Published on July 18, 2015 Sales tactics for your online shop
Need some promotional inspiration for your online shop? Here are a few promotional ideas that you could use to generate more sales.
Sales for products in a particular category
A store wide offer like “Take 20% off everything in store” can be an easy way to market your sale offer on your website, but sometimes you can achieve a more effective result by putting just a specific category of products on sale in order to better match your online advertising’s message with the products and customers who will be buying it. For example you might get a more targeted result from putting up a sale on all heart-shaped chocolates in the lead-up to Mother’s Day than a sale on all of the products in your entire store.
By concentrating on just one category of products at a time, you can tie into events like public holidays, local events, commemorations and anniversaries and it’s a promotion that can be repeated for different groups of categories in your store.
What kind of deal should you offer your customers?
There are a number of different ways to work out what level of discounting you can use for your products. There are a number of things you can consider:
- You could use your own experience of past sales in your store and the prices you set versus number of extra sales that you obtained at that price.
- You might want to look at what your competitors are selling the same products for and what sales prices they have previous set
- You could match or under-cut the lowest or middle price in the market.
- You could apply a set percentage
The better you understand your customer for that category of products and how they shop will enable you to get a more accurate and appealing offer. Whatever you do, you should be considering the total cost of running the promotion versus the extra sales that you would generate. Unless you have a specific objective of generating sales leads that you will follow up on later, you generally wouldn’t want to be spending more on the promotion than the sales you’ll make from it will generate.
Bundle discounts allow you to encourage customers to purchase multiple items together for a discount, which can increase the overall average basket-size for a customer, and encourage them to purchase something that they might not otherwise have purchased from you.
Think of products that might frequently be sold together, like printers and toner cartridges, jeans and boots, tablets and carry-cases etc. You might be able to offer a considerable discount on the cheaper accessory item to encourage the total purchase to be made from you.
One way this tactic can be used is with loss leaders – where one product is given away or sold well under it’s normal retail price in order to encourage sales of other products with higher margins. Large bricks and mortar retailers, and the large chain supermarkets often use this tactic – advertising a product at a highly reduced rate or a special bundle with a heavy discount in order to get you into the store to buy it (and other full price products).
You can use Ozcart to display your “buy-these-together” discounts in a prominent block on your product page to encourage click-throughs when customers visit that page.
Fire sales / Happy Hour
If you have sufficient traffic coming to your store, or have another way to drive sufficient initial visitors (like an offline radio promotion), then a fire sale could be a tactic you could employ to drive a number of conversions in a limited time period. You could heavily reduce the price on a number of very specific items and then post those items on your Facebook or Twitter accounts to drive initial traffic to the store. A product that is complimentary to other popular products in your store could be a way to encourage the check out of multiple products at the same time in your store. You could also tie this in with a giveaway or competition promotion.
Many people follow a social media site or business specifically to get a bargain or win a prize. Is there something of value that you could give away like a gift voucher in your store, or a sample pack of your products? You could have a skill based competition where the entrants must find something hidden in your website (you’ll need to provide clues or they’ll give up looking for it) or to tell you in 25 words or less why they should win the prize. You can validate entrants by ensuring that they have purchased at least one item (of a particular value) in your store. Giveaways and prizes can be effective in both B2B and B2C marketing and a way to open a dialogue between the entrants of the competition and your business.
Be careful not to encourage people to only buy what’s on sale
Effective sales are those that grow the total sales volume and grow your total profits (or achieve some other objective, like increasing loyalty programme signups).
When running price-based sales, it’s very important to not encourage your customers to expect discounts in your store as their natural right, or you will not be able to drive healthy profit margins on any of your products unless they are in heavy demand and low in stock. Customers will just wait for the item to come on special in order to purchase it or shop around for it elsewhere. They will not respect your normal retail prices and may even have the perception that your usual prices are merely inflated estimates and only the sale prices are “real”.
