Have you ever been attracted to certain companies by offers and discounts?
Every day in the market place we are besieged by special pricing offers which range from simple discounts, buy-one-get-one-free promotions to package deal purchases, loyalty schemes, and more.
These promotional activities have been proved to work very well. If your business is going through a dry patch, and you are not making use of discounts in your marketing strategies, it could be because you are excluding many potential customers from your business.
If this is indeed the case, it may be time to rethink your marketing and promotional plans.
Why you should use promotions and discounts?
If you have a business that depends on live traffic, then you need customers inside your store. Food outlets, delicatessens, superstores, electrical goods, furnishings, and even car dealerships, are prime examples of businesses that need plenty of feet on a daily basis.
If you consider the life-time value of a customer, and the benefits you can reap from word-of-mouth advertising about good deals, then there will come a time when you will be faced with the decision whether or not to offer discounts, how often the offers should be made, and what the discounts should be worth.
If you are an online retailer, special offers and discounts could dramatically up your conversion rate, but there are some possible pros and cons to consider.
Pros for online retailers:
- Increased customer acquisition.
- Easy and quick to track and implement.
- Higher sales conversions.
- Increased customer loyalty which is good for repeat business on the net.
Cons for online retailers:
- Possible decreased margins and profitability.
- If discounts etc are not properly handled, there may be some brand damage.
- If visitors to the site are inadvertently trained to wait for product sales, you could have lower sales outside of promotion periods.
- You may only attract price driven shoppers, and fewer of those who are keen buyers.
Bear in mind these pros and cons are mainly for online traders, and not for retailers who depend on live customer visits to their stores.
Examples of offers you could employ to promote your business.
There are a number of types of discounts and promotions you will have at your disposal.
Here are just a few of the most common used by companies:
- The most popular way to offer discounts is by means of percentage based discounts. You can give small percentages like 5% or 10% off, or really drive sales by offering 20 to 25% , and perhaps even a larger discount to get rid of old stock, which is “dead” money.
- A free gift with a purchase is a great way to give a buyer a little something extra. Shoppers always have their ears pricked to hear the word FREE, and are happy to accept whatever is on offer.
- Online traders often increase sales by offering free shipping, and is mostly used in conjunction with a minimum order value.
- Run a competition. Travel companies often run competitions which give the winner a free weekend away for two, and sometimes even for a family of four.
- Your business could run a till slip competition and offer a hamper of groceries, or bedding, or a gas voucher for your car, or whatever you decide would be suitable.
- Loyalty cards are very popular and have grown significantly over the past few years. Supermarkets and fast food chains give points for each purchase, which can be redeemed to pay for purchases when you have amassed a certain number of points. Companies like Starbucks and Nando’s make great use of Loyalty cards.
- Gift cards is a fantastic way to get customers in the door. Come Christmas and birthdays, folk often don’t know what sort of gifts to get friends or family. They can simply pay money into a gift card and give as the gift. It is an innovative way for companies to retain business, because the card can only be used in the store of purchase.
- A package deal may encourage people to spend more than they otherwise would. You can incorporate a group of products or services and sell as a promotional package deal. This offer is popular with holiday companies who will include accommodation and flights in a package deal with a saving for the customer.
- The good old 2-for-the-price-one on certain menu items, on specific days, is a great way to fill up a fast-food outlet or restaurant with eager customers.
Offering discounts and promotional deals on purchases is a quick way draw in the extra feet of potential customers. Anytime you tell customers that they can save money, you will always get their attention. If you want the extra business, critically examine your marketing approach, and see whether you can make changes that will get your business booming beyond your expectations.
How consumers can benefit from bargains and discounts?
Consumers, such as the-man-in-street, are the rank-and-file who support the retail and online stores. They have the buying power, and like all of us, want to save where we can, and get value for money.
The way to do this is to seek out bargain deals and money-saving promotions. Here are few of the ways you can score some extra value when you purchase:
- If you are buying on credit, take advantage of early-payment discount offers.
- Take advantage of a good package deal, instead of buying each item separately. You will end up paying less. This is especially true which it comes to dealing with travel and holiday companies.
- If you buy a high-priced item, negotiate for free delivery. You will get it if you ask for it.
- When you visit a store that offers a percentage based discount, always remember to ask the percentage you will get, and make sure it is on the sales slip.
- Sign up for loyalty cards at the stores or restaurants you frequent, and present it at the checkout so the cashier can load the earned points. You will be surprised at how quickly the points add up to a value which can be redeemed in goods.
- Purchase from a business that offers a manufacturer’s guarantee if you buy a high-end product such as a car, technology products like laptops, fancy phones, electrical goods etc. Get it in writing, and if something goes wrong in the guarantee period, you will have recourse to a claim, instead of maybe personally bearing the cost of repairs or replacement.
There are a lot of businesses out there, and everyone wants a slice of the cake, so there is always competition to give the best deals and the most innovative promotions.
A good marketing plan needs to be assessed regularly, and when necessary, improved and updated to adopt new ideas to stay in the race.
The prize is the customer, and the winners are the ones who get to the winning post first, more often than others do.