The best deals to offer customers when you run a small business | Heart Internet Blog – Focusing on all aspects of the web

In a recent study, Heart Internet customers told us that they’d like to learn more about how to offer discounts to their customers.

It’s easy to understand why.

Research suggests that as many as two thirds of consumers will make a purchase they weren’t originally planning to make after discovering a voucher or discount code.

Further studies imply that offering discounts can make your brand more memorable through the way offers raise oxytocin levels.

For a concrete example of just how impactful offers and deals can be, we can turn to Microsoft.

The tech company once created an email sales campaign that featured content that adapted to the recipient at the exact moment the email was opened.

In just 200 milliseconds, the email content changed to reflect the reader’s location, age, gender and online activity data.

These emails lifted conversion rates by 70 per cent.

Of course, tactics like this aren’t always realistic for smaller businesses.

So, in this blog we’ll consider a range of discount and sale tactics that can work better for smaller operations.

First things first – consider what you want to achieve

As the Microsoft example showcases, deals work best when they are well thought out.

Ask yourself what’s the aim of your offer? Here are a few examples of offer goals:

  • Encourage sales during a quiet month
  • Attract a certain type of customer
  • Promote a new product
  • Encourage sales of a less popular product

7 examples of sales that are suitable for small businesses

1. Lifestyle discounts

Lifestyle offers are those that apply to a certain segment of your customer base, such as senior citizens, students or teachers.

Offering a lifestyle discount can show that you understand and care about your clients.

When it comes to finding the right time to offer a lifestyle discount, it can be helpful to scroll through the Awareness Days Calendar – you’ll find everything on here from International Firefighters Day to International Nurses Day.

2. Flash sales

Research suggests that flash sales can increase transaction rates by 35 per cent.

These sort of sales work by creating a sense of urgency and inducing a feeling of ‘anticipatory regret’ in consumers.

For small businesses, flash sales can be a great way to generate hype while selling off the last few items in a certain range of stock.

If you’re on a budget and don’t have the money or time to spend on website changes, social media, especially Facebook, is a great platform for hosting flash sales.

Research suggests that a three-hour window works best for flash sales on social media.

3. Loyalty discounts

Studies indicate that loyalty programmes can increase company revenue by five to 10% and that loyalty members tend to spend five to 20% more than non-members.

If you run a bricks and mortar business, like a coffee shop or yoga studio, it’s easy to offer customers loyalty schemes – all you need to do is get a few stamp cards printed.

It’s a little tricker to offer loyalty programmes online.

If you have an ecommerce store that’s built on WooCommerce, it’s easy. You just need to add the WooCommerce Points and Rewards extension to your site, and you can reward customers as they shop and allow them to redeem their rewards in your checkout area.

Just so you know this extension is included for free along with £4,000’ worth of others when you buy Heart Internet’s WordPress Ecommerce Hosting plan.

4. Mystery discounts

Mystery discounts add an element of gamification into offers.

They take the form of website pop ups or email content that allows customers to spin a wheel or something similar in order to earn a discount – the discounts on the wheel can be anything from 10% off to a free gift.

Some ecommerce platforms offer extensions or apps that allow you to add mystery discount functionality to your online store.

Some email marketing platforms, like Mailer Lite, offer the same functionality within emails.

If you have a web designer of your own, you can ask them about the best way to incorporate mystery discounts into your site.

5. Abandoned cart discounts

Cart abandonment rates vary by industry. However, research suggests that the average cart abandonment rate sits around the 55 to 88% mark.

Further statistics suggest that you can recover up to 30% of abandoned cart customers if you send customers a follow up discount.

If you have an ecommerce store that runs on WooCommerce and WordPress, you can add an extension to your site that makes it easy to send customers follow up emails and discounts after they have abandoned their cart.

6. Partnership promos

When you run a small business, you’re often part of a community of local companies and you can team up with some of these companies to run joint offers.

These offers work by raising the profile of both parties and introducing them to new customers.

As an example, a local coffee shop might team up with a local hairdresser to offer cut price cappuccinos to clients having haircuts.

7. Free shipping

Free shipping has been shown to increase conversion rates by up to 50%.

However, shipping isn’t cheap – even Amazon makes a loss on it, all be it intentionally.

So, you’ll need to do some maths before you offer free shipping as a blanket discount.

Here are a few tips for making free shipping work for you:

  • Only offer free shipping on orders over a certain value
  • Encourage upsells by offering your free shipping discount on orders that contain two or more items
  • Time your free shipping offers to coincide with slower sales periods

Need more hosting power for all the new customers you’ll attract with your offers?

Check out our tailored WordPress Ecommerce hosting plans – they come with everything you need to make your online store thrive, including £4,000 of premium WooCommerce extensions.

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