14 sales promotions so your products become an irresistible temptation

Sales promotions may awaken feelings of both love and hate. On the one hand, they increase sales and that is always a positive thing. On the other hand, they signify decreasing the benefits margin, which is not always pleasant.
  • Is it useful to launch sales promotions regularly?
  • Which are the best ones?
  • Is any promotion worth it at any price?
In today’s post, we are explaining the advantages of sales promotions, what the best strategies are, and what you need to value in order to analyze if they have been useful. Let’s get selling!

What is a sale promotion?

A sales promotion is about encouraging the purchase of a product in the short-term by means of different strategies. But, watch out–promotions are not the same as advertisements. While ads provide reasons to buy a product, sale promotions provide reasons to “buy it now”.
The goal is to increase the punctual value perceived by the client and to create the feeling of opportunity that will push them to buy.
But, is this really necessary? You may be thinking, “I already sell my e-commerce’s products well, do I have to launch promotions?” Yes, you do. Do you want to know why? If so, keep reading.

✅ When is it a bad idea to put out a special offer?

It’s a good question… and the answer it can sometimes be the case.

There are specific scenarios in which a specific offer or a bold offer can have negative effects.

  • You sell very exclusive products: there are certain items that denote status. Customers are willing to pay a high price for them precisely because such a price stands for quality and exclusivity. In these cases, putting out a special offer can harm the product’s image. You really can’t picture walking into a Gucci store and seeing plenty of discount banners and signs, can you? Well, that’s it.
  • You niche doesn’t really do special offers: this is strictly related to the item above. There are certain market sectors whose audience is not used to seeing offers. If your store is the only one putting them out, that can distinguish you from your competitors… or well cause to be perceived as a low-cost version by your audience and therefore not worth-buying. This happens, for example, in the luxury sector.
  • It’s a well-established product: there are certain brands or even specific products that are well-positioned in the market and generate a stable sales income. Your customers buy them aware of their price because they know that the quality is worth it. In these cases, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to launch an offer, but you must really assess if it’s necessary and whether it’ll be profitable for you.

Besides, keep in mind that overusing this strategy can generate the opposite effect.

If you’re constantly launching special offers, your customers will stop seeing them as an opportunity and will get used to waiting for the next discount.

But if you use them thoughtfully and keep in mind the exceptions we’ve seen, they can turn into a powerful sales weapon.

Now, let’s get practical

Why launch sales promotions with your online shop?

Imagine that you are in a physical shop and you see a product you like. After the first quick glance, the first thing you will do is look for the price tag. It’s true, isn’t it? 😉 The price is one of the most important factors (if not the most important one) when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. If it is important in the physical shop, it is even more important when buying online. Take into account that 65% of consumers spend at least 16 minutes doing comparison-shopping among the different websites. And when it’s online, it’s even easier to visit multiple shops than when you’re walking, right? In order to be the winning option, among so many competitors, you need to use sales promotions. In addition to being the last push a client needs to buy, sales promotions are also very useful when it comes to achieving other goals:
  • Gaining visibility: the beginning is never easy and sales promotions are a good push to get started.
  • Generating traffic: even if they don’t end up buying, those who visit out website will discover our brand and we will give our SEO an extra push.
  • Capturing leads: there are special promotions that users can only access if they sign up for the blog.
  • Encouraging the demand: not only new clients’ demand, but also demand from those old clients who haven’t visited us for a while.
  • New launches: in order to introduce new products in our online shop. For example, the new season’s products.
In short, in order to keep winning over our competitors, our online shop cannot elude sales promotions.

When is it a bad idea to put out a special offer?

