February 24, 2018 How to Offer Discounts and Coupons Without Cheapening your Brand [14 examples]
What are two things that’ll quickly improve a shopper’s mood? Finding exactly what they’re looking for … and finding it at a 50% discount.
The truth is, you can sell just about anything if you give it away at half price.
Deals are like one end of your brand’s high-wire balancing pole, with the other end being full-price purchases. You need both ends to balance the walk across the wire to reach sales targets and revenue goals, but if you put too much weight on discounts, you’ll tip and fall into the pool of profit-eating pirañas below.
Promotional tactics like deals and coupons have benefits and pitfalls. But when implemented with purpose, discounts can increase conversions without hurting profits.
The Benefits of Discounting
The most immediate benefit of most deals is increased sales. Customer traffic picks up. You’ve attracted new buyers and made existing customers happy. They’ll think of you more fondly and may become more loyal to your brand.
Discounts usually have a time limit and this a sense of urgency can increase the perceived value of your brand.
From a “learning” perspective (as in, they’ll help you learn what motivates your customers), deals and coupons have a few advantages. They are:
- easy to implement
- easy to track
- effective mini ads to reinforce your brand message
The Pitfalls of Discounting
Running deep deals can reduce your profits. And since coupons can act like Pavlov’s bell, running them frequently can create a price-driven customer base who are trained to wait for deals. Why buy at full price when there’s a deal any day now?
The noise of frequent discounting can erode your brand’s equity: If you’re only known for your deals, your brand may have reduced loyalty. With your point of difference weakened by discounting, efforts to engage during off-deal periods may have lower conversion rates.
Maximizing the benefits of discounting starts with a goal. Think about what you need the deal to accomplish, and then structure it to deliver results.
A deal goal could be:
- attract new customers
- reward current customers
- increase volume
- move old inventory
- build an email list
- stimulate new product trial
- generate buzz and word of mouth about your brand
Types of Deals
After defining your goal, determine the type of deal you want to offer. Here are some ideas to create value for your customers without cheapening your brand. You can use these deals individually or in any combination that’ll help you reach your goal.
Since shipping costs remain the top reason for cart abandonment, waiving those fees can improve sales. And with free shipping considered a perk, particularly during holiday seasons, you can foster goodwill toward your brand with this type of deal.
Offering free shipping can erode your profits, though, especially on low margin items. To insulate yourself from loss, make free shipping available once an order reaches a specific dollar value. Smaller orders or those with special requirements would be excluded.
If you want to move older inventory or have a volume goal, then volume discounts can help you get there. Customers benefit from a lower price per item, and you’re delivering larger quantities. Volume discounts are also a useful tactic in competitive categories since they secure commitment to you instead of your competitor.
Event or Holiday Offers
Offering a discount can encourage participation and trial at events when potential customers recognize they may lose out on a deal when the event ends.
The high level of attention given to holidays or special recognition days provides an opportunity to build on awareness and get trial. You can also use seasonal events to move old inventory.
Keep in mind, though, the holiday can ‘out shout’ your brand. Shoppers may be connecting more with the category or with the bargains than with your brand. To protect your margins in these types of deals, avoid offering discounts on premium items.
You can structure buy-get deals in different ways, from a simple ‘buy one, get one free’ offer, to the ‘buy $30, get Team USA backpack’ shown below. Buy-get discounts create a strong perception of value with customers and, as a result, can drive sales. These types of deals can help you achieve several different goals:
• They can help you move inventory:
• They can improve your cash reserves by requiring the purchase of a higher-priced item to get the value:
• They can be structured to build excitement around new items:
Product Bundling or ‘Package Deals’
Product-bundling offers combine two or more product or services, offering a special price for the entire group. These offers are useful for achieving several goals:
- Increasing volume and profit, since you’re selling multiple products at one time with lower costs per order.
- Moving slower-selling items when bundled with your top-sellers.
- Building trial for newer items.
To get the most from a product bundle, make sure the items included in the offer are logically built around customer needs. You can review historical purchase information to see the types of products customers buy together.
You can also structure the bundle with a broad list of options and give your customer the pleasure of creating their own ‘package deal.’
Future Purchase Deals
Tying a current purchase to a discount on a future purchase can help with customer retention. It rewards current customers and can help you stimulate sales during non-peak periods. Be sure to make the discount easy to use, delivering the discount via email or through shopper reward cards.
Rewards for Actions
You can also deliver value to customers without cheapening your brand by structuring the deal as a thank-you or acknowledgment of their actions. And your deal doesn’t need to be a discount – you can provide product or services.
These types of deals can be used to build e-mail lists, create user-generated content and expand your social media followers.
Discounts and deals aren’t right for every business. You may not see Hermes offering a buy-get, nor Cartier asking for user-generated content, but a goal-driven promotion can be used by many companies across brands to boost sales and build loyalty.
To create deals like the ones described here, grab yourself a free Dealkit account and start creating deals of your own!