Why no coupon codes Anthropologie?

Monday, November 3, 2008

I want the entire outfit in the photo above. All of it -- I'll even take the hugemongous balls of yarn! I'm diligently saving my pennies but one thing would go a long way towards pushing me into buying: a coupon.

Unless I am missing something, Anthro hardly ever releases coupon codes. And when they do they're not your typical 10% off or 20% off when you spend x amount. They're free shipping. Or free gift wrap. In other words, something that is pretty inconsequential to my purchase. It's all part of Anthropologie's brand strategy (I'm guessing). They feel that the clothes are worth what they price them at and discounting things only cheapens them and hurts new arrival sales. I understand this strategy though it plays into what I like to call the misconceptions about the rich's buying habits.

I used to work as a personal shopper (occasionally still do) and I found that my clients split into two types: old money and new money. In most cases, the new money clients would spend spend spend without any regard for price tags and would not come to me with any kind of budget. The old money clients came with a list of things they wanted, a budget to spend on those things and searched for every discount imaginable. Much more frugal despite often having vast sums of wealth. As one of my client's husbands put it, our family didn't get rich by blowing money without regard to value.

How does this tie into Anthropologie, and designer labels for that matter? I believe that when you refuse to discount your goods people associate them with having a higher value. Look at Apple for another example. Though it hurts my wallet to say this I respect the move. When you tell someone you bought something at the Gap it has nowhere near the effect as when you say you bought something at Anthropologie. To say the latter establishes you as someone with purchasing power and whether right or wrong says something about you. Anthro has solidified itself as a crossover store between the Ann Taylors of the world and the Diane von Furstenbergs.

That being said I think coupons fall into two categories: help our bottom line and customer thank yous. There are ways to thank your customers while maintaining the integrity of your brand message. For example, when you provide your email to anthropologie.com. Or if you request a catalog, after your 10th purchase, or once you hit a certain threshold to establish yourself as a loyal customer. These small thank-yous go a long way towards reinforcing store loyalty. Quite frankly I make more purchases at the stores that seem to care about my business more -- the ones that send me coupons as a thank-you.

What do you think? Does Anthropologie's lack of coupons affect your shopping habits at the store? Have you received any coupons from Anthro lately?