By Clark Turner
A novel sales promotion mechanic used for the first time by a fashion retailer has drawn thousands of shoppers prompting a near-riot.
The ‘Beat the Clock’ sale, organised by Northern Ireland streetwear fashion independent Clockwork Orange, meant that the cost of each item was based on the time of purchase.
So, for example, each item of fashion purchased at 5.00am would be sold for £5 –whether a T-Shirt originally priced at £30 or a leather jacket at £300.
The promotion was held to mark the opening of a new store at the Junction One retail outlet in Antrim – the tenth in the region for the chain.
‘Beat the Clock’ promotions have been common in the restaurant industry but this is believed to be the first time a fashion retailer has used the mechanic.
Clockwork Orange Product Manager, Will McCooke, told UTalkMarketing, “We’re already a massive brand in Northern Ireland and saw this as a way to clear stock while raising brand awareness and positioning ourselves as forward thinking and fun retailer.
Minimal marketing outlay delivered ROI way and beyond expectations. Promotional activity included e-mail marketing to a VIP database of 3,000, a week’s worth of local radio promotion, a billboard at the Retail Park and PR generated in advance in regional press. This was backed by posters and flyers distributed though other stores in the chain.
Will said, “We’d never done this kind of thing before so were unsure what the turnout would be like but on the week before we were getting a lot of interested calls, so knew there was degree of awareness out there.”
Shoppers began queuing from 9.00 pm, the evening before the sale. By 4.00 am, Will estimates there were 1,000 cars at the retail park and around 2,000 bargain hunters waiting for the 5.00 am opening.
Primeval scenes ensued when the doors opened. Girls were seen on their hands and knees grabbing clothes while mannequins were stripped of their clothing.
Worried staff called in police amid fears they would not be able to control the thousands of shoppers.
Police said scuffles broke out among the crowds after groups of people tried to queue jump. One man was arrested for disorderly behaviour.
The shop remained open for the full working day until 6.00.pm and sold 5,000 units of clothing altogether – 10 times more sales than on a regular day!
It’s unquestionably been a financial success for the company but it’s generated some great PR for them too, far and beyond the regional press in Northern Ireland.
Will concluded, “It was three or four days hard work but we like to reward our loyal customers and we’d definitely consider doing this again.”
On going marketing activity for the retailer includes customer promotional nights, fashion show and hosting club nights.
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