7 ways of using ecommerce promotions to make money, not lose it

Promotions are a great way to build your customer base, and get that feel good vibe about your company. Ecommerce solutions with ERP integration should have a promotions function within the feature set of your webstore. In Part 3 of our 12 part series – Ecommerce fundamentals 101 – we ask Brooke Anderson, MD, XM Developments, how to attract traffic and reward loyalty through the effective use of promotions.

Q: In general, are you better off discounting rather than being the cheapest?
A: The power of a discount psychology can never be underestimated. People teetering on purchasing will often be pulled across the line if it is 30% off. The perception of value is greater and subconsciously customers will ‘perceive’ the value of your product higher if they see a higher retail price. People will buy things they don’t even really want to if it’s 90% off!

Q: Is there an easy way to build loyalty and repeat purchases on your Sage Ecommerce store?
A: Sending out one-time use vouchers with an expiry date after the first purchase gets them back to your store within 30 days. The habit of using your online store can become engrained, and even if they don’t purchase again, they will likely pass this onto a friend or family member rather than lose the perceived saving – otherwise it will seem a waste.

Q: How do you decide on what kind of vouchers to send?
A: It goes without saying but you obviously need to send relevant discounts. Don’t send a voucher for 50% off for nappies to someone who bought a cordless drill. If they have purchased an item, use your Sage Ecommerce solution’s “people who bought also bought” function in order to help decide what to send people.

Got to love that people who bought also bought feature!

Q: Aside from the functions within your Sage Payment solution, are there other ways you can source information which will help determine what kind of vouchers to send?
A: Google Analytics is an incredibly useful tool for this. Especially when it comes to understanding cart abandonment. You want to use the analytics data to see when (and hopefully why) your customer did not complete the sale. If they abandon the cart, send them an offer for a discount on what’s in their cart, or maybe a high discount on one item where the margins are such that you can afford to offer 50% off one item. If they abandon on the shipment page, send them an offer for free shipping or 50% of shipping – or maybe an offer for free shipping if they spend over $200 etc. If they abandon at the payments page, maybe you need to offer payment alternatives? Consider PayPal, MoneyBookers or EFT payments as well. They may after all, not have a Credit Card.

Q: How important is your email strategy when it comes to communicating your promotions?
A: It’s a hard one but you have to find that fine line between being relentless and being considerate. What’s not in doubt though is that you don’t abuse your customers’ email inboxes. Make sure you have an offer or genuine news when they receive your email. Click through rates are more important than volume, and hit and miss unplanned marketing will result in a high opt out rate. You may get a sales spike in the beginning, but it will decline quickly if your emails are considered to be spammy.

Q: Are there other ways of getting your promo codes out there?
A: Part of the benefit of finding new “channels” to promote your promo codes is that that unpredictability often means a higher attention rate. Depending on your product, you may be able to use Snapchat, Vine, or Pinterest to get your promo codes out there to new audiences or to markets who use email less and less. A banner over a new product image on Pinterest, offer a discount on Vine verbally or on an image in the background. In short – be creative.

Vine that promo code!

Q: Should you always use the same promo code across your different communication channels?
A: No. Even if your offer is the same across all your channels, vary the codes. Then you can see where the customer was directed. If you are offering 40% off a Milwaukee Cordless Drill, make the FaceBook code FBDRILLOFFER, Pinterest PTDRILLOFFER etc. Also vary paid advertising vs. organic. If you are paying for FaceBook Advertising one could be FBPDDRILLOFFER then you can measure where, who and how effective each channel is. You can even include traditional media such as billboards, print and radio in these offers. After a while, you may even be able to concentrate your marketing spend on where it matters.

FaceBook promo code

Follow XM Symphony’s board Using Webstore Promotions the Smart Way on Pinterest.