Millennials won’t be going down in history as big spenders. According to retail industry analysts, “Millennial shoppers have the lowest shopping conversion rate (turning a store visit into a purchase) because they are the most selective as well as the most economically challenged.” But it could be argued that it isn’t just their budgets and picky nature that holds them back from in-store shopping. For Millennials, paying full price can feel like a thing of the past. From Gilt to Groupon, young consumers have had access to discounts and deals on normally high-end products at their fingertips and delivered to their inboxes for years. 50% of Millennials ages 18 to 34 get their deals from emails and coupon alerts, and 38% turn to internet searches to find lower prices. It’s no surprise that with their instant access to constant sales they would have a growing “never pay full price” mentality. Their tools to make this mentality a reality are only increasing in number. Emails like ShopItToMe skim the internet daily to list items on sale from users’ favorite brands. Sites like RetailMeNot provide any and every coupon code available at any given time. And now a new type of weapon is being added to their savings arsenal: customized sale notifications are providing young consumers with discount alerts for the specific items that they are interested in, the moment their price drops. Here are three of the latest players in the ongoing plot to never pay full price.
Hukkster has been gaining attention this year as an innovative, seamless way to bring news of price drops to busy consumers. With prices for products online changing rapidly and fluctuating from day to day, it can be too much for people to keep track of the cost of even one individual item they are interested in scooping up, never-mind the virtual cartfuls they might want to buy during the holidays. Hukkster, founded by two former J.Crew merchants, installs a “hukk it” button to users’ browsers. Whenever they find an item they want to track, they simply click the ever-present button and the site adds the products to their ongoing list. They are then notified by email, text, or push notification as soon as something on that list goes on sale, or when there is a coupon code available for the site it lives on. Hukkster currently makes its money from referral traffic, meaning that every time something is purchased from a link they have emailed, they benefit as much as the bargain-hunter.
Pinterest has become a popular visual sharing community, but it is also used by many as a shopping tool: a way to create an ever-growing collection of all the things online that a user covets. Knowing their users are creating boards full of wish-list items, Pinterest introduced a “product pin” feature, which allowed enhanced information like price and an e-commerce link to be showed along with the image. Then this August the site added a tool to turn some of their traffic into sales opportunities. The new Pinterest sales alerts send users notifications whenever a product that they have pinned to any of their boards goes on sale. All users of the network have to do is continue to pin things they love, and they will begin to receive emails listing all of the price drops that they might be interested in. The price alert debut is all part of the site’s mission to bring more value to pins, and could threaten some of the other price alert startups.
Much like Hukkster, Nifti adds a helpful button to a users’ bookmarks bar to click whenever they want to add an item to a price track list. The site also emails users immediately when the price of a desired item drops. But Nifti has a slightly more data-driven approach. They can also generate historical price graphs for any product to help users to determine how the current price compares to the highs and lows of the past, and even say they are a “data company that’s trying to understand what people want before they buy it” more than they are a price alert system. In the long term, this focus on data could mean that Nifti will provide recommendations specific to each user based on what they have tracked in the past and at what price they have purchased something.