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 they’re 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 the items in their store or the best-selling products and services to entice both new and repeat customers. Others look at which products have the highest profit margin, so 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 like 15% or 20% off the regular price of your goods. The percentage depends on the retailer and product with some offering 5% and others 80%. The best way to gauge what’s common for your industry is to look at what your competitors are offering. A 5% discount may be generous for bigger ticket items like cars while 25% may be expected for clothing items. My suggestion is to focus on intervals of 5. 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 Free (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 can also restrict the sale to a single item or category in hopes that customers come for the BOGO and buy other items while they’re there.

  • Free Shipping – If you have an online storefront, free shipping could be a nice incentive for your customers. E-commerce giants like 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 limit. 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, it also encourages them to come back and spend the $5.

If you have a newsletter or mailing list for your business, you could also send out a gift card via email or mail. It can be a nice reminder in your clients’ inboxes or mailboxes to shop at your business while the promotional season lasts. 

For the more service-oriented businesses, it could be worthwhile to offer gift cards during a “refer a friend” campaign. You can ask your current customers to refer someone in exchange for the chance to win a gift card or other discount.

There’s no better time to implement discounts and deals this holiday season. Brainstorm some deals, pick your sale products, and start advertising. 

If you need some advice regarding your holiday plans, the Wyoming SBDC Network is here to help you sleigh the season. Contact your advisor today at WyomingSBDC.org.

About the Author: Kayley has made a home in Cheyenne, Wyoming after primarily working in higher education in Georgia. Kayley is passionate about researching for the wide variety of clients served by the Wyoming SBDC Network’s Market Research Center. The Center specializes in providing any Wyoming business with access to advanced marketing information that was previously available only to a few of the largest corporations. Her expertise includes digital marketing and social media. When she is not in the office, Kayley enjoys reading and exploring the state with her family.


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