Wyoming Business Tips: Marketing tips for holidays

Kayley Achi

If you haven’t already considered how you’ll convince shoppers to buy from your store instead of your competitors, now is the best time to start. One of the simplest ways to attract customers to your store or e-commerce website is to offer deals and discounts on your products and services.
Discounts don’t just apply to Black Friday, and they don’t have to cut into your bottom line. If these discounts are successful, they can help attract more customers to your business and increase your overall sales.
Before we get into the deals and discounts you can offer this holiday season, it could be worthwhile to think about what items you’ll be discounting. Many business owners choose to discount all of the items in their store or the bestselling products and services to entice both new and repeat customers. Others look at which products have the highest profit margin so that there’s less of a “sting” when it comes time to temporarily reduce the price.
Another thing to consider is your inventory. Do you have one product taking up too much space in your storeroom? This could be an excellent opportunity to free up space for new products.
Now that you’re thinking of what to discount, let’s look at how you can discount your products and services. Here are a few common sales you’ll see during the holiday season:
-- Percentage discounts. Percentage discounts need little explanation. You take a certain percentage, such as 15 percent or 20 percent, from the regular price of your goods. The percentage depends on the retailer and product, with some offering 5 percent and other retailers offering 80 percent.
The best way to gauge what’s common for your industry is to look at what your competitors are offering. A 5 percent discount may be generous for bigger ticket items, such as cars, while 25 percent may be expected for clothing items. My suggestion is to focus on intervals of five. It makes it easier for customers to do the math on the sale price, especially if the final price isn’t included on the tag.
-- Buy one, get one (BOGO). In a BOGO sale, customers get a free item when they purchase another item. You’ll usually see the “buy an item and get an item of equal or lesser value” stipulation tacked on to this sale. Otherwise, customers could be tempted to buy a low-cost item to get their higher-priced item for free.
A BOGO sale can be a great way to get customers in the door, but it’s not typically used for all items. You might, instead, choose a low- or mid-priced item for your BOGO deal. You also can restrict the sale to a single item or category in hopes that customers come for the BOGO and buy other items while they’re in the store.
-- Free shipping. If you have an online storefront, free shipping could be a nice incentive for your customers. E-commerce giants, such as Amazon, have made free shipping the norm, and this could make the difference between a customer deciding to shop small or go with a big retailer.
-- Gift card deals. Gift cards can be used in several ways. You could hand out gift cards for customers who purchase items over a certain dollar amount. For example, a knitting store may give out $5 gift certificates to anyone who purchases over $100 of knitting supplies during the sale season. Not only does it encourage customers to get their cart up to $100, but it also encourages them to come back and spend the $5.
(Kayley Achi is a market researcher at the Market Research Center, Wyoming SBDC Network.)