Every company wants to sell more and acquire more customers. And businesses have known for ages that deals, discounts, and offers help achieve that aim. The internet is no exception – for 71% of consumers, coupons and discounts were identified as the biggest factor which influenced their online shopping behavior. Ecommerce companies can ill-afford to ignore this high-impact method to increase their sales.
(Source: “U.S. internet user purchase influence factors 2016”, Statista, 09/2018)
But what good are offers which aren’t working? The default channel used for marketing campaigns these days is social media for broadcast marketing and email for direct marketing. However, with 55% of email in 2018 having been spam, people are beginning to ignore promotional emails. Between 2016 and 2018, open rates for retail emails dropped from 43.8% to 30.3%. Even click-through rates (CTRs) went from 30.3% to an abysmal 2.7% in just two years.
Mobile Messaging is the new channel for online promotions
SMS is seen as a better alternative because it leverages the mobile phone, the most ubiquitous consumer device to have ever been created. 95% of all Americans own cellphones, and 77% of them own smartphones. With 79% of online purchases made from mobile phones in 2018, clearly, businesses should be targeting user cellphones as the channel to send out promotions to their audience.
(Source: “Mobile Fact Sheet”, Pew Research Center, 02/0518)
(Source: “Mobile eCommerce Statistics (Updated 2019) Percentage of Mobile mCommerce Shopping Trends”, OuterBox, 04/22/2019)
The excellent engagement rates seen for promotional SMSes demonstrates the channel’s potential. Open rates are nearly 4x that of email marketing and attract nearly 15x more click-throughs. Getting eyeballs on your promotions and offers is key – there is no purpose being served whatsoever if a campaign isn’t generating sales, interest, and brand awareness.
Why are online promotions important?
Because discounts have a disproportionately large impact on consumer behavior. More than 64% of online consumers wait for a sale before buying things, and 59% look for discounts and promotions before finishing their purchase. Most impressively, nearly 2/3rds of all surveyed consumers indicated that a coupon or discount is useful in helping them decide when they still aren’t certain whether they want to buy or not. Online promotions and discounts are thus often the critical difference that closes a sale, and all ecommerce brands must use this tool wisely to boost revenues, clear stocks, and get through lull periods. Effectively, these promotions are the fuel that drives ecommerce sales.
(Source: “How Discounts Affect Online Consumer Buying Behavior [Infographic]”, Stacey Rudolph, 06/19/2016)
Which online campaign should I start with?
When you think about it, you realize that there are various different types of promotions and discounts campaigns that your ecommerce store can offer. Picking the right type depends upon your business goals and what you are trying to accomplish – you have to strike the difficult balance between offering too much and driving up ecommerce sales, but making the campaign too expensive.
Buy one, get one free!
When to use:
- Clearing inventory of slow-moving goods
- Generating quick cash and sales
- Acquiring more customers
- Best value ‘perception’ to customer
- Drives sales and increases cash flow
- Expensive; loses some meaning if it’s repeated too often
When to use:
- Carts are being abandoned
- A substitute is competitively priced
- To boost seasonal/holiday sales runs
- New customers and greater traffic
- Increase in sales
- Striking the right balance of discount and cost is difficult
When to use:
- When two products in your portfolio are designed to be used together
- Big price disparity between products
- To boost sales when discounts are difficult to offer
- Helps ‘bundle’ products in consumer’s heads
- Showcases value of secondary product\
- Doesn’t always work – people need to see value in what they’re getting
Flat discount – $$$ off
When to use:
- When you want to encourage sales across your company’s portfolio
- Promote sales when the budget is tight
- Drive big ticket sales
- Usually conditional – requires purchases of a threshold value to avail
- Helps you control total expense easily
- Requires careful calculation to make sure it works out positively
Different campaigns and discounts work differently on different customers. This creates a problem when initiating a campaign. However, technology now offers a solution. Ecommerce stores can now offer specific offers to different segments of their audience. Voyage, for example, allows you to curate and segment your customers on the basis of different characteristics.
What does this mean? You can automatically segregate your audience on the basis of how frequently they buy, how much they spend, and how recently they bought from your online store. If someone who usually buys a lot from your store hasn’t bought anything for a while, you can send them an extra special discount to get them back. Personalization and automation is really helpful in driving and increasing ecommerce sales.