#1. The sale with an enormous list of exclusions.
3rd party merchandise, cashmere, leather… got it. But when a brand’s most popular pants, all suiting, and even “new arrivals” aren’t up for the code, you risk a solid % of customers getting to the checkout screen to only “WTF”? their way out of your website.
#2. Outrageously high minimum spend sales
There’s been a lot of minimum spend sales lately, (y’know, save 20% on orders of $100 and up)… but once that threshold gets above $125, it starts to get obnoxious.
#3. The “save up to” sale… with hardly any goods reaching that highest %.
This is a classic in the skeezy car dealer realm. They put one junker of a car at a ridiculously low price, and then bullhorn on about “CARS STARTING AS LOW AS $500!!!!”. When a sale is advertised as “up to 40%” off, and it quickly becomes clear that hardly anything catches more than a 20% off markdown, it’s an eye roller.
#4. The “Select Items” sale
Somewhat like #1, only worse. There’s the “take an extra 30% off sale items” sales, which are fine, and then there’s the dreaded “select items” sale. That limits the scope even more severely, and 95% of the time, it’s a waste of time.
An unfortunate sale that combines #3 and #4.
#5. The Flash Sale Site with “markdowns” that are easily beat.
There’s an enormous mass of flash/timed/membership sites, and this doesn’t happen with all of them, but there have been plenty of instances where an item has had its price “slashed” on flash sale site XYZ, yet you can get it for significantly cheaper somewhere else. And that somewhere else (almost always a standard retailer) will have a much easier returns system, shipping is cheaper, and their views/pictures/description of the product is more in depth.
#6. The over promoted sale with zero inventory.
Closely related to #4, but more often than not this is an entire sale section marked down an extra 20% with a code. But there’s nothing in the sale section. Looking in the direction of Ralph Lauren among others. Look, if there’s an end of season clearance and your website has been picked over, one email… maybe two is good. Five emails, a social media campaign, smoke signals, and a flock of messenger pigeons screaming about drastic reductions on XXLs and size 7 shoes is overkill.
#7. The small window of time sale
“Shop from 9pm – 11pm ET and save during our night out online sale! This Sunday only!!!” Wha… no thanks.
BONUS #8. Black Friday… in person.
Most of the time, it’s just not worth it. Question: Is it ever worth it anymore?
The turkey hasn’t even moved into their large intestines yet.