Sales promotions are the most powerful tools for retailers to grow their revenue and boost awareness around their brand. But in today’s competitive market, it feels like every brand out there has some kind of promotion running. So how do you make your sales promotional ideas stand out from the crowd?
We’ve compiled some creative retail promotions to help you to make the most out of your sales campaigns and get your name out there.
Sales promotions are anything an organization may choose to offer to increase sales and encourage people to try their products or services. They can take many forms, but the idea is always to persuade a target audience to become new customers or convince existing customers to buy more.
Retailer promotions can be found on multiple channels, including social media, email, or your website. They can also form the cutting edge of a digital advertising campaign, such as on Google or LinkedIn.
Effective retail sale ideas require eye-catching imagery, compelling copy, and an attractive offer. Throwing up a basic 20% discount isn’t enough for you to get the results you want. In today’s world, you need to get creative.
Not every promotion will work for every business. As an entrepreneur, you need to experiment with various retail promo ideas to find the right fit for your business in order to get the greatest return.
Retail promotion ideas are an opportunity for you to express your creativity and put your business’s best foot forward. Not sure where to start? Try these exceptional retailer promotions for inspiration.
Partnering with other brands, local businesses, and influencers has never been more important. Sharing resources to boost the power of a promotion can amplify your results and provide access to even more customers.
One example of collaborations gone right is a New Jersey-based company called City Workshop Men’s Supply Company. They worked with a local restaurant called ani ramen to push a promotion whereby the winner would receive a $100 dinner date.
With 223 million Americans on social media, as of 2020, the best place to push cross-industry promotions is online.
As a business owner, you’re likely already giving back to your community, but publicly giving back can also be one of the strongest retail promo ideas around. Customer priorities have changed, and your target audience expects you to be responsible in the way you do business.
Think about it like this: approximately 50% of customers said they would be willing to pay more to shop with a responsible business. Price and customer service alone aren’t the all-encompassing priorities they once were.
Do a good deed with your sales promo and market yourself doing it. These promos are effective because they often don’t require you to lower your prices, but they get your name out there and connect with potential buyers.
Chick-fil-A is one such example of this. They once ran a promo promising $5 gift cards to anyone who donated blood to the American Red Cross.
Free samples are a hallmark of both the retail and restaurant business. It gives people a chance to try a new product without feeling obliged to purchase anything. It’s also an excellent way to welcome someone to a brick-and-mortar store. It also requires little to no effort to launch this sales campaign.
Grocery stores like Costco and Whole Foods have worked this promotion spectacularly by trialing their new products via free samples. Ever purchased cosmetics and gotten a tiny lotion sampler? You get the picture.
The classic “buy one, get one free” (also known as BOGO) promotion has long been one of retail's best sales promotion ideas. Offering a popular product and doubling up every purchase for a limited period raises urgency among your customers. These promotions are often used to liquidate stock, such as if you’re preparing for a new fashion season.
Note that you won’t lose money running one of these promotions. If your margins are high enough, even a 50% loss on the usual price will still leave you with a small profit. A great example of this strategy is seen in pizza delivery mogul Papa John’s, who runs buy one, get one free promos regularly to increase revenue.
Giving something back to your customers every time they make a purchase is a fantastic way of boosting your brand's profile. One of the most uncomplicated sales promotional ideas is to install a cashback on certain products for a limited period. This will create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to spend money with your company.
Nike has done this many times to supercharge sneaker sales. Someone who’s on the fence about buying may be pushed in the right direction if they know they’re receiving 10% cashback on their purchase.
Modern consumers want to know where a product came from and who made it. Locally made products are so popular for a reason.
If you run the type of business that sells artisanal or locally made crafts, put the creator front and center of your next promotion. An opportunity to meet the person who made a popular product, or get an autograph via a limited-edition product, is an excellent way to generate interest and social media buzz.
In addition, you don’t have to discount the product with this promotion if you don’t feel it’s necessary. Bookstores often use this promotion by bringing in authors for live readings, Q&A sessions and book signings.
Bag sales require a little extra work, but they’re also a fun event for in-store sales. The way it works is simple. You have a designated date and time. Anyone who wants to participate receives a bag, shopping cart, or other containers. Whatever they can fit inside will be sold at a flat price. That means absolutely anything as long as it fits in the bag.
Arc Thrift Stores has run this promotion before. Since they’re a thrift store, most of their items cost only a dollar anyway. Plus, they charged for the initial container.
These sale promo ideas will lead to interest rather than money. You will be expected to make a significant markdown to keep the promotion attractive, but it can shift stock, increase your profile, and win you some new customers when promoted correctly.
