Discounts are Effective Sales Promotion Tool
I admit I am a regular shopper at one major department store. Why? I am a part of their loyalty program. While I didn’t sign up for a formal program per say, I am rewarded with discount options pretty much every time I shop. The discounts are a very effective sales promotion for me. And, recently I was shopping with a friend who was assembling outfits for an weekend of activities. I tried not to shop (truly I did) but ended up finding a few things that would work for me on an upcoming trip that I could not live without (again, truly).
As I was checking out I had a number of discount options pop up on the screen for me to choose from (as I said, it’s one of the reasons I shop there). My friend exclaimed “why don’t I have those!” One, I am a long term credit card holder of the merchant, she just got hers last year (at my urging) and secondly, I obviously spend too much there!! It is also an example of specific customer promotions. It was not open to everyone shopping the store that day – like discounts available if you bring in a coupon from the newspaper (which she did). They were designed specifically based on my spending habits at the store.
In addition, this is also a perfect example of a combination of loyalty building and a successful discount sales promotion tool. I truly think of going there first because of the “deals” I get and now, she plans to be more loyal to get the discount options that I receive.
Provide Extra Value or Incentive
In my mind that is what a consumer-oriented sales promotion is supposed to do – provide an extra value or incentive to encourage increased sales from existing customers and to attract new ones. I truly would not have purchased the items I did if I didn’t get the additional discount, or at the minimum I would have bought one, not three.
They are also very good at in-store promotions. One of the reasons that I was attracted to the merchandise in the first place was the sign that indicated today only “take an additional 20% off” (which I could combine with my special discount). As you can see, I like to think I’m getting a deal!
If you are trying to reach consumers there are many types of marketing promotions that you can utilize to attract your customers to buy more now and at the same time expand your customer base with the very same promotions drawing in new customers.
Some top promotion tools include:
Free Samples or Trial – Most every food store offers free samples at some time during the day/week – we don’t buy a car without a test drive, same thing with food or beverages. People will definitely buy something new if the risk is gone. If they’ve tasted it and like it they will more than likely buy. Of course, it’s also the same with other consumer items, think perfume counters, that’s why they are always trying to “spritz” you as you walk by! And, what about free trial – I just joined a new workout gym after trying it for free for a couple of workouts. I doubt I would have without the free trial.
Gift with Purchase – This is a great form of sales promotion that increases trial of new products. You buy shampoo and you receive a sample of a new conditioner or you buy a pizza and they send along their new breadsticks or dessert. Depending on what you sell I am sure you can come up with something that would encourage people to buy to get the gift. Once again, I just bought make-up, now I knew I was close to being out of certain items, but the free gift did get me to buy sooner rather than later (and it’s not a brand that is exclusive and who knows, I may have popped in somewhere else if I ran out).
Coupons – We discussed these earlier but they are one of the most popular forms of consumer oriented promotion tools. Why? Because they work. Just be careful not to “over” discount so that your customers always expect your merchandise to be discounted. If that happens, then that becomes the new price. But if done correctly, they can be a very effective means of drawing in your existing customers and creating new customers that will buy now.
Buying Now Is Key
And buying now is the key to an effective sales promotion. It must be designed to show this is a limited time offer so the pressure is on to make a decision to buy now rather than waiting.
Premium Promotions – This is when you give more than the usual amount of the item you are selling at the same price – 10% more detergent, dog food or beverage for example. This is still a discount but packaged differently so your customer doesn’t necessarily think of it as a lower price for the long term.
Rebates – This is another way to not “discount” your product. A rebate is paid as a way of reducing the cost to the customer after the item has already been paid for. It can be an “instant” rebate taken at check-out, but it can also need to be mailed in with the receipt or barcode and receive a check or a prepaid card for the amount of the rebate. This type of sales promotion incentive is particularly popular within the electronics and technology product fields.
In-Store Promotions – These are great when used in conjunction with your traditional and online advertising programs (as most sales promotions are). You can invite your customers into try a new service, receive a free gift, a special partnership with a complimentary business nearby, even a reduced price or rate for coming by. A perfect example is a spa – come in for a manicure and they have a special to include a pedicure. Wins me over every time.
These are just a few examples of how you can encourage more sales now. Hopefully they will inspire you and help you to develop a promotion that is tailored to your needs. The sky really is the limit if you let put your thinking cap on!
Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More