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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

VAT rise to increases marketing focus

Monday November 15 2010

Research carried out by affiliate advertising network finds increased use of targeted marketing campaigns in response to looming tax hike

Research carried out by affiliate advertising network finds increased use of targeted marketing campaigns in response to looming tax hike


On the 1 January, the UK’s rate of VAT will rise to 20%. Research released by affiliate network LinkShare has revealed that targeted marketing campaigns will be the most effective way to win business in the post-raise world.


Nearly a third (30%) of marketers surveyed by LinkShare at London ad:tech 2010 event claimed that mass marketing techniques will give way to individualised campaigns as a result in 2011.


Another 18% expect to see an increased emphasis on measurement and return on investment, already watchwords of the post-recession environment. One in five also said that advertisers will have to look for more efficient and results-driven online marketing techniques to redress the balance of reduced marketing budgets.


For consumers the network said this will mean a visible increase on the bottom line of everything from day-to-day purchases to white goods, cars and houses. But for retailers the impact is still to be seen, with some commentators claiming that consumer spending will be affected and that sales may suffer, either online or instore.


Mitigating potential sales drain


LinkShare believes that the VAT rise doesn’t have to have a negative impact on retailers: in fact, for some, it said the rise will offer an opportunity to build relationships with their consumers and demonstrate a new level of value.


“One of the biggest motivating factors for online shoppers is value,” said Liane Dietrich, LinkShare UK managing director. “Whether it’s a straight price comparison or an extra bonus in terms of free shipping or gifts, there is a strong perception that online offers a better range of options than the High Street. The increased VAT rate can be another string to this bow – retailers who choose to offset or absorb the VAT increase could stand to benefit not just from an increase in sales but also in greater customer loyalty.”


The research also showed that one in three (37%) consumers will curb their spending habits once the rise kicks in. With companies like Sony already focusing on the pre-Christmas sales period with VAT-back offers and incentives, the company said this indicates that the retail community clearly feels that now is the time to start engaging over the question of imminent price increases.


Make the most of January sales


Absorbing the increase is not the only way for retailers to handle the increase. Dietrich noted: “One option is for brands to list RRPs [regular retail prices] that include the VAT increase and to then reduce the extra percentage points for the January sale period. It offers a buffer zone between the two rates and gives consumers a chance to purchase goods at last year’s prices.”


Dietrich continued: “Consumers are savvy and dedicated to the quest for the best value; they won’t go back to pre-recession habits when the economy starts to recover. They will continue to base their decisions on the research and value-driven factors that they have become accustomed to over the last 18 months.”