With the decline of shopping malls and the rise of empty stores on Main Street, commercial landlords often accommodate pop-up shops to bring people to the area. It’s a unique sales concept, but be warned: it requires a lot of work.
Pop-up stores can be hosted either within a brand’s existing store or as its own storefront. eCommerce retailers who don’t want to commit to a formal in-store sales model may choose to design a pop-up store to generate interest and give the local community a sample of what they have to offer.
French fashion retailer Jacquemus used this to great effect by offering floral bouquets wrapped in some of their fabrics.
These retail promotion ideas may not be viable for every store permanently, but a temporary promotion could help move your business alone. Organizations use this promotion to deal with the issue of abandoned shopping carts. If someone can purchase and return risk-free, they are more likely to go ahead with the sale.
Amazon is the king of the free shipping and returns model, as they have made it a central part of their unique selling point. Remember that you will need to go over your figures to determine whether making this available is a viable proposition.
Loyalty programs are big motivators for modern consumers. In an era where customers feel like the retail experience is impersonal and that they are just another number, loyalty programs can create a sense of community.
One of the best creative retail sales ideas within these promotions includes doubling or tripling loyalty points for a short period. Anyone who signs up for the program could also receive a lump sum of points. The punch card is the oldest version of the loyalty program, with customers who place a certain number of orders receiving their next purchase for free.
Airlines have long operated loyalty programs in the form of mileage points. Once you build up enough, you can start getting free business class upgrades, onboard meals, and free flights.
Are you worried about offering free shipping and receiving too many returns? Perhaps you’re in a niche that naturally gets a lot of returns, such as fashion? The answer to this is the used and returned product sale.
Rather than writing off that initial sale and product and calling it a loss, repurpose and rebuild. Not only is this cost-effective, but it will boost the public’s perception of your brand as an eco-conscious company.
If you’re searching for sales ideas for retail that make a bang, try holding the equivalent of a garage sale for used and returned products. Sell them at a discount and make an event out of it. Outdoor goods retailer REI made a significant impact with this promotion. They regularly hold the famous REI Garage Sale events, sometimes even offering food, drinks, and entertainment.
Rather than relying on the conventional sale, turn your sale into an event to bring your customers together and create a memorable shopping experience.
Scavenger hunts are among the most unique sale promo ideas because while they offer value, they also provide an element of fun. These experiences are memorable and help your brand stand head-and-shoulders above the rest. Remember, scavenger hunts are not just for children’s stores.
There’s so much creativity that can go into a scavenger hunt. Many of them are simple, and others can be complex. You can include several difficulty levels, with the highest value products being more challenging to find.
Bloomingdale’s has used this tactic to drive more traffic to their stores. You can integrate social media, in-store staff, and products to boost brand exposure.
Here’s one final tip: plan your scavenger hunt around a popular holiday, you could become the biggest party in town.
Spend and save promotions are designed to enhance and reward customer loyalty. They are also an excellent way to improve overall transaction sizes. These sales promotion ideas for retail require customers to spend a certain amount.
If they exceed this amount, they receive discounts. You can add as many tiers as you like to reward your biggest spenders.
Rebag is a retailer that has grown its business with this deal. Their discounts start at $25 for every $400 spent. Shoppers who spend $3,000 or more reach the highest tier and are rewarded with a $200 saving.
Did you know that flash sales increase transaction rates by 35% on average? Flash sales are an urgent promo offering significant discounts for a short period. Some flash sales may last for a couple of days, whereas others could last a matter of hours. The power of these sales is increasing urgency because customers know time is running out to snag a deal.
J.C. Penney discovered the value of flash sales in 2012 when they abolished sales entirely in exchange for reducing their prices permanently. Their sales dropped by 25% because there was no longer anything special to look forward to. When the arbitrary price drops returned, so did their sales figures.
Set a time, a day, and how long the sale will last, and you’re good to go.
The recurring sale is the type of sale a customer can expect at the same time every year. Nordstrom is the expert in recurring sales because they only offer sales twice per year, with no exceptions.
It means their customers wait around all year for the chance to save cash on their high-value items. It’s a powerful strategy because it creates tension, expectation, and excitement. When the sale finally comes, people are ready to spend.
Recurring sales are great in a world where every retailer seems to have a sale every other week. Dare to be different from your competitors, and you will be rewarded.
Thinking outside of the box and getting creative with retailer promotions can propel your brand forward. The market has never been more crowded, and it’s never been more important to stand out. However, equally important is that once you attract customers, their experience with your brand should be seamless.
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