How to Make Your Next Online Sale More Successful

Retailers are increasingly expected to hold regular sales and offers to keep customers coming back. The introduction of new shopping holidays like Black Friday and Singles Day has put a lot of pressure on the finances of smaller sellers, not to mention other business functions like marketing and fulfilment, in order to keep up with more established retailers.

Here are some suggestions from Vdepot’s marketers and fulfilment managers to help you ensure your sales events complement your overall ecommerce strategy.
Successful Online Sale

Contents

Marketing your sale

It’s easy to overlook the basics when you’re also responsible for all the minute details of running a business. Make sure your unmissable offers are actually unmissable by developing a coordinated campaign across your social media channels, your email marketing list, and across your website. Clearly state which collections are included in the sale, and when the promotion ends.

It doesn’t have to be anything really flashy, as long as it’s on-brand. A sale that’s not been promoted through your usual channels could signal to customers that it wasn’t properly planned, or worse, a panic-move. 

Think about your margins

Low prices encourage more sales, yes, but knowing your margins will help you understand how low you can go without making a loss. No one wants to be paying to sell their own products!

This article by Complete Financial Training clearly explains the impact of discounting on your margins, and how to calculate what sales volume you’d need to achieve in order to make your sale a profitable one. 

Some retailers knowingly make a loss on products – named the ‘Loss Leader’ strategy, this is where a product is sold at a price below its market cost to encourage other sales of more profitable ones. Just make sure you have the funds to wait out this sometimes risky tactic!

Work out what sales volume you need to justify your discount.
Source: Complete Financial Training

Let your fulfilment company know

Sometimes running a sale can be a spur of the moment decision, or a quick reaction to your competition, but telling your fulfilment team about upcoming offers is essential to preparing for a successful online sale.

If you are able to give your 3PL provider a heads-up that you’re anticipating an increase in sales, this will maximise the chances of managing the influx of orders. Particularly if you offer next-day delivery, your fulfilment partner may want to reallocate staff or make other arrangements to ensure all your customers can receive their products when promised.

Anticipate your inventory levels

How much are you expecting to sell in your online sale, and how quickly can you replace that quantity of stock? Sales are great when you’re trying to shift old products – but after the sale, the last thing you want is a situation where your customers are willing but unable to buy your product at full price!

Turn new customers into long-term subscribers

As well as topping up your revenue, a successful sale means more website traffic and more new customers. How can you capitalise on this further? 

Make sure you’re maximising the opportunities you’re getting from every new website visitor, and every new customer. You want to improve the chances of some of these new customers coming back. Throughout the online shopping experience, customers should have the opportunity to sign up to your mailing list, or follow you on social media. 

Turn as many of your new customers into lifelong subscribers as possible (within GDPR’s limitations, of course!). This can bring you additional value long after your sale has ended.

Check out Hubspot’s article on Customer Lifetime Value for more on this concept. 

Do you know the average lifetime value of your customers? Source: Hubspot

Does it have to be a sale?

Holding lots of sales can actually have adverse effects on your customers’ perception of you. Have too many, and it can deter even your most regular customers from buying from you full-price! 

It’s especially difficult for premium brands, who have to tread a fine line between enticing customers to buy, and maintaining perceptions of high quality.

In these situations, it might be an idea to mix things up by offering alternative promotions; such as bundle deals, buy one get one half price, or a free gift on higher-value orders.

Coupon codes in particular are a great way of enticing new audiences; e.g: featured in an advertising campaign, or as an incentive for signing up to your email newsletter. Better still, exclusive codes are a nice means of rewarding your most loyal customers, your email subscribers, or social media followers. Why offer a mass discount on your website when a coupon code will do the trick? However, do make sure that it’s easy to add a coupon code at your checkout before relying on these too heavily!

Would you like any help trying these suggestions? Vdepot can put you in touch with marketers, financial advisors and other experts to help your business grow. Contact us today to learn more.

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