The 20 Most Effective Sales Promotion Strategies
Consumers and retailers alike are fans of sales, where customers save money on purchases while businesses have a chance to boost their sales and gain loyal customers. Fortunately, there are a number of options for presenting deals to encourage consumers to purchase.
To find some sales promotion ideas for your customers, here are 20 of the most effective promotion strategies:
1. Dollar or percentage discounts
Ideal for: virtually all instances
Dollar or percentage discounts off regular pricing is among the most common offers. The strategy can be used for singular closeout products, a product category, or storewide. The upside of this promotion type is that shoppers will have a more direct idea of how much value they’ll receive, enticing them to conversion.
Ideal for: attracting loyal customers
Price-matching has quickly risen to be among the most popular types of brand promotion, especially when a brand has many competitors. This policy lets customers shop with a business with peace of mind, knowing if they find a product cheaper elsewhere, that business will refund the price difference. Shoppers have nothing to lose, while the business retains a strong base of loyal customers.
Ideal for: closeout products and products to spotlight
BOGO (Buy One, Get One) is an easy way to let shoppers see the savings benefit of the offer. The BOGO format shows buyers that by purchasing two similar items, they’ll receive notable savings on the second. Although Buy One, Get One Free is the most compelling of offers, if merchants are unable to afford this 50% discount, a Buy One, Get One 50% off is another great offer that can attract sales.
4. Tiered offers
Ideal for: discounts under 50% off; products typically purchased as multiples
Although similar to BOGOs, Tiered offers involve purchasing more items to receive an eligible discount. For instance, a retailer selling socks could advertise “Buy 3 Pairs, Get 1 Pair Free,” which equates to 25% off the total purchase.
5. Buy more = save more
Ideal for: enticing customers to spend more storewide
This type of offer encourages shoppers to purchase more from a store, so everyone wins. During a store visit, many potential customers may be on the verge of buying yet feel guilt when seeing the total price. Offering a discount for spending more will nudge consumers to a sale. The discount doesn’t have to be huge, but it can bring conversions if enticing enough.
6. Bundle and save
Ideal for: related items
For products that sell well in combinations, such as grilling tools and a chef’s apron, bundling items together at a lower price can help boost the average value of orders. Shoppers will be influenced to add more items to their cart they may not have considered previously or had considered buying from a competing retailer. Providing this type of discount can be beneficial during the holidays, where shoppers can buy their gift recipients the entire experience at one stop.
7. Lifestyle promotions
Ideal for: special demographics
A lifestyle promotion is a discount for those from a certain profession, age bracket, or demographic. To claim these discounts, shoppers typically need to show their ID or submit a digital image of their ID.
Among other lifestyle promotions, popular groups include seniors, veterans, teachers, and students.
These promotions can be implemented year-round. However, there might be certain months or days on the calendar that celebrate people from these groups, which can be leveraged to give special offers during these times.
8. Free sample or gift offers
Ideal for: introductory samples of new or current products, or of low-cost closeout items that need to be cleared from stock
The majority of shoppers love receiving something free. Giving a free bonus gift or sample to accompany each purchase can help retailers publicize other items in their store, in addition to incentivizing shoppers into making a purchase decision. The promotion could extend to tiered free gift offers as rewards for bigger purchases, with a more valuable gift for each tier of a higher dollar purchase.
9. Free swag offers
Ideal for: building a brand following
As an alternative to giving out product gifts, brands can bolster their identity by rewarding customer purchases with free swag. Inexpensive swag bearing the brand’s logo, such as ink pens, magnets, or a small notepad, can boost customer loyalty, and may encourage word-of-mouth advertising when customers use their gift.
10. Free shipping promotions
Ideal for: companies without a free shipping policy
For brands unable to afford constant free shipping of customer purchases, a free shipping promotion is the next best thing. While giant companies such as Amazon have a regular free shipping policy, even small businesses can offer their customers the same savings benefit, if only during a brief free-shipping promotion.
Despite the apparent revenue loss due to shipping costs during a free shipping campaign, it’s still a great strategy for inspiring new customers to complete a purchase. Once they order and find they like the merchandise, customers will most likely agree to pay shipping costs for their next order.
