For weeks now, my wife has been coveting a purse and pair of leather loafers ever since she received a direct mailer featuring these two items from one of her favorite stores, Cole Haan.
She’s been a steadfast fan of Cole Haan since stumbling upon one of their stores in Minneapolis last year. On that day, she purchased a large hobo style purse and a pair of pumps that had the Nike Air technology built into them. It was the most she had paid for a purse and even the shoes were pricier than usual. But she planned to wear them at our son’s wedding, so she felt the indulgence was justified. I don’t know what it is with women and their shoes and purses, but she was overjoyed with her purchases and still is – making sure to put them in their protective bags when she’s not using them.
Since there is not a Cole Haan store near to where we live, it’s a common occurrence for my wife to search their website. Every once in awhile, she will splurge and treat herself to another “extravagant” Cole Haan product.
Now, I have already told my wife to just go and buy those shoes and purses, but unfortunately for Cole Haan, they have created a bit of a problem for themselves—a problem that many manufactures have gotten themselves into. A month or so ago, Cole Haan offered 20% off any purchases made and, ever since then, my wife refuses to pay full price for any of their products. In essence they taught her that there is always bargaining room off the original price. At this point, she has the mindset that she is being ripped off if she pays full price.
Which brings me to the point of coupons. Retailers should use them sparingly because, once the genie is out of the bottle, it’s hard to get her back in. In the case of Cole Haan, whose brand is luxury footwear and handbags, the use of coupons is anything but synonymous with luxury. In their case, it cheapens the brand. They already have the customers who aspire to what their brand represents. The very definition of luxury is something that is considered indulgent – coupons don’t fit here. My advice for fellow retailers: Know your brand and beware of the use of coupons.