There are so many new retail brands popping up majorly because of the ease of doing business in the industry and thus retail promotion is required.
You could be sitting in the comfort of your own home and start a brand with minimal resources at your disposal. Just create a profile on social media and you’re good to go.
Now, if you already have a retail brand, here are some retail promotion tips that you will be glad you came across:
#1. Always incorporate psychological pricing
This is one of the biggest retail promotion techniques that are essential to use.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of psychological pricing, it is the point system that marketers use instead of whole numbers:
Even when you’re seeing these two numbers, it really seems like a difference.
That’s just how our brain is designed to function. The first numbers mean more than the points which is exactly what makes this technique great for marketers to use.
You need to make customers believe that they are paying less because the price is just a perception of the value of the product.
Similarly, when you offer a discount on your products, price them at $84.95 instead of $85 or $90 because shaving a few extra dollars with a decimal place could definitely lure in more customers.
#2. Consider free shipping as part of retail promotion
I know that shipping is a big part of your overheads and it differs for each location which is why most businesses do not offer free shipping.
However, it is a hidden cost that customers find out once they reach checkout and it is a major reason why many abandon their carts.
Currently, 76% of online shoppers abandon their carts and cart abandonment causes a loss of $4.6 trillion in eCommerce sales annually, so think about how much you could be saving if you offered free shipping!
Instead of losing out on profits by absorbing the shipping cost, what you can do is calculate the lump sum cost of shipping for a specific period of time and then incorporate it as a fixed cost in each unit that you sell e.g. Total shipping cost in 1 year ➗ units sold in that year = Per unit cost of shipping.
You’d be surprised to know that customers are much more willing to pay a slightly higher price than find out about shipping costs later because they see a one time price which doesn’t seem too hefty.
As an alternative, especially if you ship internationally, you can offer free local shipping and add shipping costs for international customers depending upon their location because local shipping is a minimal cost that you can easily absorb, even as a small business.
Some brands even offer free shipping from time to time as part of their retail promotion strategy.
However, you still need to be upfront with customers.
What a lot of eCommerce sites like Amazon do is that they ask you to specify your country so that they can determine whether they ship to your country, what shipping costs you can expect and shopping in your local currency.
Here’s what I got when I entered Indonesia as my country:
You can follow suit and list any important information on your homepage so that your customers aren’t surprised with hidden costs or have any difficulty shopping later on, for example, the payment options that you do or don’t accept (Payoneer is a very new global payment solution, so if you’re accept payments through it, it’s a good idea to advertise that).
#3. Choose the right time to offer sales
I say this because I’ve seen a business almost go under due to this very reason.
A few years back, a local bedding company in my area held the most amazing sales for customers and outlets were full during the sale season.
However, a while later, they began to notice that there was a very low influx of customers in the shop when regular prices were being offered.
This meant that they were offering sales too often and they were forced to put up a sale sign all year round to retain their customer base.
In order to be successful and ensure a profitable business all year round, you need to offer sales at the right time and at the right frequency.
This means that the sale should benefit not only the customer but you as well.
First list down the different type of sales:
- Free samples
- Loyalty programs/memberships
- Deals like two for one
- Free shipping
This does not even begin to cover all the types of sales considering brands have come up with the most innovative tactics to get customers to buy their product over competitor brands.
First off, let’s discuss the basic sales that you should offer as a retail brand.
H&M, Zara, Claire’s etc. are all major retail brands that host end of season sales.
This one is a must because, suppose you have a clothing brand, fashion trends change every year and thus, you want to sell maximum stock at the end of each season.
It’s value decreases once the season is over and if you don’t sell it, it’s essentially of no use to you.
Thus, why not sell it as a lesser price as compared to zero sales? You can offer two for one, percentage discounts etc.
Then come store clearance sales.
These are rare sales that are not in your control but you’ll need to have either if you are shifting to a new location or shutting down a branch/the entire business.
Again, you need to sell the maximum amount of products before operations shut down in order to retain maximum profit in a limited time period.
So that covers the type of sales you need to offer depending upon external factors.
Next, you need to focus on the frequency of sales, which depends entirely on the nature of your business.
Some sectors of retail almost never host sales, but if business is really down, you can always go for it.
