Gift with purchase: what’s working for retailers

May 9, 2019
By Alana House

Just when you thought we’d reached peak gift with purchase, Southern Comfort offers free Volley shoes with the purchase of limited edition 10-packs of Southern Comfort & Cola.

The limited edition 10-packs retail for $39, while the Volleys retail for $42.99.

Until June 1, 2019, consumers will be able to claim up to 30,000 pairs of Volley International canvas shoes by picking up a 10-pack of Southern Comfort & Cola at a participating independent retailer, entering the unique code online and selecting their desired shoe colour and size.

That’s a lot of free shoes.

We asked Southern Comfort Senior Brand Manager Emma Fogarty for the lowdown on the promo and how it’s tracking.

“Volleys are the perfect partner for our brand, with their retro-cool factor and instantly recognisable designs,” she explained. “We are proud to be bringing this exclusive promotion to the independent channel to drive consumers into store and drive sales into the Autumn period.”

As for what’s working best in the gift-with-purchase space, Fogarty said it was important for brands to appreciate that retailers have a lot going on in their shops, with new products and promotions happening continuously. As a result, making life as simple as possible for retailers and consumers was a priority.

“Tactics that prove to be working best for retailers include on pack promotions which clearly communicate the offering, offers which feature high value items and branded collaborations that catch consumer interest,” Fogarty said.

“Volley is an iconic lifestyle brand that is piquing interest among the under 30s. They are known for being comfortable and laid back, which suits the Southern Comfort brand, so the collaboration is a natural fit.”

Southern Comfort decided to target independent retailers because the 10-pack format is performing well for Southern Comfort in the independent channel.

“Working with Independent retailers on value-added offers allows us to drive people into stores and activate large eye catching displays which influence at point of purchase,” Fogarty said.

She noted that retailers have responded well to the giveaway.

“Retailers have told us that the floor display is eye catching and has converted consumers into the Southern Comfort brand,” she said. “The offer is compelling, and retailers who don’t have the promotion are being asked for the specially marked packs by consumers who are excited about the promotion.”

“The response from consumers on social media has been overwhelmingly positive too. We have the validation that this partnership is the exact right fit for our brand and consumers. Collaborating with another brand has doubled our reach for this campaign and the Volleys brand team have seen positive reactions from their consumer base as well.”

The reinvention of Volley

Volley has undergone an incredible transformation over the past three years.

Brand manager John Szwede recently told that Volley was “legitimately dying” until a single photograph changed its fortunes.

Chinese singer-songwriter and actress Faye Wong was snapped by the paparazzi at a Hong Kong airport wearing a pair of $85 Volley shoes.

“We built an entire business in China from that one picture,” Szwede said. “It was worth millions of dollars for the brand.”

Volley's first store in China opened last year.
Volley’s first store in China opened last year.

Sales skyrocketed and the company started selling shoes in China at more than three times the Australian price. There are now plans to open at least 50 bricks-and-mortar stores across China by late 2020.

Since 2016, the average age of the brand’s customer has also halved, with it’s major demographic now the 25-34 age group.

Volley shared this image with its 15,000 Instagram followers.

Volley Marketing Manager Samuel Despotidis said: “Like Southern Comfort, Volley has gone through somewhat of a reinvention in the last few years injecting a new look and feel, new styles and a refreshed online presence boosted by some famous supporters propelling Volley back in to the spotlight.

“While there has been change, the iconic brand continues to be engrained in Australia’s very DNA. Volley is more than a shoe, it’s a part of Australian folklore, much like Southern Comfort is rooted in New Orleans.”

The reinvention of Southern Comfort

Like Volley, Southern Comfort also reached a turning point in 2016, when it was purchased by Sazerac from Brown-Forman.

A year later, Sazerac revealed a new recipe and global packaging design for the brand.

Prior to Sazerac’s takeover, Southern Comfort hadn’t contained whiskey for decades.

The revamped packaging and new positioning, dubbed The Spirit of New Orleans, is a nod to the brand’s connection to the city for more than 140 years.

“We’re incredibly excited about our plans to strengthen Southern Comfort’s position as an iconic global whiskey brand for the next 50 years,” said Mark Brown, president and CEO of Sazerac. “We believe Southern Comfort can be a 10 million case brand one day.”

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