I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a total sucker for a discount. If I hear that one of my favorite stores is having a huge sale, there’s a pretty solid chance you’ll find me waiting in line. And I admit that seeing a product that has been marked down in price is a pretty persuasive factor in making me buy it (sometimes swaying me to purchase something that I wasn’t even intending to buy in the first place). And when stores give away coupons that can be redeemed either online or at the bricks-and-mortar location? You know I’ll be there, either digitally or physically, to redeem it!
Who doesn’t love a good deal? And with consumer purchasing shifting toward the Internet, stores are seeking to take advantage by displaying their discount opportunities online – and reaping the benefits. According to a report from eMarketer, by the end of 2013, 96.8 million U.S. online adults will have used online discounts, up 15.8% from 2010. Also according to the report, by the end of 2011, an estimated 88.2 million consumers will have used an online coupon or discount code, which translates into nearly half of all U.S. adults who use the Internet.
To get a greater share of the consumer volume, you need to find a way to entice shoppers looking for attractive offers. And with so many stores offering online retail channels, you need to differentiate your web store from your competition. With Ignify eCommerce, your online store gains a comprehensive set of powerful marketing and promotional functionalities that enhance your control over promotional activities, offering you a system that strengthens your overall marketing management.
Ignify eCommerce supports many different types of promotions, and it gives you total freedom in specifying what you would like the promotions’ parameters to be. With this solution, you have multiple options to set up promotions at the item level, order level, shipping level, and to bundle multiple promotions together as well e.g. Buy one, get one free (BOGO) type offers.
At the item level, you can apply a discount to a certain product or category of products, and then show it front-and-center on your online store. With the item promotion, customers can see the amount of money they save buying the product at the discounted price. Since people are definitely more conscious of their spending these days, seeing the savings displayed prominently can be the thing that nudges them into buying it (like I said before, seeing products marked down is definitely a persuasive marketing strategy – it works on me!).
Another important promotional advantage that Ignify eCommerce offers is timed promotions (as shown below). By setting promotions for a certain time limit, you immediately draw buzz around the product and create a significant push for people to purchase. When people realize that an item will only be around for a specific time, they’re going to want to snatch it up before it goes away. There’s no greater motivator for a shopper than saying there’s only so much time to purchase a great product.
Offering promotions on items or a category of items with a discount deadline create a sense of urgency and increase conversion.
So, a customer decides your timed promotional offer is too good to pass up and adds the item to his shopping cart. You would say that’s a success, right? It is, but there’s a way you can leverage the checkout process for even more promotional success. And the way to do that is through shopping cart promotions.
With shopping cart promotions, a customer adds a product to his shopping cart and immediately sees the other current discounts in the shopping cart (please see image below). This type of marketing offers a one-two punch with other promotions: if a shopper has already acted on a discount that was displayed on the site and added the discounted item to his cart, then seeing another discount while checking out will take advantage of his receptive frame of mind. So in other words, you play to customers’ interests which thus give you a higher customer conversion rate.
Offering promotions to customers while they add items to their shopping cart creates powerful cross-sell opportunities.
Social media is an excellent platform to broadcast your products and services because 1) everyone is there; 2) the interconnectedness creates a giant web of indirect contacts; and 3) the ease of sharing information enables news to spread quickly to those indirect contacts. And then, those indirect contacts spread it through their network of contacts, who then spread it through their networks and so on, creating a virtuous viral marketing distribution cycle for you. comScore Inc., nine out of 10 U.S. Internet users visited a social network at least once a month last year, with social networking accounting for one of six minutes spent online.
Ignify ecommerce allows customers to post your products on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ and other social networks. When someone posts a link to a product of yours on their own individual social networking page, you are basically getting a personal and public endorsement of your brand, which inevitably leads to more site traffic. So, essentially, you’re getting your customers to do your marketing for you – and they do it far more effectively than you could.
Take me for example: if a friend of mine on Facebook shares a link to a great deal or to a product they like, I’m far more likely to check it out because of two things: trust and curiosity. Trust in that a friend is someone I obviously have a real relationship with, and therefore understand that he or she would not be wasting their time endorsing something undesirable. And curiosity in that I’d want to know what is so cool about this product or company that is inspiring my friend to publicize it to everyone they know. By giving your customers the power and control to become trustworthy marketing resources for your company, you ensure a higher rate of site visitors and thus higher rates of conversion.
By allowing customers and site visitors to share links to your products on their social networking pages, you create an effective marketing outreach into a broader prospect pool.
Finally, look at improving repeat buying and customer retention by putting in place a loyalty management system. This is a great article that talks about loyalty management best practices for retailers.
With so many online merchants trying to crack into ever wider Internet bases, you need to have an e-commerce system that makes your company and products stick in the minds of customers and prospects alike. Using an e-commerce system that supports the unique marketing and promotional efforts that set you apart from your competitors will ensure that you stay at the forefront of your customers’ thoughts.
Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.