December 3, 2006
viruses are unpredictable. That's why they're called "viruses"
A Thresher's shop manager left me the following comment earlier today:
I manage a Threshers in London.
Yesterday (Saturday), my store took more than in any single week so far this year. In one day!
The volume of sales was higher than any Christmas Eve I have traded.
We ran out of all Champagne and my wine range is now at about 30% availability. Four branches local to me ran out of carrier bags!
However, I was informed of the situation with the voucher only on Wednesday. My wine delivery was cancelled Friday, and my staffing bugdet allows only for single-manning, so i have been working twelve hour days in an effort to cope with the demand, which I cannot see letting up before next Saturday....
I don't imagine my business will be losing money at 40% discount, but neither will there be a profit worth shouting about...this voucher is the most effective publicity I think Thresher has ever had, but if it was an "intentional" leak, the lack of preparation and support for branch teams would make it a pretty cheap trick.
Still...its a bloody good deal for the consumer!
1. The deal was only offering a savings of approximately 10% more than their everyday, normal Buy-Two-Get-One-Free deal, yet some sort of tipping point was reached which made sales go utterly, utterly crazy. Why do you think that was?
2. Viruses are unpredictable. That's why they're called "viruses". That's why it's folly to think you can just craft one, like a TV commercial or magazine ad. Doesn't work that way.
3. I'm hoping this little Threshers episode will better educate Stormhoek's customers about The Cluetrain:
Posted by hugh macleod at December 3, 2006 12:23 PM
Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations.The world has changed etc.
Is Threshers a franchise business? The manager keeps saying "I" and "my business", which a non-owner manager of a regular chain probably wouldn't say.
I could see things like this hurting franchises, whereas chains will thrive on it, due not just to the lack of communication, but the bigger responsibility franchise unit owners have for 'their' business (and its budget / ordering / etc).
Peter, some are franchises, some are corporate-run. I believe most are the latter, though I'm not sure what the exact ratio is.
I think it would be unwise to underestimate the impact this event has had on the mainstream's view of the impact of community-based marketing. What will be perhaps more interesting to see now is the impact this has on other marketing tactics.
Will every other marketeer suddenly see blogs and viral marketing as the "new way" and be let down when it doesn't work quite as well as Thresher?
Without doubt, Threshers have first mover advantage, but how many milliondollarpixel websites tried to copy the first-mover concept and fell by the wayside?
As I have said before, make a deal appear good enough and it will work no matter who it is sent to but marketeers should be warned to rely on anything like the same results...unless they too are giving the stuff away!
I've been reading gapingvoid since August 2004,; don't ask me why, I'm not in marketing (OK, since reading you regularly I know that we ALL are!). I just found it a really good read that got me thinking about things in a different way - and the cartoons drew me here originally I think...;-)
The 'Threshers Episode' (as it will undoubtedly be cited on business courses for evermore) has been such an brilliant example of all you've been convincing me of over the last two years - my god, I even buy Stormhoek wines - you Svengali you!
I downloaded my voucher the day you posted about it. I didn't use it as I'd just got a truckload of booze from a wine club, But I sat back, out of interest, and waited until someone else told me about it. That finally happened in a phone call from a friend about the middle of last week. Bingo, the virus had spread in a mere five days - and via someone who never reads blogs to my knowledge...
Magic indeed - maybe the world really is changing...
This is is all about the cache of information, letting others in on the secret. I know something you don't know. Also as a way of justifying all that time spent staring a a screen its fantastic. These are the reasons that it is more popular than three for two.
Whether deliberate or otherwise is irrelevant. It seems to me there were several triggers:
Price was clearly something that people latched onto. 40% sounds great until you realise price competition still puts them ahead of Tesco on certain lines. But then who associates Threshers with this kind of thing?
Nevertheless, Threshers offers convenience because it's in the community in the first place. Something the giants forget. And which has various cost and price effects.
The air of mystique - is this real, is it a scam, jeez - it is for real all play a part in making the reader think they're in on something others are not.
Getting the word out was great and amplified these effects for a product that everyone wants - right now and which is sufficiently expensive for people to want a big discount. That's the real secret. Timing.
Low prices, every day just didn't cut it this week.