UK wine retailer Threshers has posted a 60% increase in sales after a friends and family discount went viral last month.
The 40% discount vouchers were made available to download through a wide range of websites and blogs.
If so intended, the offer has generated huge interest. One website alone saw over 700,000 vouchers downloaded in one day.
‘We didn’t know we had so many friends and family,’ Threshers boss Roger Whiteside told decanter.com.
Whiteside declined to give specific figures surrounding the offer but did say that there had been a 60% increase in sales compared with the week before the promotion began.
Debate focused on whether this was a deliberate move on Threshers part, or a disingenuous miscalculation with the potential to cause major financial loss, reminiscent of the costly 1992 blunder by Hoover (which offered a free trans-Atlantic flight with every purchase over £100 and resulted in a pr disaster as disgruntled claimants threatened legal action, accusing Hoover of trying to avoid paying out on technicalities).
‘Their margins must be significantly higher than their competitors,’ said Richard Halstead of market researcher Wine Intelligence.
The promotion is based on single bottle prices, and supersedes Threshers’ permanent three-bottles-for-the-price-of-two offer. When compared, the 40%-off deal represents an additional 7% discount on the price of single bottle.
Nevertheless, it seems to have struck a chord with bargain-hunters.
‘Last week, the word “Threshers” appeared in the top 13% of terms entered into UK search engines,’ said Heather Hopkins at internet trend monitor Hitwise. ‘The week before, it didn’t even register in our data.’
Threshers insists that that no matter how many people take up the offer, which ends 10 December, it will still make money.
‘It’s a positive margin on every sale,’ said Whiteside. ‘Even if we make pennies on every bottle, it’s the volume that counts.’
Since the Threshers deal, Virgin Wines and Sainsbury’s have entered the fray, now offering certain cases of wine at 50% discount.
Written by Maggie Rosen