This is a similar problem to the one faced by stores that send out specific offers for abandoned carts where in that case customers can purposefully abandon a cart in order to receive an offer from the retailer on that item./p>
The keys to determining how to set your sale prices and on what products to set them on, depend on:
- Your objectives of the promotion – are you trying to get a new product started and encourage trial of it, are you trying to clear stock at an end of financial year sale, sell particular colours and sizes? Your objective should be clearly defined.
- How the customers for those particular products shop – all of the customers shopping on your site may not be equal. Certain products may have different buying behaviours. For example, some customers will know what products they want and are looking for the most trustworthy place with the right price to purchase it, others will be concerned about stock availability or shipping prices, others may be return purchasers re-ordering a previous order, some products will have customers shop around a lot, others will be purchased quickly based on a consumer’s knowledge of the product and similar substitutes.
- How do your on-sale prices compare to the regular or discounted prices of competitors?
- In past sales, how much has sales growth risen compared to the size of the sale? This is known in economics as the “elasticity of demand” – how much sales volumes will change when the price is reduced. If demand is highly elastic, then sales demand will increase greatly when a price is reduced. If demand is inelastic then sales demand will not change much when prices are reduced. The more elastic the demand for a particular product, the better return you’ll get out of a price based promotion. Otherwise you may be discounting your prices for little return. To get a feel for the elasticity of demand of products in your store, you can look at the percentage of products in your store that are sold at full price. Are you getting more than 10%-15% of your sales at full price? If not, what percentage are you getting? Is that acceptable for your objectives?
Have products that need to be re-ordered or have accessories and supplies that have a high frequency of turnover? Sending out a “time to reorder” reminder with a promotional message (e.g. a discount code) can get your business and website top of mind again, and make it easy for the consumer to buy your product. In Ozcart customers can click to “reorder their last order” which puts all of the items back into the cart for them and then you can give them a discount code to seal the deal. Discount Coupons can have an expiry date on them which can be handy for creating a limited availability of your promotion.
People love to belong to something, so there may be an opportunity to create a VIP customer group or club in your site to enable your special members to be treated with a large degree of respect and service quality. Airlines do this well with their frequent flyer clubs, and many other websites also have VIP areas or clubs where customers can enjoy greater discounts and benefits from just purchasing. You could include hidden products in your store and give out the links to them to your VIP customers, and offer your VIP customers automatic discounts on certain products, or bulk buying discounts that encourage your loyal customers to purchase in greater quantities.
Landing pages for your online advertising
When a customer finds a page via a search on Google, it’s natural that you’ll want to show them the full range of your site navigation, banners that might interest them and the content about the product or service that they’re interested in. But what if they’ve clicked through from an online advertisement (e.g., Google Ad or Facebook Ad)? They’ll be looking for specific information about the offer they’ve clicked through on, and may get distracted by other content on the page like navigation and offers. Removing distractions from the page can increase conversion of the customer by a significant amount.
Buy from Facebook
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are a powerful way of bringing new visitors to your site, and encouraging them to move through your website and checkout process to make a purchase. Depending on the type of content you post on your social media accounts, you can encourage either awareness of your website, preference for your products or a category of products in your store, or a liking for a specific product in your online shop.
If you can shorten the number of clicks and time between the content on your social media website through to the completion of your purchase process, then you can reduce the chances of cart abandonment by giving the customer fewer opportunities to reconsider their choice to purchase the product or to shop around.
To increase the chances of converting your social media click through to a sale, think about how you can overcome common cart abandonment reasons, like the perception that shipping prices are high.
Using tactics together
Studies show that Australians, as well as consumers in other countries, are frequently using multiple technology devices at once – like watching a streamed movie on a Telstra T-box while surfing the Internet on their smartphone. Sales tactics can therefore be used together. For example, you can use a Facebook post about a promotion to drive traffic to your store’s product or advertising landing page. On the page you can use a banner to reinforce the advertisement they might have clicked on and the offer – as well as appealing to new visitors who may have come across this offer by regular searches in Google or Bing.