Running sales are a great way to boost revenue and keep your customers happy. However, there is actually a lot of thought involved in running a successful ecommerce sale. You not only have to decide what to put on sale, but also how much the sale is for, how long it lasts, and how you will market the sale to your audience (among other things). This effort pays off, as a study from RetailMeNot finds that 68% of people are “more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers online coupons or promotion codes.” It’s more affordable to retain customers than find new ones, and with loyal customers spending more on average than first time customers, this is a stat you need to keep in mind.
Marketing in particular is something that you have to keep in mind when running a sale. If no one knows about it, it doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Even if you decide to do a surprise flash sale, you still need to have a plan in place for getting the word out. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through the entire sale process.
Determine the nature of the sale
One of the first things you should do when organizing an ecommerce sale is to determine what it is that you are going to offer. You may have a percentage off of all orders, free shipping on each order, a combination of these offers, or a free gift with purchase, just to name a few. Think about what will be realistic for your business and what you can afford to offer your customers. Additionally, you need to decide what the length of the sale is going to be. Will you do a 24-hour flash sale? Or, will your sale last a long weekend, a week, or more?
Dates are also important. It is common for ecommerce stores to plan sales around holidays. Pick which holidays you want to focus on, as well as any other dates you want to plan a sale. It is best to plan your sales for the entire year (something we will touch on in more detail later) so that you know what is coming up for you. In the above example, you see a popular promotion that Starbucks runs every summer. Their “happy hour” promotion occurs each year and is always something that customers look forward to. This model may be something you wish to mimic by running certain sales each year that your customers will come to look forward to and plan for.
Send personalized and targeted ads
As we said earlier, advertising is a huge part of running a successful ecommerce sale. However, there is more that you can do than just broad advertising via emails and social media. In particular, personalized advertising is a great way to connect with your customers. In general, consumers expect advertising that is personal and relevant as opposed to broad messages. A great way to send these personalized ads is via web push notification (like the above example). These messages are sent directly to your customers’ desktops and mobile devices and can be easily personalized. For example, you may segment users who have looked at a certain item and alert them when that item goes on sale. This is clearly much more relevant to these customers as it is regarding an item they have previously shown interest in.
This might seem obvious, but you need to plan your sales ahead of time in order to have sufficient time to get everything in order. For this reason, it is great to have a marketing calendar in place where you can plan out all sales you wish to run over the year, as well as when you need to start planning for each individual sale. Keep in mind that leading up to a sale you need to create graphics and advertise the sale, create any segmented campaigns, determine which items are on sale, get your website prepped for the sale, and more. All of these components will not come together overnight, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to plan everything (in addition to everything you already have to do to keep your business running).
Boost incentives for rewards members
Do you run a rewards program? If you don’t, you definitely should consider it. These programs help boost customer retention and loyalty rates, and you can further this loyalty when running your sales as well. For example, rewards members may get special perks during your sales that other users do not. Rewards customers may get early access to sales, an additional percentage off, or a free gift like in the above example. These incentives not only help to boost sales, but also help to get people to join your rewards program. As we have said, return customers are the best customers, and this is a great way to increase your number of repeat customers.
Finally, whenever possible you should try to get feedback from your customers about your sales. At the end of the day your customers are who are impacted by your promotions, and for that reason you should request their feedback. You might be surprised what people have to say, and it may influence how you decide to run future sales. Look to social media or send out an email asking people what they thought. You may not be able to honor each and every request, but if there is a common wish that your customers are asking for, try your best to incorporate it into your next sale.