How to Make Your Sale a Success

Everyone loves a sale.

At least 60 percent of consumers are buying more on sale than they were five years ago, according to a recent National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. While it might seem counterintuitive to offer a discount to make more money, this study shows that people are waiting for sales to even make a purchase in the first place.

The study showed that 85 percent of consumers have waited to buy an item until it was on sale, even if they really wanted to buy it right away. Once the item was offered at a discounted price, 4 out of 10 consumers said they couldn’t help but purchase it.

As a small business owner, if you’re looking to increase sales or move products, based on the NRF research, offering a promotion can help drive sales.

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Most consumers — 70 percent to be exact — believe that they will find the best items around holiday-specific sales. With Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day approaching, now is a great time to start thinking about big-ticket items you can put on sale to drive consumers to your store or website. But remember, you don’t have to wait for a holiday to have a great sale.

If you’re thinking of offering a sale to your customers, first decide what will go on sale. It can be certain items, such as furniture, or perhaps a discount on the entire store. Take a look at your analytics. Is there an item that you have too much of? Are there any items that are doing well that you’d like to get out the door? Those products are good options to put on sale. Then decide what the discount will be. You can can offer a buy-one, get-one (BOGO), or 15 percent off a purchase. Your promotion can also be based on how much someone spends. For example, spend $100, get $25 off, or spend $150, get $50 off.

Next, decide the timeframe of the sale. Having a specific start and end date helps drive people to your store or website faster. As the survey stated, holiday-related sales instill confidence in customers that they are getting the best product. So if there is a holiday weekend, Friday through Tuesday is an example of a good period for a sale.

Now, the most important part of the sale: Making sure your customers and potential customers know it’s happening. There are several ways you can and should advertise your sale. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, put signs in the windows, outside, and around the store before and during the sale.

Next, be sure to email your subscribers ahead of the sale, and again when the sale starts, as well as the last day of the sale. You can also consider buying ads either online or in local newspapers or flyers to ensure people know about your sale.

After your first successful sale, you can then create a calendar for the rest of the year based on holidays and end-of-the-quarters to offer promotions and drive sales.