Offering discounts can be a great way of attracting more customers. Many of us are more likely to buy a product when it is discounted – this is because we feel as if we are saving money when buying a discounted product (when actually, in some cases, we may be spending money on something we might never have otherwise bought).
For a sale to be successful, it needs to have a clear purpose and it needs to still be profitable. You also need to make sure that the sale is promoted well – otherwise customers won’t know that there is a sale on. Below are just a few tips for putting on a successful sale in retail.
When should you run a sale?
Timing is important when running a sale. Most companies run a sale at strategic times of the year when they need to attract more customers. A few types of sales include:
- Clearance sales: If you no longer want to sell a specific product, a clearance sale is a great way of shifting it from the shelves. This could be necessary when it comes to seasonal products – a clothes store for instance might run a clearance sale on winter clothing in Spring to make way for the Spring collection. When it comes to tech, an older gadget or vehicle might go on sale once a newer model is out.
- Dry period sales: There may be parts of the year in which your store receives fewer customers. These can also be great times to run a sale, helping you to maintain revenue. January is a quiet month for many stores because most people have no money left over from Xmas, which is why the January Sales are popular. A gardening store may similarly run a sale in winter, while a skiwear store might run a sale in summer.
- Reengagement sales: If you’ve noticed that you’ve gradually been losing customers, a sale could be a great way of re-engaging them. It could be a way of encouraging return customers or a way of generating more new customers.
Types of discounts
There are all kinds of ways in which you can discount products. A few examples include:
- Buy one get one free offers
- 3 for the price of 1 offers (for when you want to clear low value items)
- % off discounts
- Free shipping offers (popular in ecommerce)
- Member-exclusive discounts (for when you want to reward loyal customers)
Getting your margins right
When offering discounts on products, it’s important to be mindful of your profit margins. Selling a product for less than you bought it could result in a loss on that product. Ideally, you want to be able to maintain some form of profit. You may decide that you’ve already made a large enough profit on a certain product, in which case you may be able to afford to offer a huge discount on limited stock.
How should you promote discounts?
A sale is only effective if customers know that there’s a sale on. Using various marketing strategies, you can promote the fact that there is a sale on and attract customers. A few forms of promotion include:
If you own a physical store, it could be worth investing in some temporary signage. Using a sign printing or banner printing company, you may be able to create custom signs. These could be placed in your store’s window to attract passers-by, as well as being placed around the interior to attract the attention of people that are already browsing.
You could also advertise deals via your website. If you run an online retail store, consider adding a pop-up or call-to-action button on your homepage to let people know a sale is on. You may also be able to invest in PPC advertising to help attract people to your site.
Social media marketing
You could also use social media to advertise your sale. Both physical and online stores can make use of social media as a marketing platform. The likes of Facebook’s boost feature and hashtags will help to increase exposure.
If you have a mailing list set up, you can also send emails about your sale to all your subscribers. Discounts are one of the leading reasons as to why customers join up to mailing lists. This could be a great way to promote a sale if you’re specifically trying to target it at existing customers as a way of rewarding them and strengthening customer loyalty. Make sure to use a click-worthy email subject line.