Sales Promotions: A Customer Draw
Coupons are the most familiar form of sales promotion. Their value comes into play by bringing consumers into the store for one product while enticing them to other purchases. A growing number of Web sites offer coupons, and they remain popular in newspapers, advertising mailers and in-store flyers.
Conduct a bit of market research before launching a coupon campaign. Type into a search engine your product(s) followed by the word "coupon." You will be surprised by the number of competitors that are using them.
Make the most of coupons with these tactics:
- Implement a sign-up program. If people think they will save money, they will gladly give you an email address in order to gain access to discount coupons. Now you have built a database of customer contacts for your business.
- Use coupons as a call to action. You can issue one with no expiration date, for instance, then follow up this with a better coupon offer that does have an expiration date. This technique will prompt the consumer to take action if they want the better deal.
- Track the impact of coupon campaigns with coupon codes. Use codes that are memorable such as DECSPECIAL or SAVE75BUCKS. These are easy to remember and serve as reminders of discount amounts or expiration dates
- Rebates, like coupons, offer value by lowering final costs for purchasing products. Rebates differ from coupons in that customers cannot obtain the savings until after the purchase is made. What's more, rebates often require purchasers to submit personal data in order to earn the savings. Instant rebates, taken at the point of purchase, are more like coupons, due to the timing of the reward. A word of caution, though rebates often go unused because customers don't bother filing out the paperwork, or don't have the patience for delayed gratification.
- Loyalty programs offer customers rewards such as price discounts and other incentives in exchange for frequent purchasing. Many retailers use these programs as a general business practice.
- Demonstrations aren't just for late-night infomercials. Whether live or through in-store videos, many products sell once customers see them in action. Unfortunately, the costs may outstrip the advantages. If the demonstrator or "special guest" is well known, pricey fees can offset increased sales.