Having a Sale? How to Avoid False Advertising in Retail [PLUS Free Template]

Fashion stores marketing

False Advertising – it’s a term that’s thrown around in jest in the sales and retail industry but it is certainly not something you’d ever expect to be taken to court for. Several weeks ago, Target agreed to pay nearly $4 million to settle a claim made against them for false advertising in retail. That’s a pretty hefty fine for an activity that many retailers may unknowingly be doing on a regular basis.

The attorney in the case said that “[it is] a fundamental consumer right to be charged no more than the lowest advertised price. Consumers should always notify retailers immediately when they’re being overcharged and demand to be charged only the lowest advertised price”.

The term demand likely sends your skin crawling given the age old debate over the customer is always right. There are instances where the customer surely is not right but in this case, you want to ensure that you and your business are communicating clearly with your customers. The more stores you have, the more important it is to ensure you’re doing the right thing when it comes to clearly advertising your sale items and following through with your promises.

Here are 3 steps to ensure you don’t fall into the trap of accidental false advertising in retail!

  1. Schedule & Plan Your Sales
  • If you’re having a sale, then ensure you plan and schedule exactly when the promotional signs go up, and when they come down.
  • Prepare your roster to ensure you have adequate and appropriate team members to complete all set up, roll out and dismantling of sale.

Remember, an unexpected discount is always a pleasant surprise but when expected and not given, it’s a broken promise (and begins to cross the line of false advertising in retail).

  1. Communicate Effectively With Staff
  • Use your daily communication diary to ensure all expectations for set up, delivery to customers and stock organisation are visible to all team members.
  • Send all staff an email the day before a sale begins and an email the day after the sale ends, and/or:
  • Send all staff an SMS reminder when the sale begins and again when the sale ends to ensure all activities associated with the sale are finalised (signs, inventory etc). Try Burst SMS for this.
  • Provide coaching [link to coaching article] in the moment or team meeting to so that all sale expectations are communicated and any questions/ issues are raised. This will ensure accountability and ownership within the team so they are fully prepared to answer any questions from customers.
  1. Create a Sales Checklist
  • Create a template sales checklist that is clearly labeled and fixed to a noticeable area at the POS counter.
  • Include on it, the clear items that occur the days leading up to the sale, the sale period and then what occurs after the sale.

Grab Your FREE Downloadable Sales Checklist Specifically Designed for Retail Businesses Below.

And finally, it goes without saying, if you haven’t truly cut the price of an item, then don’t claim you have. You have, or hope to have many discerning customers who walk in your store every day. Honesty will ensure you maintain a positive and long term relationship with both your current and future customers. A retail store conducted with integrity goes a long way for success.


“The best preparation for good work tomorrow, is to do good work today.”

Elbert Hubbard

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For more information on Australia’s market-leading cloud based retail operating software, Retail Express, please drop us a line www.retailexpress.com.au/getstarted or call 1300 732 618 to learn more.

Aaron Blackman is the CEO of Retail Express. Follow Aaron on Google+ and LinkedIn


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Date of Post: 2015-03-24

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