When it comes to sales promotion ideas for retail stores you can look up any list online and get 100’s of ideas. But what specifically drives sales for online retail stores?
The formula is the same but different too.
A good sales promotion idea will do these things:
- Drive customers
- Increase profits
- Boost overall awareness
While this post specifically focuses on online stores, you can still use these sales promotion ideas for retail stores too.
7 Door Busting Sales Promotion Ideas For Retail Stores Online
Many of the things that would bust doors open with a flood of customers in the offline world work just as well online as well. You just need a creative way to apply them to a virtual audience.
The following 7 ideas will help you get the most from your sales promotion.
1. Run a giveaway (but not just any old giveaway, one that is designed to drive sales)
Giveaways are a great way to grow your email list, fast.
But if you want them to perform as a marketing tool you need to be thinking about the ROI as well.
It’s no good getting 1000 entrants to a giveaway and all of them being duds.
RafflePress is a handy tool you can use to generate your giveaway page.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind when setting up and running your giveaway:
- Pick the right prize – you need to choose something that will resonate with your target customer, not just an Amazon gift card or an iPad for the sake of it.
- Use the right wording – a good giveaway page will have a hook, a reason why they should enter, trigger their desires and tell them what to do.
- Leverage social media – give your entrants extra entries when they share your giveaway post, this is important.
- Reward referrals – offer prizes for successful referrals of other contestants, you can have them unlock coupon discounts after referring a certain number of people, prizes or anything else that you come up with. This is key to making your giveaway go viral.
- Don’t run it for too long – a good contest is one that has a nearby end date, but don’t go too short either. You need time for the referral actions to take place. On average, 2-3 weeks is a great length.
- Bonus entries – RafflePress lets you easily give people bonus entries for doing viral things like sharing the giveaway on social media. It’s a great way to help spread the word.
- Promote – kick-start your giveaway by reaching out to every network you can possibly think of. If you want it to go viral, you need to put in the hard yards to kick start it. Leverage your audience and others that you have access to.
Follow these rules and it’s hard to fail with your giveaway too.
2. Be smarter with your coupon deals
When you run a coupon deal you need to consider how to make it interesting for the customer.
Using boring flat percentage based promotions just don’t cut it anymore in this world of short attention spans.
You need to be:
- Specific – appeal directly to a subset of customers
- Visual – they need to see what they’re getting
The more specific you can be with your promotions the better.
Eg. instead of “30% off TV boxsets”, try “Buy any TV boxset and get a second HALF PRICE!”
Likewise, show them exactly what they’re getting. This can be as simple as a graphic that illustrates the point in your marketing materials.
3. Loss leaders
The term “loss leaders” comes from traditional brick and mortar retail stores and refers to selling items at cost (or near to it, or even below!) in order to get people into the store. For discount stores especially, it’s one of the biggest tools in their bag of tricks.
So how can loss leaders help you as a sales promotion idea as an online store?
When you are running an online store it can help to create a loss leader, a cheap product, that will act as a tripwire to get people onto your website.
What do you have access to that your customers go absolutely crazy for. Look through your catalogue for the low cost, high volume items. These will be your prime candidates for loss leaders.
As an example, I once had a consulting client who sold skincare products. Her most profitable products were higher priced, but she introduced a low cost, organic deodorant.
Originally she was of two minds about it because she didn’t make much on it and it took time away from promoting products with better margins.
Immediately it started flying off the shelves, people were raving about it. It was clear she hit on something that captured people’s attention.
What she did next was impressive. She leaned into it. Instead of sticking with her belief that it was a waste of time to promote this product, they promote it heavily because they know that people eventually go on to purchase other more expensive skincare items from them once they’re hooked on the brand.
This low-cost entry product now features prominently on their homepage and it’s always talked about in press and articles online.
It’s an item that you can spend time promoting because you already know that people go crazy for it.
Which brings me to my next one…
An upsell is where you offer a customer a more expensive item either in place of the one they’re buying or in addition to the one they’re buying.
And upsell can occur either:
- Prior to checking out – these are generally good for cross-sells or upgrades to a better deal (eg. get a bundle instead of just the single product)
- After checkout – either directly after they check out so they have to pay again, or via an email autoresponder campaign to get them up to the next commitment level
Upsells are all about marketing to the customers you already have and getting more lifetime value out of them.
If you can upsell successfully you just sold another product without paying any more to acquire that customer.
5. Influencer marketing
Influencers in social media can be a great way to make something really take off if it’s poised for growth.
Getting an influencer in your space to talk about or use your product is perfect from a consumer psychology point of view because people always want what the popular folks have.
It works even better when it’s like a recommendation.
Want to turbocharge this tactic?
If you give your influencer an exclusive coupon to give their audience you can motivate people to take action right away. This will just pour fuel on the fire!
6. Joint-venture cross-promotion
Joint-venture promotions are similar to influencer marketing in that you are getting someone else to talk about your product.
The main difference is that the person doesn’t have to be someone influential on social media, the only requirement is that they have existing customers or an audience they can promote you to.
In return, you’ll generally do a promotion of some of their stuff to your audience.
The other way you can do joint-venture is by creating something unique that you can co-brand.
If you have a ladies handbag, for example, you might do a joint venture with a well-known designer and call it the “Jane Doe Edition”.
7. Promote in large Facebook groups in your target market
My last sales promotion idea for retail stores online is to leverage Facebook Groups.
At the time of writing, there are over 2.23 billion active monthly users on Facebook. Reports vary but approximately half of those people belong to Facebook Groups of some kind.
You can pretty much bet that whatever niche you are in, there’s going to be a large-ish Facebook Group where your customers gather.
If you can promote your sales promotion there that’s free exposure.
Follow these rules though:
- Check with the admin first – make sure they’re OK with it
- Look out for the “Promotion Friday” type posts and promote there
- Sometimes these things can work best if you approach it indirectly – ask a question, promote a quiz, promote some blog content.. whatever works to get visitors back to your site
Gather Your Sales Promotion Ideas!
Whether you’re a traditional retail store or an online retail store I hope these sale promotion ideas have given you some ammunition.
Now it’s over to you, gather those ideas together and start executing on them one by one!