Have you ever entered your favourite shop only to find that one piece you’ve been coveting the entire season is on sale?! I have, and the only thing I can say is that the feeling is worthy of its own Disney musical number. It is a mixture of disbelief, joy and a every-man-for-himself type of rush as you realise there are not that many items left and you have to run before anyone else catches it first, because — it’s on bloody SALE!
Anyway, that has always been my experience as a consumer, for the business owner it is a completely different deal. There are rewards, but also risks. If you’re the owner of a new online clothing shop or are looking into creating one, please take a look at the following suggestions regarding promotions and discounts.
Reasons for creating discounts
There are many reasons to do discounts and promotions. Sometimes they’re obvious ones like wanting to get rid of stock that’s been sitting for a while or looking for a spike on sales. Other times the cause might be a bit less obvious to the consumer. For example, some shops may put some items on sale to create a bigger price gap between those and the more expensive ones. Automatically, our mind wants to purchase the product just because it is cheaper than the most expensive one. What a value! One might say — even if we can get a more inexpensive version at a different shop. Here are some reasons to do a promotion or discount on your online store:
- To create a spike on sales
- To clear Stock
- To call attention on a particular product
- To call attention on a particular action (opening a new shop, for example)
- To expand your contacts list (by asking for an email in exchange of a coupon, for example)
- To get more followers on social media (exchange of “follows” and “likes” for discounts)
- To generate word-to-mouth buzz
The pros and cons
There are many obvious benefits to a consumer when things go on sale. Cha Cha heels for £10 pounds! It’s a bargain! Getting that one object you’ve been lusting after, for just a fraction of the price is just, well — priceless, for lack of a better word. But not the same thing can be said for the business owner. Run one too many promotions, for example and a brand may end up with a horde of faithful followers who won’t think twice about buying from them — when there’s a sale. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of running promotions.
- Customer satisfaction
- Client loyalty
- Increase of leads and conversions
- Attraction of new customers
- Simplicity (it is easy to set up and track)
- Customers may get used to buying “on sale” instead of full price
- Attraction of bargain-looking customers (not loyal)
- Losing brand value
- Reduction of profit margin
When is the right time?
As we already mentioned, by running a promotion or a discount you’ll get more attention than usual. In order to make the best of this moment, it is important to study when it will be the optimal time to do so.
Mother’s day, father’s day, Halloween, Christmas, are all great moments to do promotions. Make sure your SEO is up to scratch and watch those leads come in!
When you’re about to launch a new product, shop or service is a great moment to give potential clients a special discount. Some brands even do it before they open their online shops. The way this promotions usually work is by giving a discount to the first 100 (for example) customers who pre-order.
End of season
Most clothing companies run a special sale when the summer and winter seasons are ending. The most obvious reason being wanting to get rid of the left-over items before the new stock comes along. Time it right and you’ll get a fresh flow of clients when the temperatures start to change.
When a customer is about to leave
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but some online commerces send you a special coupon when you don’t go through with a purchase on their platform. This is a great trick because it makes the customer think twice. Another idea is to send a loyal buyer, who hasn’t purchased in a while, an email with a special offer.
Other special events
The world cup, the olympics, fashion week and many others. They’re all great moments to do a promotion.
Buy two and get the third one for free! Who hasn’t heard that one before? There are almost endless types of promotions, we’re just going to list some of the most effective for online commerce here.
- Percentage discounts
- Free-delivery after a certain amount of money is spent
- Special gift when a purchase is made
- Special discount for social media followers
- Referral promotion (give a discount to anyone who recommends your business to a friend)
In order to create a successful promotion, an online shop owner needs to get creative. Sure, giving a certain percentage discount is going to attract visitors, but it may not create the impact it could potentially have. In order to inspire ourselves let’s take a look at some successful and creative promotion actions:
This is an old one, but it works! Memebox, an online make-up retailer offers its customers a special 20% off discount from their Botanic Farm products. By doing so, they’re highlighting this particular line that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Fashion online giant Asos offers its customers a 10% discount if they’re students. They also have a special “Outlet” section in their store which claims to feature up to 70% off top brands. Thanks to the many sales they organise, Asos has gained a reputation for being an online retailer where you can get a good deal.
Targeting niche sectors
By offering a special discount to a certain crowd, you could gain acceptance from a niche crowd. Casper is a company that sells quality mattresses at affordable prices and they’re offering special 10% codes to listeners of the Savage Love podcast. By segmenting a particular crowd you make them feel special and therefore gain their loyalty.
Discounts and promotions are always great for the consumer, but may imply some unforeseen risks for the business owner when not executed properly. But don’t be discouraged, if you’re interested in offering something special to your loyal customers and see a spike in sales, then you should definitely consider it. Just remember to not run them very often and look for those opportunities, like a holiday and the launch of a new service, to get the biggest impact possible.
Do you have any experience with discounts and promotions? If so, please leave us a comment below, or get in touch via any of our social media outlets. We always love hearing from you! In the meantime, keep reading the Printsome Blog for more awesome content.
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