New HTK Products Aim to Make Promotions More Strategic and Personalized

Just because a customer qualifies for a promotional offer, says HTK’s Pete Thompson, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea to send them one.

“Sometimes it’s not good for a retailer’s bottom line,” says Thompson, HTK’s chief product officer who is tasked with delivering the vision and strategy for the HTK product suite.

He has seen too many times where a ‘blanket discount’ is sent to customers — or as HTK says, “scattered like confetti” — when in actuality, many of those customers or prospects would have paid full price for the product or service offered.

It’s what Thompson and HTK say will often destroy a brand’s real value, and creates a ‘discount culture’ amongst its customers. That’s why the company is getting ready to launch Horizon SalesLift, a platform that predicts a customer’s discount sensitivity and likelihood to buy, thus ensuring offers only go to those who need the extra incentive.

“If brands are going to look at promotions, then they need to look at it as an ongoing business strategy,” Thompson says. “They really need to figure out how to determine which customers a discount is best suited for – is that customer due to purchase that product? Will they buy it at full price or do they always wait for a discount? Those are the kinds of purchase factors brands should be considering.”

Promotions As A Strategic Tool
Horizon SalesLift is designed to use promotions as a strategic tool, to increase basket size, build loyalty or motivate customers who wouldn’t otherwise purchase.

HTK uses algorithms to determine many things, including finding out whether it is time for a particular customer to purchase a certain product again, which means there is likely no need to incentivize their purchase.
“If they are due to buy, then let the customer buy it at full price – and consider a cross-sell or up-sell promotion instead. If someone is going to buy at full price, then it doesn’t make sense to send them a 50% off promotion,” Thompson says. “You’ve just reduced your revenue, and that is not a smart thing to do. If it’s gone past the date they usually buy, then a plan can be made to incentivize, to draw them back in.”

Discount sensitivity is one element that is used to optimize the promotional targeting of customers. Horizon SalesLift also looks at data before, during and after the promotional period to automatically measure the financial impact of each promotion, allowing retailers to fine-tune promotions in a way that boosts revenue and creates added value. According to Thompson, it’s important that brands consider the potential for pull-forward of sales and the cannibalization of other product lines when planning who gets what offer. Agility is also essential – the ability to react to incoming data and insight in order to continually optimize the promotional strategy and drive maximum uplift in sales revenue, profitability, customer acquisition and retention.

When to Offer Discounts and Promotions
Thompson says in the current COVID environment, some retailers are overreaching when it comes to trying to reengage customers, which includes relying too heavily on discounts and promotions.
“We’ve seen some retailers who think they need to lower the price of everything they have, and really get incentives out there in the market,” he says. “They really want to drive people back in, but the bigger question is who are the customers out there, and who is it you really want to drive back in?”

Horizon SalesLift was born out of a desire to give brands greater visibility into the impact of their promotions strategy and maximize their ROI.

HTK started by looking at traditional life-cycle statistics — for example, if a customer had not transacted within 90 days — but realized that it was too much of a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the problem of reengagement. Instead, Horizon SalesLift uses a combination of algorithms and analytics to decipher when a customer might be coming back for another purchase.

Thompson says that utilizing the platform doesn’t mean that a client’s most consistent shoppers shouldn’t be rewarded for their loyalty. Those incentives could come in the way of free shipping, exclusive offers, or a tactic to increase new customer referrals. He says the right gesture can go a long way towards building emotional loyalty and increasing lifetime value.

For example, Thompson suggests, suppose a certain customer isn’t particularly price-sensitive and is due to buy in the next two weeks. Rather than a discount, Horizon SalesLift might recommend he get a cross-sell offer on a relevant product. Another customer, however, likes a good bargain and has missed their expected purchase date; Thompson says a 15% discount offer is just what they need to hit ‘Add to Cart’ next time around.
Ultimately, in HTK’s view, the key to a good promotions strategy is having the right data and the right intelligence behind the scenes. Working out which customers should (or shouldn’t) have a particular offer is really a job for an algorithm, which is why Thompson feels Horizon SalesLift meets a real need in the market.
To find out more about Horizon SalesLift, visit

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