I’m going to show you how to create an effective promotion that you can hook up to your web site.
While a good ecommerce cart makes it easy to add such a promotion to your web site, this article is about how to plan your promotion rather than how to plug it in to your web site.
The one thing we want to do with the promotion is attract as many customers as possible. Normally I don’t advise competing on price, but with this promotion lets look at how to win more customers, increase average order value, get repeat customes and get more word of mouth referrals.
When running an online store, look at the most popular products you sell. Choose a popular product and offer it at cost price. Maybe add 5% or 10% if you need to cover shipping.
Start by creating a banner. Your web designer can help with this or you can go to 99designs.com or odesk.com.
The banner will have a photo of the product and a headline such as “Apple iPhone 16Gb on sale for cost price – today only”.
Ensure the promotion is time sensitive. This is important because it creates a sense of urgency for visitors to your web site. You need to make this an impulse buy so they act now without over thinking and delaying (i.e. never buying).
When they add the product to their shopping cart, the cart will show them related products that they may also like to buy. A good shopping cart (such as BigCommerce) will allow you to manually choose complimentary products that are related to your main product such as a iPhone wrist band or Bose headphones.
The upsells are where you make your margin in a sale like this. You may get 10% or 20% of customers adding the extra items. You can also make a little profit on the shipping. Don’t go crazy here because it’s easy to lose good long terms customers if they think you are fleecing them.
Once they’ve purchased and you’ve sent the order, try to wow them by shipping the goods in half the expected time. If your web site says delivery within 5 days, aim for 2. They’ll tell their friends and you’ll win new customers.
On the backend, ensure you are emailing these people regularly. It could be a weekly specials list that includes a loss leader product to get people in the door or it could be a monthly newsletter or videos reviews. People love video reviews – simply grab your camera and tell people about a product you like.
To recap: find a product you sell a lot of, create a banner and add it to your home page, advertise the product at cost price, manually edit the related items for the product (which have your normal margin). Aim for 5 to 10% upsells and consider adding a few dollars profit to your shipping. Create a video review for the product too.
All these things help build lifetime value for the customer as they come back and bring their friends with them.
Repeat promotions like this as often as you can and try different variations each time you do it so you’re always improving the results.
A good ecommerce web design tool makes it easy for you to run promotions like this. Talk to your web designer if you feel like you need help the first time you run a promotion like this.