Researchers ask: Is time-constrained promotion effective in sales?

By our News Team | 2023

Consumers faced with limited time to take advantage of a promotion are more likely to make a purchase. However, there are ‘buts’…

Consumers are constantly bombarded with enticing product promotions and time-limited offers. That might be a flash sale on an e-commerce platform, or a time-constrained deal at a physical store. 

Businesses use these marketing tools to trigger consumers and so drive sales. Research in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Services Technology and Management asks whether consumers are so gullible, or whether cynicism means such promotions are largely ineffective.

Sales Strategy

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Jing-Bo Shao, Fei-Si Yao, and Min Xie of the Harbin Institute of Technology in Harbin, China, have explored the concept of restrictive marketing, which encompasses both traditional online-to-offline businesses and emerging original design manufacturer (ODM) enterprises.

They have identified several factors that help to shape consumer behaviour when faced with various types of promotion – and whether those factors have a positive, negative or neutral effect on their decision to purchase a product. 

The factors include time constraints, price discounts, product price levels, and past online buying experience.

Fundamentally, when consumers are faced with limited time to take advantage of a promotion, they are more likely to make a purchase. 

Moderated by previous experiences of buying online

This is a key finding from the research. However, the effect is moderated by previous experiences of buying online. These are shoppers who are more experienced, perhaps more cynical, less gullible and less likely to be swayed by such marketing tactics.

The researchers also found that perceived value plays a significant role in moderating purchase intention when faced with time constraints. 

Ultimately, consumers tend to decide on value before making a purchase decision, rather than being triggered or nudged to make a summary decision foisted on them by a [perhaps artificial] time constraint. 

Of course, the degree of price discounting can counter this cynicism as it will boost the perceived value of a product, making it more appealing to consumers within the limited timeframe, the research team points out.

They say insights from this work should feed back to marketing departments keen to nudge consumers, as marketers must understand the experience of their presumed customers better in order to target them more effectively with such strategies. 

The researchers also point out that consumers themselves can often understand how such marketing works and how they are being targeted – and so seek out the best offers and discounts when they do wish to buy a particular product, but without being led too heavily by what they may perceive as ‘marketing tricks’.

You can find out more about the research, entitled ‘Is time-constrained promotion actually affective? The moderating role of price discounts and previous online consumption experience’ here.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.