I decided to participate in the Black Friday craziness by taking a ride up to the Park City outlets to see what the hype was all about. I must say that I got sucked right into the whole thing. Take an extra 20% off the lowest listed price–now that’s what I call a deal. Every store had their own Black Friday special, but there were a few stores that were obviously missing the point. On a couple of occasions, when I asked what their Black Friday specials were, they pointed to only a few items on display and said that their specials featured “Sale” tags on the marked down merchandise. Guess what? I didn’t buy anything from the stores with the lame sales.
If you’re going to beat your competition and get the business this holiday season, you’ll need to be creative with your promotions and make sure that they appeal to your potential customers. It’s obvious if you try to cut corners, this turns your visitors off. Go out on a limb, take a look at the specials your competitors are offering, and then offer your visitors something even more appealing.
DSW sends me emails and direct mail with coupon codes for exclusive, limited time offers. They have sent me “holiday versions” of these marketing communication pieces continuously over the last couple of weeks. Their site offers more limited time offers for free shipping and $20 off an online purchase of $99 or more. DSW successfully persuades first time visitors to take advantage of great offers and they also do a wonderful job at reaching out to existing customers with exclusive offers we simply can’t resist!
Apply some of these tactics to your own marketing communications mix. Feature free shipping and exclusive, limited time offer coupon codes on your site. Send emails and/or direct mail pieces to your existing customer base, and offer them a great deal. Where you don’t have room to offer your customers a lower price than your competitors, be creative with how you can differentiate yourself using “specials.” Free shipping on orders that meet a minimum dollar amount work great. You could also offer a $25 gift certificate for every $100 dollars spent. If you’re really strapped and can only offer deals where it’s going to have the biggest impact, you could offer the great deals to those who have demonstrated intent to buy but are unlikely to buy unless you offer them a deal.
What other types of promotions would appeal to potential customers when doing their holiday shopping? If you come across any sites that offer different promotions than the ones I’ve listed here, please share them.