In other words: your customers will do whatever you train them to do.
Consider, if you will, the case before you.
The setting: the retail book industry in Israel.
The players: two large bookstore chains – Tsomet Sfarim and Steimatsky.
Background: up to a few years ago, the only place you could buy a book in Israel was through Steimatsky, a big chain with outlets everywhere. Books were sold at cover price, anywhere between 60 and 100 NIS for most books. Since then, with the opening and growth of their rivals, Tsomet Sfarim, both chains have run price-cutting promotions on an almost regular basis. Promotions like 4 books for 100 NIS, buy one, get one free and the current one: buy one, get two for an additional 10 NIS (practically free).
Here’s what customers understand: why buy a book at cover price when in a week, or two or at most a month, a promotion will come along that will cut the price in half. It’s only customers that urgently need a particular title that purchase a book at full cover price. The rest of us buy only during promotions. Even my 8-year-old recently decided to wait to use birthday money at a bookstore until a good deal came along (and it did.)
The lesson here: customers are not dumb. If you offer them rewards, they’ll perform the trick, be it lower book prices for waiting or a nice tender dog biscuit for rolling over. In the the former, you’ll ruin your long term sales and in the latter you’ll get a better behaved dog. Your call.