Sales are already back for a new season. They are always a favorable time for e-merchants and retailers. What type of consumer behavior should we expect? How can brands make the most of this revenue opportunity?
It is important to know that consumer behavior vary depending on whether they shop during winter sales or summer sales. In Winter, they tend to spend more time online. And when the sun starts showing its face, consumers are more likely to go in stores. However, they do not forget online shopping. Although they spend less time online during the summer sales, they are more efficient and use an average of 57% more filters in their searches. Now that we have drawn up an overview of the basic consumer behavior, let’s look into different strategies that can be carried to maximize revenue during sales.
Outline your strategy beforehand
The first tip, which is the very foundation of it all, is the implementation of a strategy in advance. Having clear goals according to the brand’s situation is essential if you want to coordinate actions that create real added value. There are multiple possible goals, for which the strategic approach can be quite different:
- Strengthen your bond with new customers
- Cut inventory and clear out old references
- Increase your market share
In order to turn new customers into regular ones, you can give them a gift card when they visit your stores. If it is only redeemable after the sales period, they are likely to come back then and indulge themselves. However, if your goal is to cut inventory, it is more relevant to offer a gift card before the sales, only redeemable during the promotional period. Since gift cards are flexible, your brand can decide to use it only for a specific category or range of products.
Communicating with consumers ahead of time
Communicating long before the sales period is crucial to be successful. Consumers should be aware of the upcoming sales and promotions offered by the brand. Otherwise, they won’t necessarily plan on visiting your store, or even check out your deals. Communicating beforehand means interacting with customers and prospects, being visible and allowing consumers to get ready for the big day.
Social media, text, email, … there are multiple ways to get in touch with consumers, you just need to find the right ones and the right time. For instance, with emails, it is relevant to add promotional codes or gift cards with a set amount, both usable during the sales period. It will give your strategy a boost, and bring more customers in sales points.
Another advice would be to personalize each email as much as possible. That is to say, highlighting specific products according to the customer, and not sending the same products to your whole customer base. The email should showcase products that are most likely to catch the eye of the consumer, based on their purchasing history, the product’s success, … These are additional arguments to convince them to add your brand to their shopping spree.
Helping shoppers choose their products beforehand
Following on from guiding consumers before the sales period, brands can work on what could be called “pre-baskets”. It entails offering customers to choose their favorite products on the brand’s website and saving them until the sales begin. It is also important to underline that the first day accounts for 30% of revenue on the first week of sales, and that the first week accounts for 25% of the whole promotional period. For brands, it also gives an idea regarding each customer’s preferences. And it can even be used as data to create a customized emailing campaign before the sales.
Offering a seamless customer experience
Once you have brought customers to your sales point, whether physical or digital, there is still a lot to do. Even during sales seasons, brands must offer their clients a seamless experience. Without that, all their communication efforts would have been in vain. But how ?
During sales, customer experience must revolve around good deals. As soon as they enter the shop or land on the website’s homepage, customers must clearly see the promotions. They must be explicit, easily and quickly noticeable. It is also important not to make mistakes in the discounts, and have no obstacles when the customer reaches checkout and wishes to use his coupon or gift card.
Of course, all the timeless customer experience standards remain important: easy navigation, loading time (more than 3 seconds of loading and 57% of internet users leave the website), delivery time, complementary services, suggestions, refund and return policies, …
Offering different types of promotions
A brand can choose between multiple types of promotions during sales, and should be able to offer more than one. Consumers are not all the same, they differ in their preferences. A brand should try to please as many customers as possible. What is more, offering different kinds of promotions will lead customers to be more proactive and look for the best deals.
What are the options?
- Offer free shipping
- Offer an additional discount when customers exceed a certain amount, if they purchase products from a specific range or if they buy more than a set number of products.
- Offer a gift card with a fixed amount for a specific purchase (exceeded amount, range of products, or number of products bought)
- Contest to win a gift card
Thinking omnichannel and multi-devices
Nowadays, customer journeys are more complex, unique and use different devices. Seasonal sales are no exception. These past few years, we even see a surge in smartphone use during promotional periods. If computers remain the main device for online shopping, mobile devices are gaining momentum. And it is actually a great tool to encourage consumers to visit physical or online stores (web-to-store).
Texts are a good way for brands to reach customers directly. 95% of consumers open and read promotional texts. They can be used in various ways, either to remind them of the gift card or voucher they received beforehand, or to inform them that sales are starting. Moreover, with their smartphone they can save their gift cards on their wallet application. Thanks to this very same app, brands can send push notifications, taking into account the timing or the consumer’s location. For example, if they happen to be close to the store, or if sales are coming to an end, the brand can send a notification. It will remind them they can spend their gift card at any time in their shop or website.
Acquiring new customers thanks to seasonal sales
Sales are a good time to draw in new customers. Some consumers might have visited your website outside promotional periods without purchasing anything. Winter and summer sales are the perfect time to target them through online advertising in order to convert them into customers. To stand out and enhance your message’s efficiency, you can add a free gift card with a set amount that can be spent at a given time. It’s the perfect addition to encourage them to make their first purchase. And once they are customers, the brand has to work on its loyalty program to keep them around.
Shopping cart abandonment and retargeting
Although they have added products to their shopping cart, some consumers might not buy anything during the sales seasons. Even during promotional periods, it is relevant to launch retargeting strategies. Whether through online advertising or emailing, retargeting is always effective. A French study showed that consumers tend to open promotional emails more during sales (+15%), the click rate goes from 13 to 19% and it reaches 25% of consumers.*
Creating retargeting strategies is possible, by sending several reminders. And the brand can slip in a promotional code or gift card at some point.
To be successful during seasonal sales, it is essential to work on a communication strategy beforehand, during, as well as afterwards, in order to ensure tangible results. Implementing an efficient promotional campaign, with different types of promotions, and above all, ensuring a flawless customer experience are key in order to maximize sales.
Suggestions for further reading
Impulse purchasing : how to encourage impulse buying in stores and online?
Download the ebook
eGift card white paper