their first party data asset, and they all understand that a sign-up discount is actually the least expensive way to acquire new names in their database compared to other methods,” he continued. “Many marketers will buy names for $1-5 per email. Offering a discount for a little more money with a guaranteed sale seems well worth the investment.”

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But what are the types of discounts being offered?

Many brands are offering lower or free shipping thresholds, or guaranteed delivery dates as compelling offers to consumers.

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“This works mostly for online businesses without physical stores, but has lots of benefits for consumers that are distinct from a price reduction and likely cost the brands less in terms of dollars -paying $5 more to guarantee 2-day delivery versus 10% off $100 purchase has half the cost but a different perception of convenience value to customers,” Treiber explained.

In this complicated landscape, brands should be asking for consumer data in exchange for one or more of the following categories: free services, personalized discounts, and contextually differentiated or improved experiences such as loyalty programs. For some luxury brands, for example, early access to specialty products may serve as a foundational value exchange, while for larger grocers, they may deploy a more traditional loyalty program as an incentive for the exchange, according to the report.

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“But for most brands across virtually every consumer vertical, personalized discounts can be a quick, easy-to-institute value exchange, particularly when it comes to email opt-ins,” the report stated.

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Some other brands that offer discounts for email op-tins, according to the report, include 1-800-Flowers, Under Armour and Adidas, which offer 15% for opting in; Land’s End, which offers 50% applied directly to the cart; Chico’s and Express, which offer 20% for opting in.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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