Back in 2009 I wrote an article on increasing average spend citing the creation of the Wilkos 97p shop. Many aspects of this blog have witnessed the web evolve and run with some ideas and drop others. At the time the 97p shop was a novelty, now some 5 years later the $1 or £1 departments are extremely common across ecommerce websites across the web. These are both an easy and powerful tool in driving an uplift in average basket value. As every seasoned online retailer knows it is absolutely crucial to increase the average balance of your online shopping trolley if you're to make the difference between a profitable or loss making retailer. They are so effective as a revenue driver because they are so flexible, you can deploy them at the front end of the sales funnel or in the checkout process. Both are effective strategies. Adding low value items to your basket is the obvious method as the customer has already broken through any 'objections' or 'resistance factors' to purchase and adding ancillaries is exactly the same as checking out in a bricks and mortar shop. Shiny, low value items at the checkout draw us in and we spend less time considering the purchase decision as the mayor hurdle has already been breached with your other items in the trolley.
When deployed up front as in the case of Viking Direct we can see it is selling message that they have office supplies that even the most modest of wallets can afford and are breaking down the purchase resistance right at the start of the journey. Either way, if you're in retail deploying this technique in your Optimisation toolkit is highly likely to yield dividends as the last 5 years has proven.
It's interesting to note that Wilkos themselves have abandoned there 97p shop. However the phenomena has perforated very much into the world of online movie rentals.The likes of iTunes, Amazon or previously LoveFilm, Blockbuster (now defunct) and currently BlinkBox have all had their 99c or 99p rental sections although here the act of movie rental is a departure from the rest of retail as the primary product is the movie rental/sale. What it is still doing is breaking down resistance. Someone who hasn't rented online before might be willing to try the experience for a modest outlay. Additionally it helps to keep those already on boarded in the practice of renting. Again it's a win-win selling and marketing technique.