Build a Successful Consumer Sales Promotion
Building a Consumer Sales Promotion is a Little Like Walking a Tightrope
You have to come up with some fabulous offer to get people into your store without going broke in the process.
What form will your fabulous offer take? A free gift with purchase? A reduced price on specific items? By one, get one? Support for a local charity or other organization?
If all goes well, you’ll get a short-term bump in sales. If it goes really well, you’ll attract new customers to your store that return to do business with you again and again.
In order to get this right, you’re going to have to put some thought into what you can give and what you intend to gain from any consumer sales promotion. Here are some things to ponder when you’re putting together your next sale.
What’s Your Intent?
Do you have a particular goal you are trying to reach with your sale? Are you trying to attract first-time customers or re-engage with current customers? Are you announcing a new product or service? Are you trying to build traffic during a slow season or day of the week? Being clear about what you are trying to accomplish will help you determine how you reach out to your intended audience.
A Consumer Sales Promotion Need Promoting!
Once you’ve defined your audience, it’s time to spread the news about your sale through the appropriate media.
Rally your current customers with:
Flyers slipped in with purchases
An email or phone campaign
Direct mail campaign
Word-of-mouth by employees
Attract new customers with:
Be sure to start promoting your sale far enough in advance so your audience can get the message multiple times before your sale begins. Timing can make or break your sale.
A Consumer sales promotion is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to any retailer.
The Value of Your Proposition
If your consumer sales promotion doesn’t offer sufficient value to make consumers step out of their routine to come to your store, no amount of planning and promoting will make your sale a success. But, this needs to work both ways.
Slashing the price of a desirable item will drive traffic through your door. That might not be a good strategy if the discounted item doesn’t give you the opportunity to sell profitable accessories, consumables, or other add-on items, to help you replace some of that lost profit.
Your offer needs to be a win-win for both you and your customers. When you find a promotion that customers are interested in, ask yourself if you can afford to give it to them. If not, look at ways you can structure the offer so it becomes advantageous for both your organization and your customers.
For example, you may find that bundling the sale item with those add-on products will create a good value for the customer while rescuing some of your profit margin. You could also try to partner with suppliers or manufacturers for more favorable terms or co-op dollars to help pay for promoting your sale. Steps like these might be what it takes to make your sale pencil out.
For A Limited Time… (The Psychology of Scarcity)
Research has shown that the perception of scarcity can make anything more desirable.
In 1975, social scientist Stephen Worchel and his colleagues did a study to determine what factors influenced made humans more inclined to favor one thing over another. They put two identical jars of equal size before participants. One with two cookies, one with ten cookies. Even though the cookies themselves were identical, subjects found the contents of the jar with two cookies more desirable because these cookies were perceived as being in short supply. These results have been repeated multiple times since then.
As you can see, scarcity is a strong psychological trigger. We humans pay attention when we feel we’ll miss an opportunity to attain something that would normally be out of our reach or unavailable at a later date. A consumer sales promotion with a limited-time offer or tied to a limited-quantity item will trigger that sense of urgency in the consumers you are trying to reach.
If they’re going to need extras, they should be buying them from you, not a competitor. Get ‘em while you got ‘em!
The Big Money is in The Small Things
You’ve targeted your audience, promoted your sale, and customers are streaming through the door. Congratulations! Not only have you created the first of many successful consumer sales promotions, you have also created an amazing opportunity to generate some add-on sales and do some up-selling.
Chances are, you’re making little (or nothing) on the sale item. So, send it out the door accompanied by one or more accessories. That circular saw may come with a general purpose blade, but the customer who intends to use it to slice into a sheet of plywood will thank you for sending her home with a blade designed to cut smoothly with minimal splintering. Their project will look better; you’ll save them from frustration and disappointment, and possibly an additional trip to buy the correct blade. Customers will remember the helpful recommendation by the expert at your store. Add-on purchases make it possible to turn a profit on a sale that might not have otherwise generated one. If they’re going to need extras, they should be buying them from you, not a competitor. Get ‘em while you got ‘em!
Why not point out the beneficial features of similar items that are not on sale? Once consumers understand the advantages, it might be in their best interest to purchase the more expensive item. Train your staff and incentivize them to take advantage of the opportunity you have created.
Train your staff and incentivize them to take advantage of the opportunity you have created.
Automate the Markdown Process
If you intend to discount several items or an entire department, the markdown/markup process could be time-consuming and tedious. Done manually, you risk further complications due to human error. Ideally, you’d have a point of sale system that automates the process for you.
For example, Paladin Point of Sale users automate all temporary price changes with PromoBuilder™ a tool built into Paladin Point of Sale. PromoBuilder allows you to set up your consumer sales promotion weeks or months in advance. Reduce prices for individual items, entire classes, or whole departments with a few mouse clicks. Once the end date of the sale has passed, all sale prices are automatically returned to their normal price. PromoBuilder gives you extra time to focus on promoting your sale, training staff, ordering additional inventory, and everything else you need to do to get your store ready for the big day.
With a bit of advanced planning, your promotions can help your business in a variety of ways. A well-executed sale can enhance your visibility to consumers, help you showcase your knowledgeable staff, and highlight the variety of products & services you provide to customers in your community. To maximize the benefit to you and your clientele, take full advantage of the opportunity to engage with customers, determine what they are looking for, and send them home happy in the knowledge that they found exactly what they need to get the job done.