8 Sales Promotions Ideas Perfect for Retail [with Examples]
Are you wondering how to plan and execute effective sales promotions for your retail business? Do you want to find out how the leading retail players implement in-store promotional campaigns? If so, read on to discover 8 ideas for retail promotions with examples.
What is a retail sales promotion?
A sales promotion is a type of marketing strategy that uses various incentives to increase the service or product value in the eyes of potential customers. Sales promotions are also commonly used to generate demand and boost recognizability on the market which is especially important for product launches.
As the retail market is slowly bouncing back from the pandemic, there is a growing need for promotional offers that can compete against the convenience of online shopping. Consumers, due to the uncertain economic situation, will increasingly focus on discounted goods. Retail stores must meet these expectations if they don’t want to fall behind. From a business perspective, this can turn out to be quite a challenge without a proper retail promotion strategy and technology in place.
The current time is exceptionally advantageous for retail chains to investigate new consumer preferences in greater depth and on this basis select sales promotions that will attract more customers to their stores. Personalized offers may be a good solution as modern consumers have had enough of random, one-size-fits-all discounts for a long time.
Here are my 8 ideas for retail promotions that will surely increase your foot traffic:
- BOGO promotions (Buy One, Get One Free)
- BOPIS promotions
- Receipt sweepstakes
- Gift with a purchase offers
- Gift cards & in-store credits
- In-store events
- Partnership promotions
1. BOGO promotions
BOGO offers (buy-one-get-one-free) promise customers something for free. This is an example of an excellent retail marketing strategy that not only attracts customers with the beautifully sounding “free stuff”, but also allows retailers to run creative up- and cross-selling offers, cleaning the warehouse and increasing sales of less popular products at the same time. BOGO deals come in all shapes and sizes and are considered a part of a wider marketing strategy revolving around product bundling and mixing.
Note, however, that standard BOGO sales promotions where the second cheaper product is discounted may not be appealing to customers. Retailers often notice that BOGO offers that come with the second product given for free perform better that BOGO discount deals.
Example of a BOGO promotion from a retailer:
Sephora, an omnichannel beauty retailer, has already made a name for itself in the sphere of attractive and customer-centric sales promotions. The retailer uses BOGO promotions with the second or third products added to the order. What’s key is that due to the wide selection, clients are able to choose the color of the product that they are getting for free.
Usually, Sephora tends to run pure BOGO offers where the same product is added to the order for free instead of mixing complementary products. This strategy makes sense in the beauty industry where customers regularly need to stock up on favorite products.
2. BOPIS promotions
The pandemic brought about a myriad of new marketing tactics for retail. One of which is BOPIS – Buy Online Pickup In-Store. In short, BOPIS happens when a customer orders a product online and decides to pick it up at one of your physical locations, skipping the external delivery service.
BOPIS has been one of the most interesting new retail tactics to cater to customers who feel more comfortable shopping online, but who are often in the vicinity and can drop by to pick up their order faster than by choosing an external home delivery service. In short, with BOPIS, retailers can offer customers the best of both worlds with no extra delivery costs, mixing the the convenience of online shopping and shorter wait times.
If you want to increase the adoption of BOPIS in your retail business, try offering various discounts on these orders to incentivize on-the-fence customers. Another way to enhance your BOPIS offer is a Drive Up deal that ensures that customers don’t even have to leave their cars to claim their order – instead, their assigned shopping buddy will bring the order straight to them.
Example of a BOPIS promotion from a retailer:
Petco is an American pet retailer. As reported in their press release, the company saw an increase in its “e-commerce revenue and number of net new customers by more than 5%” once it introduced a convenient BOPIS solution in more than 1,500 stores country-wide. To drive awareness and adoption of the new way of shopping, Petco offered attractive time-limited promotions and discounts available only for BOPIS orders.
Geoconquesting is a clever way to steal market share from your competitors. In short, geoconquesting is about targeting customers with promo notifications when they are close to your competitors’ physical locations. Usually, the goal of a geoconquesting campaign is about winning customers from your competition by offering a better deal or another incentive, such as an attractive welcome discount. An example of a geoconquest campaign could be Walmart targeting Target customers and vice versa.
The biggest pitfall of this type of sale promotion is the technical infrastructure behind it and location tracking that needs to be unlocked by customers.
