Roll up, roll up, for the sale of the century!

Lee kenny, CEO of Snowflake Media
Lee kenny, CEO of Snowflake Media

If you are a retailer it is inevitable that at some point you will need to run a sale. Whether that’s to increase your turnover, clear inventory that hasn’t sold or simply to compete in the market.

The challenge with most campaigns though is that they are reactive to market conditions and often will miss a huge opportunity to benefit beyond the immediate transaction.

The number one reason to run a sale should be to acquire a customer, sounds simple right? Now my definition of a customer and yours may be a little different.

When I say acquire a customer, I mean acquire the ability to communicate intelligently with that buyer again.

Think about your last deep discounted sale. How many of those people can you instantly pick up the phone to, email or send a letter and hand on heart know what they bought last?

It’s something information marketers and professional services companies are pretty good at. In retail it can be like starting fresh each day, almost like groundhog day. Life shouldn’t be that hard.

Here are a couple of things you can do to ensure that any sale you have, has a lasting impact on the bottom line, while delighting your customers too.

Make it easy: Create a web page that looks and feels like something your customers are used to seeing. If it’s a deep discounted product, be sure to use a countdown timer or make sure the end date is really clear. Sales work due to scarcity rather than being an essential for your buyer.

Use Facebook Offers: Creating really compelling offers on Facebook is really easy and usually free to do. It’s a media that lots of your customers use for fun every day so you can really stand out.

Use Retargeting options: When someone looks at a specific sale item, if you have a large enough inventory, make sure you use a retargeting pixel for people that visit the page. Google, Facebook and Twitter all now offer the option and your web designer should be able to implement in less than 10 minutes. This also allows you to promote the item in the knowledge that they viewer is already partly familiar with you.

Upsells and cross-sell: Amazon were really the first people to do this in a big way with their “people who bought this, also bough XYZ product”. You can’t visit WH Smith without them offering you a chocolate bar for £1, even if you are buying a dieting magazine!

A really well thought out additional product will be where you can actually make profit, rather than just turnover. After all, Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity!

Test, Test, Test: Even a small thing such as offering your deal as a percentage off or a price can have a massive difference.

Which is the best deal? 50 per cent of a £10 item, or £5 off? Logically it’s the same discount, but usually your key customers will react more positively to one over the other.

It’s now your job to find out which works for your business.