Competition throughout the pandemic was fierce and only got worse as merchants ended 2020. Many stores and brands even began promoting Christmas before Halloween. What can be done to gain an edge over the competition in 2021? One strategy is promotions. Not only might they increase sales, but they could also result in new customers. Some have likely been used, but others may be new and should be considered.
Not yet using it? There are four options available—offers, events, updates, and products. Using ad offers, brands can post an offer or deal directly on their business profile, so it’s the first thing a potential customer performing a search on Google would see. Think about how much traffic this could drive to the brand’s website.
As marketer Alexei Orlov of MTM says, “Offering free samples is nothing new but is always a crowd favorite. Consumers like to try new things before they make a purchase. Check out local regulations before doing this, as the pandemic has curtailed the in-store practice in some areas. If it can’t be done in-store, might a free sample of the customer’s choosing be sent with each order?”
BOGO or buy one get one is not new either, but the timing could be critical this go-round. Some merchants even went to buy one, get two free to sweeten the deal. It’s about the same as offering a 33 percent discount but moves the inventory along even quicker. For service-related businesses, this guarantees to see the customer several times instead of just once and could result in more loyalty.
Cashback promotions are another proven strategy in securing customer loyalty and increasing business. And to some, it feels like a win-win situation.
Depending upon the brand’s target market, consider lifestyle discounts via public relations for key demographics like retirees, teachers, students, veterans, first responders, etc. Leverage attention by tying these in with other highly publicized observances like Veterans Day, National Senior Citizens Day, Teachers’ Day, etc.
Some online brands quickly discovered the success of flash sales that create a sense of urgency. Flash sales, out of the box, and flash discounts can be done a few times a year or even more regularly. Test the frequency to see what’s most successful with the brand’s customers. Add a hashtag to incite more fun and be even more identifiable.
Who doesn’t use coupons and vouchers? They’ve been successful for ages but consider heightening interest and suspense by offering mystery coupons. By being interactive, they require customers to go another step by visiting a page and clicking through or even scratching a card to find out how much they can save.
Many brands gained the confidence and trust of new customers by publicizing their free return policy. This was important as earlier articles described how more consumers were willing to try new brands during the pandemic. Free shipping, of course, will always be popular as well.
Brands still not running loyalty programs may reconsider their decision as a good loyalty program can help retain customers when more consumers are trying new brands. The options are simple. Brands can offer discounts every time a customer purchases their loyalty card or employ a program that rewards customers who accumulate a certain level of points.
Willing to try something out-of-the-box? Consider partnering with another brand that markets closely-related products to maximize advertising and audience reach. How about food processors with green markets or butcher shops and smokers?