It’s a good question… and the answer it can sometimes be the case.There are specific scenarios in which a specific offer or a bold offer can have negative effects.
  • You sell very exclusive products: there are certain items that denote status. Customers are willing to pay a high price for them precisely because such a price stands for quality and exclusivity. In these cases, putting out a special offer can harm the product’s image. You really can’t picture walking into a Gucci store and seeing plenty of discount banners and signs, can you? Well, that’s it.
  • You niche doesn’t really do special offers: this is strictly related to the item above. There are certain market sectors whose audience is not used to seeing offers. If your store is the only one putting them out, that can distinguish you from your competitors… or well cause to be perceived as a low-cost version by your audience and therefore not worth-buying. This happens, for example, in the luxury sector.
  • It’s a well-established product: there are certain brands or even specific products that are well-positioned in the market and generate a stable sales income. Your customers buy them aware of their price because they know that the quality is worth it. In these cases, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to launch an offer, but you must really assess if it’s necessary and whether it’ll be profitable for you.
Besides, keep in mind that overusing this strategy can generate the opposite effect.If you’re constantly launching special offers, your customers will stop seeing them as an opportunity and will get used to waiting for the next discount.But if you use them thoughtfully and keep in mind the exceptions we’ve seen, they can turn into a powerful sales weapon.Now, let’s get practical.

15 ideas to promote your e-commerce’s products

Use them carefully. 😉

1. Trade social mentions for discounts

Marc Jacobs did this for the opening of his pop-up shop in London.What he did was offer to freebies in exchange for social mentions. In an e-commerce, you can offer a discount coupon if consumers mention the purchase on their social networks (and that also counts as social proof). In WooCommerce you can do this with the WooCommerce Social Share Discount Coupon plugin. It is free and it allows you to add a discount when users share the product on their social networks before buying it. If you use PrestaShop, there is the module called All In One Rewards. Another variant of this option is offering a discount coupon for the next purchase, but as you may have guessed, it doesn’t work quite as well.

2. Countdown coupons

When we add the feeling of urgency, the conversion rate increases. If we have a coupon without a due date, we won’t feel the need to use it, but if we see the countdown of the time remaining, it is a whole different story. In WordPress, there is a plugin called WooCommerce Coupons Countdown, and for PrestaShop you can use Countdown Specials. cupones-cuenta-atras A good place to have them located them would be the sidebar. The ideal thing would be to have it pinned to the top so that even when users scroll down, the coupon is always visible.

3. Flash sales

This is another way of encouraging and activating sales. There are 2 ways of doing it:
  • Limited time: “15% off only until 22:00”.
  • Limited stock: ”the first 50 sales get free shipping”.
The key is to announce it right on time. If you do it too soon, they will forget and if you do it right before, many users will miss it altogether.A good option is to match these flash discounts with special dates. For example:
  • Mother’s Day.
  • Earth’s Day (in case you own an eco-friendly eCommerce store).
  • Geek Pride Day (perfect for tech eCommerce stores, merchandising…).
  • Etc.
Just think about relevant dates in your sector and set up some exclusive offers for such days. 😉

4. Block pricing

This about taking the previous strategy a step further; now we are going to limit both time and products. For example: 40% off the first 15 sales, 60% off the next 25 sales… The offer gets better with each block, always within a limited period of time.

5. Reward the years as a client

It is calculated that getting a new client is 10 times more expensive than keeping an existing one. Once you’ve broken the first sale barrier, everything gets easier. This is why we’ll try to take advantage with a loyalty strategy.For example, if:
  • A customer has placed a certain number of orders in the past 6 months.
  • The overall purchased amount is over a certain amount.
  • It’s been a certain time lapse (say, a year) from their first purchase.
You can offer free shipping, a special discount, personalized service, or more on their next purchase. Do you want more ideas? Have a look at this post about loyalty strategies for e-commerce.EXTRA TIP:A more advanced version of this strategy would be to create a VIP club for your most loyal customers.You’d offer these customers special discounts, VIP access to future launches, etc.To create these groups you could:Would you like more ideas like this one? Check out this post on customer loyalty strategies.

6. Changes of season

Using the end of the summer or the beginning of spring to offer products on sale is not just a good idea in order to increase sale, but also…
  • You get rid of the stock.
  • You get new clients to carry out their first purchase.
  • People get to know your brand.
  • Users often end up buying something from the new seasons’ stock as well.
For clothes or design products, you can use collections that don’t have to follow the natural seasons.

