The end of a season and the beginning of a new year brings loads of opportunities to boost your business with end-of-season sales, stock clearances and new product lines – but how do you pull of the perfect sale, while keeping your brand in check?
Can a sale really boost profits?
Yes! Although the thought of cutting your prices might make you balk – after all, no one wants to devalue their business and seem cheap – a sale can be a really good driver of profits. But you need to make sure you execute yours in the right way.
A sale can take prospects and give them that little push that they need to turn them into buyers – and if you can keep those first time buyers and turn them into customers, you’ll reap the rewards afterwards.
Sale or promotion?
These two words are used interchangeably, but there’s a subtle difference between the two that you should be aware of.
A sale is where you offer a time sensitive discount on your products, usually to clear your stock or inventory. It could be just one product, or your whole range. Think: 50% off all Valentine’s Day Cards – two days only!
A promotion is a way to attract attention and add value to your offering. Think: bundle discounts, free delivery, special deals for certain customers, additional benefits (like gift wrapping or free gifts with a purchase). A promotion helps drive buyers through encouraging them to purchase a product with an added benefit for a limited time only.
Image credit: Ted & Kip’s promotion on imperfect pins
Ted & Kip host ‘seconds sales‘ on their pins, which is a great way to draw customers in with a lower price, whilst also selling their very slightly imperfect stock. A seconds sale is something which can be run all year, and doesn’t need to be tied to any particular event or other sale you have on. It’s a great way to introduce customers to your products and hopefully, keep them coming back for more of the same!
So why run a sale?
If you’re coming to the end of a season, or thinking about running a new collection, a sale is the ideal way to shift your old stock and make way for new stuff. A sale will also help you:
- Encourage those first time buyers – with real deadlines
- Take advantage of current events and times of year for fun promotions
- Reach out to your audience and keep them engaged. Think: social media campaigns, email marketing, flyering and advertising
- Target select members of your audience/offer VIP early access to your loyal customers and keep them engaged
How to host your sale?
So now you know why you should be hosting your sale, it’s time to think about the components that make up a good one – and how you should be executing yours for maximum effect.
Get people talking and anticipating
If you’re new to sales, frame and theme yours to give it an identity. This could be as simple as ‘bi-annual end of year sale’ or your ‘summer clearance’. This way, you’ll build anticipation for the next time you run a similar sale – your audience will come to recognise that you host sales at certain times and look forward to them.
Make sure you promote well too. Whether you sell on or offline, explore all your channels for maximum impact. From Flyers and Postcards to let customers know, to in store promo to catch attention – if people don’t know about your sale, they won’t shop!
Make sure you’re also utilising your social platforms too – and keep your messaging consistent to ensure that people recognise your sale (and that it’s from you!) when they see it.
Side note: Flash sales
Whilst it can be good idea to host sales at the same time every year (think: Black Friday, Summer Clearance, Bank Holidays), flash sales can also be an excellent driver for impulse buys. Think about offering flash discounts and promotions on products throughout the year, for a limited time only. This could be 24 or 48 hours only, or for the first 100 customers and so on. Be careful you don’t do this too often though, this should be a ‘surprise’ for customers, not a regular occurrence.
Offer VIP access
Consider offering loyal customers, social media followers or your email database early access to shop your sale. This way, they’ll feel special, and you’ll be giving them an exclusive offering that’ll differentiate them from the rest of your customers (and people love to feel like they’re the first!).
Encourage action with scarcity
Set a time limit for your sale. Whether it’s ‘while stocks last’ or you set a specific number of days or weeks, a limit will encourage people to shop quickly, as they won’t want to miss out.
Offer an extension
When your sale comes to an end, consider ‘extending’ it for a limited period of time, for those people who missed it. This ‘last chance’ offer might be the driver to push new customers to buy, if they think they have an extra chance to shop.
Have you hosted a sale? Share your tips in the comments section below and let us know!
Looking for retail sale essentials? From Leaflets and Flyers to Self-Adhesive Vinyl, you’ll find it all in the Printed.com dedicated Retail Collection.