In offering year-round free shipping, many businesses incorporate shipping costs into the item’s price or provide free shipping for a minimum purchase.
11. Free returns
Ideal for: companies without a free shipping policy
Free return shipping provides a hassle-free shopping experience for customers contemplating a purchase. Consumers are more apt to buy when they have peace of mind that they won’t lose money if they must return a product.
As with regular free shipping, businesses can recoup their margin loss from a free return policy by incorporating return costs into an item’s price.
12. Limited-time flash sales
Ideal for: getting a jump in sales revenue
Customers given only a short window of time to claim a deal will shop with a sense of urgency, making flash sales quite profitable. This type of sales involves informing customers about a great offer they can only claim by taking immediate action. Due to the short timespan, customers have less time to deliberate over buying, knowing they must respond quickly.
13. Giveaway promotions
Ideal for: gleaning more reviews, building a following
Giveaway promotions are another option for customers to receive free things from a brand. For giveaways, the audience earns a chance to win a prize by giving a business something in exchange. This could be in the form of filling out a feedback survey, giving a like to the company’s social media page, making a social media post about the business, or tagging social media friends about the brand.
14. Competition promotions
Ideal for: brands seeking user-generated content in a fun way
A perfect method for harnessing human nature’s competitive spirit, competition promotions also give you the chance to request something from your customers in exchange for a deal. The contest should be fun, such as finding hidden objects throughout the company blog, website, or videos. To glean more user-generated content, brands can request audience members to post a favorite picture of themselves using the brand, having others in the audience vote for the prizewinner.
15. Loyalty points
Ideal for: companies beginning or growing a loyalty point program
Loyalty point programs are excellent for getting shoppers to become repeat purchasers. Points can be redeemed for a percentage off the customer’s next purchase, or even for free merchandise. Besides the regular structure for point earning, brands can also attach a bonus point deal with it. For instance, retailers can offer extra points to shoppers buying certain products during a certain advertised timeframe. The more involved customers become with a loyalty point program, the more loyal they will be to the brand offering it.
Ideal for: companies beginning or growing a referral program, or those seeking to boost their word-of-mouth advertising
Similar to loyalty programs, referral programs are powerful for boosting sales. However, referrals focus more on new customer conversions. Instead of just requesting referrals from customers, brands should structure a system within the program so both the referral and referer will receive rewards. The referral will be rewarded a percentage or dollar value discount for the first purchase. At the same time, the referer receives a percentage or dollar value discount, bonus points reward, or gift reward for referring a new customer.
17. Savings coupons and discount codes
Ideal for: off-site advertising of products
Shoppers who discover brands through channels other than those of the brand often need an additional incentive to visit the brand’s online store as early as possible. A savings coupon or discount code can provide this incentive. Providing off-site coupons and codes lets shoppers realize they can save money off their purchase before even visiting the company’s store, having an advantage over other customers without the coupons or codes.
18. Rebate promotions
Ideal for: high-ticket items, wholesale sellers
Reimbursing customers for their purchases through rebates is an excellent way for rewarding purchasers of large ticket items, giving them monetary compensation once the item is paid in full. The most popular kinds of rebates are Volume-based (based on the item quantity the promotion requires) and Year-End rebates (based on total purchases during the year). Although prevalent with appliance and electronics retailers, wholesalers can offer rebates as well.
19. Promotions benefitting charitable causes
Ideal for: getting a jump in sales revenue
A promotion that focuses on charitable organizations is a great way for businesses to make more sales while simultaneously helping worthwhile causes. Shoppers will feel good and be inspired to purchase more when they know a percentage of the proceeds from their purchase will be donated to a charity.
20. Limited-time flash sales
Ideal for: adding holiday festivity to a brand while encouraging more sales
Shoppers enjoy spending more during the holiday season, which is why seasonal promotions are so popular. Attracting consumers with discounts, even small ones, is always effective. During this time, businesses can show off their creativity while planning a festive holiday promotion that encourages customers to buy more.
Shoppers who know they will receive rewards for purchasing from a brand will be more likely to do business with this brand and boost sales. Examine how these various promotions could help you to convert potential buyers into loyal customers.