which sale to run?

Black Friday
Small Business Saturday
Cyber Monday

Are you prepared for the big sale weekend? 

Choosing which promotion to offer during the holidays can be stressful. Let's break down some different types of sales:
free shipping
Free shipping is always a great buyer incentive! In our current poll on the blog and on Facebook it is the leader by a very large stretch for consumers. It seems more people could be tempted to make a purchase if free shipping is offered than if a store wide sale was running - but keep in mind shipping costs can add up quickly. Before committing to a free shipping sale make sure you can cover the expenses involved for packaging materials and shipping costs without your business losing money.

percent off
These discounts can be tricky, because you have to offer a deep enough discount to make the buyer feel like they are really getting a great deal, especially if you offer percent off sales in your store throughout the year as buyer incentive. Most people won't even look twice if a discount isn't a steep enough to catch their attention when there are other things with bigger discounts to be bought on holidays like Black Friday, with big box stores and larger online shops that are boasting 50% off! An idea to make percent off sales seem more appealing is to convert it to a dollar amount - "Save 30% today! That is up to $X off!"

buy x get x
This is a great option if you have a large inventory of items ready to ship! You can get creative with this discount  and  offer deals like buy a necklace, get a free pair of matching earrings or buy two purses (one for you, one for a friend!) and get a free wallet. Be expressive in your wording and help buyers visualize buying two or more of your products as gifts for themselves, friends, family, teachers, and co-workers. Even if your products aren't particularly their cup of tea, the goal is to make the buy x get x option tantalizing as a way to get multiple gifts with one purchase.

free gift with purchases
This can be a great buyer incentive! If you are going to offer a free gift with each purchase be clear about what the gift is and add a photograph of it to each qualifying listing, and make sure you have enough of the free items in excess of projected orders. Things to keep in mind: free items aren't "free" - make sure offering a free gift is cost effective, and if you are making the free gifts, make sure the amount of production time spent on them doesn't cut into your business productivity and set back your inventory production schedule for the holidays.

dollar off purchase
Offering a set amount off ($10 off a $75 order) can be very tantalizing for buyers! It can take a product from just out of their budget and drop it right onto their gift list. Market this sale like crazy, and be very explicit - if the sale is only on purchases over X dollar amount, be very clear about the amount. If it is on applicable to certain products you carry, be very detailed about this when promoting this sale: "$10 off all purse purchases made today!! Sale excludes diaper bags, wallets, and wristlets."

Things to keep in mind no matter what promotion you are running
  • don't be complicated - keep sales as simple as possible - don't insert tons of terms and conditions, just offer discounts that are easy for buyers to use. 
  • keep discount codes short, simple and easy to remember.
  • be very clear about the terms of your sale every time you mention so there is no confusion when the big day comes! 
  • photos are shared more via social media than text and link posts - create a banner for your sale event with all the details of the sale and your URL, and ask people to spread the word!
  • be clear and adamant about when the sale starts and  ends. It is not fair to anyone if you let someone pre-shop or hold items at sale prices for late comers. 
  • be sure to note if other coupons or discount codes can be used in conjunction with your holiday sale. You may have a free shipping code floating around out there that someone may double up with the holiday special. If double discounts aren't okay with you, update all your listings and policies to reflect this and consider editing your banner to have this text visible at the top of your shop during the sale time and mention it several times via social media before the big sales starts. No need to be rude about, just a gentle reminder that you don't allow two discounts to be used at once. 
  • offer (free) gift wrapping and offer to ship to recipients - making gifting your products easy for buyers!
Good luck with your holiday sales! 

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