7. Live stream showings

Surely you have seen showings at different stands or fairs about how to use a certain device. Showings have always worked for physical businesses. Then, why don’t we use them in the online world? Live streaming is about being live on your social networks (for example,  Facebook Live for Facebook). Don’t be scared of the camera, show the good things and the uses of your products and have a discount ready for the viewers that are watching. These are some compulsory pieces of reading on this topic:

8. Play the mystery game

Consumers have seen almost everything, but by nature, their curiosity remains. This is why if instead of just showing a discount, you make them do something in order to discover it… many won’t be able to help but click. misterio-promocion-de-ventas Play with all of the possibilities: free shipping, discount coupons, 2×1… You can even make them change so that users can try multiple times to get different results.

9. Free samples

You cannot give away samples of your products right outside your shop, but you can let people ask for a sample to be sent before they actually buy it. Of course, this has a cost, but think about it as an investment in advertising. In addition, you will have gotten many email addresses for your email marketing strategy. This system is widely used in the cosmetics and beauty sector.For example, Makari (Doofinder’s customers) allows you allows you to order several free samples of their products. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is imagen-post-blog-1024x502.pngThis way you can try them out and, if you like them, place an entire order.

10. Only pay the shipping

This is an alternative to the previous option and a very frequent one for new releases. The brand sends clients a product, but it only charges them the shipping fees. It works better with an advertisement campaign on social networks that pushes the promotion. People love sharing the promotions and bargains that they found online. Here is a related post:

11. Gifting one of your products to a third party

Negotiate with another company for them to offer your product as a gift or a discount coupon when costumers buy their product. For example, you may have seen it at the supermarket when one product comes with another one from a different brand as a gift. If your products complement each other, joining forces with another brand will make you reach other types of audience. Yet another option is to send it to an influencer (or to a micro-influencer) for them to advertise it amongst their audience. Try using this strategy over a new product launch for maximum visibility.

12. Raffles

Each purchase on your e-commerce will earn you entries into a raffle. The common thing is to give away one ticket for each X amount of money. For example, giving customers one ticket for every €10 spent. If you want to gain extra virality, host the raffle on your social networks.You can use apps such as Easypromos, which allows you to create your first raffle for free.For example, you can start a raffle amongst participants who like or share a post and, later on, the app will randomly pick the winners.

13. BOGOF (Buy one get one free)

This is the English name for what is known as 2×1 in Spain. This is just a discount for volume that can grow depending on the units (3×2, 5×3, and so on). Be careful with the shipping expenses when you reach a certain number of units–don’t spend your whole profit margin on transport and shipping.

14. Member get member

The classic “Word of mouth” technique transposed to its online shop version. Whenever a client buys something, you will let them have a discount if they get a friend to make a purchase (or if a friend registers on the blog). This way you will generate new clients, with whom you will use the same strategy.

15. Subscription Discounts

Subscription sales (a system in which a customer pays for receiving a product regularly) are growing trendier over time.An example is the Spanish wine brand Vinopremier, which features a monthly subscription: Boxpremier. Upon subscription, you’ll receive a monthly selection of 3 wines.This is where it gets interesting.The price of this subscription ($25) is significantly lower than what you’d pay for those 3 wines separately. This way:
  • Purchase experience improves: once the subscription is activated, your customers receive their products regularly without having to take care of it. And they get a small discount too. 😉
  • You foster customer loyalty: as a consequence, your retention rate increases.
This system works really well with consumables.For example, by buying this vitamin supplement, Amazon gives you a choice whether to place a single or a recurring order:Besides, it tells you exactly how much you’ll save if you go with the subscription model.

What to analyze after a sales promotion?

This is a very important point since increasing the number of sales doesn’t‎ always mean increasing your profits. These are some of the questions that you should ask yourself after launching a sales promotion:
  • Did it bring new clients or new purchases from old clients?
  • What was the promotion’s cost?
  • Has the ROI been positive?
  • Which traffic source worked the best?
There are shops that launch sales promotions in order to increase their sales without analyzing whether they are actually getting better results. Always bear in mind what the profit margin is that are working with and what your limit is.

And there are even more options!

The combination of strategies along with the characteristics of each e-commerce and each niche makes the options nearly limitless. Note that we have not talked about promotions with influencers or funding options. And we haven’t even mentioned Black Friday! So, just think about how many other options there are out there!
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