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Insanely Effective Sales Promotion Tactics for Retail



Now that the holiday season is fast approaching, how about you delve into the tried and tested method of sales promotions to increase sales? Sales promotion is proven to be a great way to ramp up sales, attract new customers, a powerful customer retention tactic, and an incredible way to take advantage of seasonal opportunities. 

Sales promotions are short-term marketing strategies that drive sales by stirring up the urgency for the customer to purchase products. Because really, who doesn’t love a good deal? 

Sales promotion involves offering shoppers a deal that would allow them to purchase a product for a lower price (e.g., $10 off) OR get more value from the sale (e.g., Buy One Get One Free). Sales promotions can drive up sales and help you move inventory, which makes them an essential part of the sales and marketing mix. 

Successful businesses have attested that sales promotions are one of the most effective methods of increasing sales and boosting customer satisfaction. If you’re a start-up or a small business, this is a great way to increase brand awareness. No matter your industry or the size of your business, there is a sales promotion tactic that can work effectively for you. 

Types of Sales Promotions and How to Execute Them

If you think running promos are as simple as slashing prices and displaying ‘SALE’ banners all over your store, it’s a whole lot more than that. To take full advantage of your sales promotion, it’s crucial to consider the type of promotion to run and how to execute them effectively. What kind would work best for your business?

In this article, we’re shedding light on the nitty-gritty of sales promos and some handy tips to help you implement them the right way. 

Here is a rundown of the different types of promo in retail and how they are typically executed.

Percentage Discounts


Percentage discounts are hands down the most popular and the most effective type of sales promotion right off the bat. There are the occasional “20% off” or “50% off” deals in retail. 

As to how this is implemented, it is proven that storewide percentage discounts work best than a massive markdown on limited items. 

For example, having a 5% storewide discount with a few exemptions will have more shoppers scampering to your store than a 60% off clearance sale on a few selected items.

Nonetheless, percent-off sales are pretty easy to profit-test. If your store’s income doesn’t hold for a 20% discount, you can always easily move it to a 15% off and still sell more than offering it at its regular price with, say, a 5% off. Even though 5% off has more significant savings for the store, percentage discounts tend to drive more sales and significantly move your inventory when you do the math.

Dollars Off


The dollars off deals involve marking down items by a flat dollar amount—for example, $5% off or $20off. A study in entrepreneur.com cites that a $50 off coupon beats a 15% off promo.

How effective this sales promotion tactic depends on your price points, your customers, and the perceived value of your offer. What matters is the initial impression of your customers as to what is a sweet deal to them.

For example, if you offer an expensive product, say, a piece of equipment for $350. An offer of $50 off is more enticing than an offer of 15% off – despite the 15% offer being a slightly better deal. The $50 offer will sound like a big amount of money. Most people would rather not go through the trouble of figuring out what is 15% of $350.

If you find yourself torn between the percentage discount or the dollar-off deal, we suggest just do the math and view your promotion from a psychological point of view to figure out what will work best for your business. 

BOGO or Buy One Get One


This powerful sales promotion style is typically used to move inventory, so if you're dealing with a stagnant stock that you want to clear out, this promotion is the way to go. In the business world, BOGO is known to be ‘self-liquidating.’ Offering two of an in-demand product at a discounted price and for a short time stirs a sense of urgency that can drive sales. 

The best thing is that these promotions rarely cost you anything at all. 

For example, a product that you sell for $10 has a cost of $3. With a 50% discount, you’d be making $2 from selling just one at the discounted price. However, running a BOGO discount means you can sell one item at full price minus your cost for two items so, in the end, you’d be earning $4. Your profits will soar with more people buying that product.

The BOGO tactic can be applied in two ways: buy one get one free or buy one get the 2nd item % off.



Multi-buy promotions are another excellent option if you want to clear your inventory. These are deals that are in the likes of “Buy 2 for the price of 1.” However, the success of multi-buys largely depends on the kind of products you sell.

More value for less can be very enticing. You may bring together your most popular products for a reduced price. 

Start by considering whether the product is typically used as a set or is a daily commodity, like socks or laundry detergent. This is how multiple discounts work. Otherwise, they don’t.