Learn more: Geomarketing for sales promotions
4. Receipt sweepstakes
Sweepstakes and giveaways are popular ways to engage passive customers and bridge the gap between the physical and digital shopping experience. Typical retail sweepstakes would involve customers taking a picture of their receipt and uploading it into a specific system for a chance to win a giveaway. One common difficulty with running this type of promotion is not only having proper technology but also remaining within the bounds of the law – i.e. not being characterized as a lottery which can be prohibited in some countries, such as the US.
Such sweepstakes are a common practice to incentivize purchases, but they can serve plenty of other benefits. For instance, Walmart users receipt raffles to encourage customers to take part in a post-purchase survey.
Example of a receipt raffle from a retailer:
Libero is a Polish supermarket brand that regularly runs receipt raffles. In order to take part in the lottery, customers have to make purchases at Libero Katowice for a minimum amount of PLN 50 and collect a lottery card. Then go to one of the multimedia kiosks, scan the code and see if they've won any prize.
5. Gift with purchase promotions
Gift with purchase (GWP in short) is a common retail sales tactic that involves offering a free gift for customers who purchase from you. GWP promotions often run in brand stores to build brand loyalty and perception. But it does not mean that retailers cannot benefit from this promotion type.
GWP promotions can help retailers make in-store shopping more memorable and personal by triggering the reciprocity effect when customers feel obliged to repay you in return for the free gift they received. The key to a successful GWP promotion is making sure that it is time limited and available only above a specific order total. Also placing “while stock lasts” on top helps prevent customer frustration if you run out of gifts.
6. Gift cards & in-store credit
In a retail context, gift cards can work in plenty of different ways. You can offer them for sale as any other product allowing you to collect plenty of cash upfront. You can also offer them as promotions and free in-store credit which works exceptionally well for various special occasions, such as customer birthdays or anniversaries with your retail store. You can also assign digital or physical cards that can collect in-store credit that can be used while shopping, which makes for at least one good reason to continue shopping with you.
Retailers and e-commerce brands alike are quick to jump on the gift card bandwagon with the latest addition being group gifting where several friends can chip in for a higher value gift card. Also, cashback programs are gaining traction. The primary question is whether you should offer paper or digital gift cards. The answer isn’t clear. Generally, a combination of both, paper and digital gift cards works best as it allows you to target different demographics.
Learn more: 13 gift card campaigns done like a pro
Example of a gift card promotion from a retailer:
Plenty of big retailers offer gift cards on their whole inventory or from their partners, such as Amazon, Sony, or Zalando. Target is one such retailer. To cater to different customer preferences, the company offers gift cards in both paper and digital formats.
7. In-store events
In the digital age, when everything seems to be done online, increasing foot traffic in physical locations is a real headache for retailers. Competing with the convenience of ecommerce is one tough fight – luckily, retailers still have one or two tricks up their sleeves. One of them are in-store events. Depending on your line of business, in-store events can take wildly different forms – from beauty training and workshops to take-all-you-can challenges. What is best about this type of promotion is that it allows you to build a community around your business and engage customers in an event that is not strictly sales-oriented.
Example of an in-store event from a retailer:
Walmart has an interesting take on in-store events by making them…not entirely in-store. Customers can take part in various events in either a physical store or tune into a live stream or a webinar built around a specific topic. This retail strategy is also focused on live shopping – a new trend that’s been gaining traction in 2022.
8. Partnership promotions
More often than not, retailers forget about partners whose merchandise they offer or other retailers with a complimentary offering. Besides generating some buzz, partnership promotions can open up your business to not only new audiences but also new ideas. Another often overlooked benefit is that you don’t have to do everything alone when running partnership deals – after all, it takes two to tango.
Learn more: What is affiliate marketing?
Example of a partnership promotion from a retailer:
Home Depot ran an interesting collaboration series with Pinterest to not only advertise their products but also educate their audience on how to complete both simple and advanced home improvement projects, empowering users to take matters into their own hands and perform jaw-dropping refurbishments on their own, tapping into the DIY trends.
As reported in the press release, “The Home Depot® and Pinterest have partnered to dramatically expand Pinterest's visual discovery feature, Shop the Look, with more than 100,000 new shoppable home décor products, including vanities, faucets, lighting, textiles, tabletop, and interior décor.”
These were only a few ideas for memorable retail sales promotions that can help you compete with the convenience of ecommerce. For more ideas and examples, check out our Inspiration Library with over 100 promotion ideas perfect for retailers and ecommerce alike.
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