High-End Retailers Reach Out: Tip-of-the-Day #186


If you think stores like Neiman Marcus and Tiffany & Co. are WAY out of your league, think again. Much like my article reporting that haggling in mainstream retail is becoming the norm, high-end retailers are willing to make deals now too. But not overtly. You aren't going to see ads in windows or mainstream newspapers touting huge savings. That would risk tarnishing the exclusivity of the store. Instead, the deals are coming through email and only landing in opted-in subscriber's in-boxes.

Customers who subscribe to emails from Neiman's, for instance, have been regularly invited to “midday dash” sales. The two-hour, online-only sales promise 50 percent off luxury goods that can be bought only by clicking on a link in the email message. Customers learn about the sale just hours before it begins - so if you don't check mail often, this deal's not for you. (FYI: This week’s “dash” featured a $697 Burberry handbag, marked down from $1,395. A Carmen Marc Valvo chiffon gown was $575, down from $1,150. And Cole Haan flats were $82, down from $165.)

At Tiffany & Company, they have lowered prices on diamond engagement rings about 10 percent. When the average ring runs around $10K, that's a $1000 savings! It won't be advertised though - it's only discretely offered to "preferred" customers.

Did you know that sales associates at luxury department stores are often empowered to give discounts of 10 percent (or more) to customers spending upward of a certain amount of money, usually $20,000 or $25,000? I know you and I might never spend that but in this economy, the discounts are given more often, to more people, and available to those spending far less than $25,000.

It is not uncommon now for retailers to send emails like the one Bloomingdale’s sent in April to its subscribers: “Today only! Take $500 off your regular-priced online purchase of $1,500 or more in the Men's Department.” That's nearly 40% off and it wasn't the day after Christmas.

Moral of this story: sign up to receive emails from luxury retailers and reap the rewards.

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