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How to run a successful sales promotion

Sales promotions are a great way to boost your sales. Not only that, they can create a rush of excited customers eager to buy items at bargain prices.

But there’s more to promoting items than simply tagging them with ‘sale’. Let’s take a look at how promotions work and ways to maximise their impact.

How to run a sales promotion

Sales promotions are essentially a way to highlight items that are ‘on sale’. A few benefits of promotions include increasing revenue, boosting sales during low season and encouraging customers to spend more.

Before running a promotion, here are a few steps you can take to plan ahead and maximise the potential gains.

  • Decide on your goals: What type of sales growth do you actually need? You might want to clear out seasonal stock, or perhaps fill up the next month or two with service bookings.

  • Brainstorm ideas: Get creative with ways to make your items and services more appealing. Offer a free gift with purchases or free classes (or another service) for a set time period.

  • Calculate price reductions: When offering discounts, try to avoid a markdown that negatively affects your bottom line. The ultimate goal should be higher revenue.

  • Bundle items: Pair your best-selling item with the lowest selling to move stock that’s less popular but still a great purchase.

  • Decide on a timeframe: Select beginning and end dates for your sales promotion. The shorter the offer, the more urgency it creates.

Now let's look at how to apply the plan you've made to the annual sales season.

Promotions on Black Friday & Cyber Monday

The late-November sales rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most important dates to prepare for all year. During the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday (November 23–27), there's a massive number of shoppers browsing online and ready to buy.

Here are tips on how to increase the impact of promotions on these days:

  • Promote your sale: Communicate your promotion in as many channels as possible. Email, social media and directly in your online store (read below for details).

  • Create a sense of urgency: Be clear about how limited the offer is and when it will end.

  • Consider a pay-per-click campaign: If you have the budget, a Google Ads campaign can help drive more customers to your sale.

Now let’s look at ways you can use the SumUp Online Store to launch a sale and communicate the news with customers.

Use the item promotion feature

You can highlight items that are on sale using this feature by showing how much a price has been reduced. This is ideal for when you want to move stock quickly. A use case here is fashion retail – when the next season’s stock is incoming, run a sale to move the old stock.

To use the item promotion feature, go to the item catalogue and edit an item. Switch on the toggle for “Show as “On sale” in Online Store” and change the price field to the discounted price, along with entering the original price into the ‘Regular price’ field. The new price will be displayed in your store next to the old price, which will now be crossed out.

Go to items

Use the announcement bar

When you’re ready to promote the sale, head to the editor to create an announcement bar. This will appear across the top of your storefront like a billboard, containing the message you’d like your customers to see.

It’s a simple tool that can have a big impact come Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Use the bar to highlight specific items on sale, an amount or percentage saving on offer, or another benefit that will generate conversions.

Create announcement

Create an item collection

You can also gather sale items together in a storefront collection. This makes it easy for customers to find items you’ve marked as on sale. To do this, go to the editor and select ‘Item collection’.

Now simply:

  • Change the headline to “On Sale” or “Black Friday Deals”, etc.

  • Under ‘Content’ choose ‘Selected items’ from the dropdown list

  • Open ‘Select items’ and choose up to 8 sale items

Create collection

EU rules on price reduction announcements

In case you’re operating within the European Union, here are key points from Article 6a of the Omnibus Directive. It’s a set of rules, currently in effect, regulating how consumer-facing businesses handle promotional pricing.

The general rule is that the announcement of a price reduction must indicate the lowest prior price of an item within the previous 30 days. The time period can be longer, but not shorter. The only exception is items that have been on the market for less than 30 days.

Other key points:

  • Different rules may apply for goods which deteriorate or expire rapidly. When a price reduction is progressively increased, the prior price is the one before the first price reduction.

  • This means that when you announce a sale, you’ll need to mark the old and new prices with the item promotion feature. It’s also a good idea to use the announcement banner to specifically highlight the percentage or euro amount of the price reduction.

Go to this link to read the EU’s guidance on applying Article 6a to your promotional announcements, or visit the link below for a simplified version.

Learn more

Omar Hamwi