For example, a grocery store can slash prices of products or offer two for one deals so that customers are inclined to buy from them rather than other stores.
If you own a B2B business selling your products through a retail store, consider sampling.
As a child, I often found free samples of different food brands outside grocery and convenience stores which was a great way for new businesses to enter the market and grow their customer base.
It’s like a try before you buy scenario; if you like the taste, you switch to the new brand.
If your brand is targeted towards children and you offer free samples of tasty food items, children will make sure to ask their parents for the product (another trick is to place these products at the height of children so that they see it when they enter the store and parents have to buy it because the child loves it so much).
Coming back to the point, the frequency of sales can be completely random and not in your control or already determined by the industry, such as in clothing and accessories where sales are seasonal.
Thus, work with your R&D department to come up with the best strategy to maximise return on sales.
#4. Train your employees to make sales
Your employees are a big part of retail promotion because they act as your brand ambassadors.
A lot of brands pay their employees on a commission basis so that they stay motivated and make more sales.
What they forget, however, is to train employees such that they make effective sales.
You’ll often get calls from banks, home appliance sellers and other businesses urging you to buy their products.
This is highly ineffective because the only training these employees are given is how to speak to you while selling.
Unfortunately, customers don’t even pick up these calls or hang up when they hear that it’s a product promotion, so your job as a marketer is to catch their interest in the first place.
In order to do that, you need to train them to handle different types of customers. You can categorize potential customers into the following segments and then go from there:
First, you need to train your employees to recognize a certain type of customer and then convince them to make purchases accordingly.
If you are offering a low-involvement product, you can skip this part because customers only do their research for high-involvement offerings.
Well-informed customers know everything there is to know about the product they need and you can pick up on that because they will ask you questions about very specific features or examine your product to see if it has the features that they are looking for.
The best way to get these customers to purchase is to overwhelm them with the information they don’t know.
Make sure your salespeople have information on the tiniest detail about the product.
Surprise these customers with the most impressive and minute features about the product that aren’t common knowledge, because they already know the basics of what you have to offer, so you need to sell it by really emphasizing on the competitive advantage or USP that you offer.
These customers are probably at your store to kill boredom while waiting for someone or just out to enjoy the day without the intention of purchasing anything.
You can spot them with their casual attitude and how they wander around your store.
It’s more difficult to get these customers to buy because they may not even have cash on them, but there are some things you can do.
Have your employees greet them and let them know you are available if they need help, but don’t push it.
Go about your own work but do keep an eye on them. If you see them considering a product, only then go up to them and tell them about the details.
A very clever strategy that only a few businesses take advantage of is putting items ‘on hold’.
If the customer actually likes your product and wants to buy it later, tell them you’ll put a unit on hold for them for a limited time period (usually 24-48 hours) so that they can come back and buy it.
If you create a sense of urgency and make an effort, they might just come and get it.
However, the key is to judge the situation and not push too much because you may drive them away next time they visit the mall or area.
Unfortunately, I fall in this category especially when I shop alone.
If I like a product, I’ll fret over the price, the style, whether there is something better out there etc.
For these customers, you want to act like a friend.
Everybody needs an opinion when they try out products – whether its shoes, clothes, accessories or anything else.
Introduce yourself and give them an honest opinion about what looks good on them and what doesn’t. You’d be surprised at how much they are willing to trust your employees.
After all, your employees are experienced in retail. Use this to your advantage and hire employees with good social skills.
- Know what they want
These customers will just go straight in and out of your store and are really easy to identify.
They’ll walk straight up to the product or approach your staff and ask for the product that they need.
This is one of the easiest ways to sell so all you need to do is not make these customers wait.
If they have any questions regarding size, fitting etc. make sure somebody is available to make the purchase as quick as possible because making them wait is the only way you could possibly lose them.
- Regular customers
This is my absolute favourite category of customers.
These are the people which allow your business to run successfully so make them feel special by greeting them when they walk in, giving them special treatment, remembering their regular order (if any) and helping them out in any way you can.
Your job is to keep these customers satisfied to build customer loyalty.
So that sums up retail promotion strategies that are great for any business as long as you tweak them to your liking and choose those that are in line with the nature of your business. In this era of aggressive competition in the retail industry, consider automating your business process by using tools for digital marketing that will save you time and money.