For example, “Buy 2 Get 1 Free Box of Milk” is a sweet deal. “Buy 2 Get One Free Hammer” is not going to do much.

Other ways to offer this type of sales promotion is, “Buy 2 and get 1 50% off” and “Buy 3 to get the 1 item free.”

Multi-Save and Conditional Promotions


These types of promotions encourage sales without having to slump your revenues or basket values. They also encourage shoppers to check out other products instead of just looking at those on your clearance rack. 

Multi-save promotions may include the following:

Buy and save off the entire sale.

Spend and save off the entire sale.

Buy and save off specific items.

Spend and save off specific items.

Buy and pay a fixed price.

Conditional promotions, on the other hand, include:

Buy and get one or more items for free or at a discount.

Spend and get one or more items for free or at a discount.

Buy and earn loyalty points.

Spend and earn loyalty points.

Free Shipping


Nowadays, more and more businesses are hopping into the e-commerce platform. If you’re running one, free shipping might be a good promo for you. Free shipping always does a great job of driving the most conversions in online sales.

To avoid confusion in offering free shipping promos, make a set of policies or terms and conditions explicitly attached to the sale. Create a free shipping promotion to be as comprehensive as possible for your customers.

For example, instead of offering free shipping on selected orders, offer free shipping on, say, all $100 purchases because the latter is easier to understand.

Gift with Purchase


This promotion is exactly what it sounds like: customers get a freebie for purchases that qualify. This method could come in handy for retailers with surplus stock or simply want to boost conversions. This offer can be highly effective in getting people to buy.

For example, your customer may get a free hand sanitizer and a pack of wet wipes for every $50 purchase.

You can also offer gifts from your brand to your customers. This is a great way to introduce your brand and what you have to offer and is a great way to boost customer retention. The more loyal they are to your brand, the more they are likely to appreciate branded gifts. 

This sales promotion method can spark a great deal of new interest and awareness to your business. Who knows how many will check out your business as a result?

Loyalty Program Promotions


Did you know that rewards and loyalty programs- even those that do not pay off instantly- are powerful tactics that drive customers?

You could add up loyalty points for a limited time, which can be a great motivation to buy. You might also want to consider giving them more points for merely signing up for your loyalty program, which could urge customers to buy more than they would have initially.

There are several ways to run a loyalty program: punch cards, point system, and many more. These programs allow customers to enjoy a special offer after a certain number of purchases. Some businesses even offer a certain discount each time a loyal customer presents their loyalty card at the counter.

This tactic, of course, keeps customers coming back for the rewards.

How to improve your sales promotions?

Here is how to entice more customers with your sales promotions.

  • A sense of urgency

Ever wondered why flash sales stir up a buyers frenzy in the market? The trick is to implement limited-time offers to encourage customers to get a move on. Make your customers know that the promo won’t last long, which will urge them to act quickly. Studies have shown that 50% of flash sale purchases happen in the first hour.

  • Work with a theme

Create your offers around a specific theme. This way, you will make it easier for people to remember your promotion: Mother’s Day, Black Friday, St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas. Find a holiday — even an unofficial one —related to your business and use it as a hook.


  • Don’t forget your loyalty program.

If you play your cards right by tying in your loyalty program to your sales promotion, you could drive member signups and sales. Maybe offer a “Welcome” discount to new members? Or perhaps an exclusive promo for loyal customers? 

  • Combine promotions

Initiatives like “Take an additional 20% off already discounted items” are great ways to grab shopper attention. 

  • Implement targeted offers

It’s best to target your promotions towards a specific group of customers. Consider classifying your customers into specific groups such as by gender, age group, or spending habits. Say you have a group for your VIPs or top spenders. Why not send a special offer exclusively for them. We all love a good exclusivity.

  • Use a reliable retail platform to smoothly implement your promotions

Make sure your business is armed with a retail management system that enables you to run promos hassle-free. See to it that the platform makes it easy to apply discounts and track your stock levels and sales in the Back Office. A reliable POS can do a fantastic job in implementing this for you.


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