3 Ways To Make Your Promotions More Interesting

Contributed by Francesca Nicasio, Content Marketing Manager for Vend Point of Sale.

If you’re like most retailers, promotions are an important part of your sales and marketing mix. Heck, you might already have done a couple of promotions this year.

But when was the last time you made things interesting? When you ran your promo, did you use a hook or theme? Did it include any aspect of gamification?

If you answered no, you may want to start sprucing up your promotions. Research from RetailMeNot found that “most retailers (76%) plan to increase the amount of promotions they are offering in 2018,” which means your promotions are going to be out there in a very crowded market.

So, what can you do to stand out?

Read on for ideas and examples of retailers doing a good job in spicing up their promotions.

Add A Twist

Think of a fun twist to incorporate into your offer. Ask yourself, what would make your promotion more interesting?

The right answer depends on the retailer. For some, gamified promotions are a great way to go, and menswear retailer Bonobos offers an excellent example of gamification in retail. In 2011, Bonobos teamed up with the design network to launch a scavenger hunt in which visitors were tasked to hunt for images of Bonobos signature pants.

The menswear retailer awarded the first 50 people who found the images with a $25 Bonobos credit and free shipping.

The scavenger hunt was a clever idea to engage the NotCot audience. While Bonobos could’ve easily just sent out a generic offer, they decided to make the promotion more memorable.

Here’s another idea: why not offer “mystery” discounts? My local kids’ salon, for example, gives away scratch cards containing discounts of anywhere from 15% off to 30% off any retail purchase. Shoppers had to scratch the cards to find out how much they’re saving.

Promotions such as these immediately stand out because they’re not the types that consumers see every day. Shoppers are bombarded with generic discounts daily, so by having a twist to your promotion (i.e., gamification, mystery, or other hooks) you’ll help your offers stand out.

Make Your Promotions And Loyalty Program Work Together  

One of the top reasons to run a promotion is to sell old or low-moving stock. While some retailers simply throw those products in the clearance bin or tack on a generic 20% discount, the clever merchants know that there are more creative ways to promote slow-movers.

One idea is to reward your customers for purchasing an item you badly need to move. This works best if you have a loyalty program, because you can incentivize your customers with loyalty points or dollars.

I spoke to one our customers who’s seen great results with a loyalty-centric promotion. Alan Grant, the owner of home improvement store, shares that when it comes to items they want to get rid of or liquidate, they offer double or triple the amount of loyalty. According to him, they mark those products clearly on the shelves so shoppers know that they can get additional loyalty dollars for those items.

See if you can do something similar. Go through your stock records or check your inventory management system to find your slow-moving SKUs, and depending on your loyalty program, find a way to reward customers for purchasing those specific items.

Run Event-Specific Promotions

Running an in-store event? Consider incorporating promotions. Aside from helping to drive buzz and interest, these types of offers can make an event more interesting. For instance, if you’re running a cooking class, why not offer discounts on the products featured at the class? The same goes for fashion shows or food and wine tasting events.

If implementing promotions at your event isn’t an option, why not run a post-promotion offer?

Brandless, an online retailer that sells personal and household items did just that when they held a number of events in its pop-up store in Los Angeles. I happened to attend one of those events and was really impressed with company’s follow-up strategy.

Because while the pop-up store didn’t have actual items for sale (it was more of a showroom/events space), Brandless still found a way to drive online sales through a post-event offer.

A few days after I visited their pop-up, Branless emailed me a $9 credit towards my first purchase (which I used almost immediately).

I thought this was clever move on Brandless’ part. That special promotion allowed them to engage with the customer even after event, while increasing sales at the same time.

Final Words

We can expect promotions to continue driving sales in retail, but if you’re not careful, your initiatives could get lost in the sea of other offers out there. Don’t let that happen to you. Get your creative juices flowing when cooking up promotions and make sure you deliver value, entertainment, and fun with each offer.

Contributed by Francesca Nicasio; Nicasio is the Content Marketing Manager for Vend Point of Sale. She writes about trends, tips, and best practices that enable retailers to increase sales, serve customers better, and run amazing stores.


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