Although a product was designed specifically for one single function, that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing we can do with it.
In my previous article I’ve gone through how we can boost the effectiveness of discounts as a way to increase sales, using them as a part of elaborate marketing schemes.
But despite the fact that increasing sales is an important aspect for all vendors, a discount system can bring several different results according to how it’s being used, and that’s just what we are going to talk about today: what alse can discounts be used for, despite increasing sales?
Let’s see how a simple discount can help us in any single aspect of our e-commerce store:
- Increase your customer base
- Increase the conversion rate on your store
- Increase the average customer value
- Get back to lost customers
Spread the word about your store
We have seen howdiscounts can bring new customers to your store in my previous article, thanks to a loyalty program, but it’s not guaranteed that any store would want or have the chance to offer such a system for their products.
In which case, does discounts get stripped of this function? No, there are several ways to spread the word about your store thanks to offers and/or discounts.
For instance, we could use the endless potential of social networks, given they are the most populated and comfortable part of the internet for most users.
Sure, having your own working Facebook page is important, but it will always be seen as a seller’s page, so having somebody else sharing our content proves to be more efficient.
If we’d manage to convince a customer to share our product, we would immeately enter a trusted circle of friends and acquientances, turning every single share in hundreds of potential views.
But how can we convince our customers to share an item? We could ask them, but we know just how much we are keen to selfless acts, so here’s when discounts come in handy.
Offering discounts in exchange for a share increases their number and keeps customers coming (in order to use their discount vouchers) which actively spreads the word about our products.
Pro Tip: if you use WooCommerce, you can easily offer discounts in exchange for shares using the WooCommerce Share for Discounts plugin.
Persuade customers to purchase from your store
This is usually another sore note for online sellers, we work hard to spread the word about our store and bring new customers to our website, but the conversion rate stays low.
Increasing the conversion rate is the best way to boost sales on your store, since you “just” need to increase the percentage from 1% to 3% to triple your sales, without having to look for no miracle solution around the web.
But how do we convince our potential customers to buy from us?
One of the most effective ways to get rid of any doubt and persuade customers to purchase is to show reviews and proof of quality and reliability from other customers (for the same reason we’ve seen earlier about social networks).
Why is what other customers think so important? Just like when we talked about the Principle of Scarcity in the previous article, speaking about timed promotions, this time Robert Cialdini comes in handy thanks to another Princple: the Principle of Social Proof.
This principle states that if an item is bought by a big number of people, said object automatically acquires a higher value. It’s the same psicological process that’s behind fashion or simply why we look at others when we are unsure about how to act.
Given this, it’s easy to understand how important it is to use this Principle in sales system: if we manage to prove that a product has been bought and appreciated by many people, then most of our job is already done.
But it’s always the same issue: how do we persuade customers to leave reviews? It’s hard enough to convince them to come back to our store after one purchase, let alone writing a review.
Once again the answer is the same: offer a discount as reward. This way you will increase the number of reviews, which will increase your conversion rate triggering a a cycle of sale > review > sale.
Pro tip: if you use WooCommerce to sell your products, you can integrate this function thanks to the WooCommerce Review for Discount plugin.
In this case it might also help to integrate an automatic email system to remind customers to leave reviews in exchange for a discount, in order to inform them about this offer and get back to old customers.
This function can be integrated to WooCommerce as well thanks to the dedicated WooCommerce Review Reminder plugin.
Increase the value of each single customer
Once you have found new customers and convinced them to buy, why not increase the amount of money they’d spend?
We usually believe that discounts decrease the average values of cutomers since, in fact, they will spend less then if they’d buy at full price. Truth is this apparent weakness might be the starting point to increase the average transaction value for each customer.
Think about the usual 3×2 offer and its persuasive power: if you buy at least two products, the third one is free. This typo of offer uses discounts specifically to increase the average value of each customer.
Let’s consider a standard scenario: I have an e-commerce store with 100 average monthly customers spending 50$ each. This makes for a monthly income of 5000$
Now I will propose a discount based on the cart value: you will obtain a 20% off discount if your cart is worth at least 120$.
Many customers will be tempted to purchase several products although they might not need them immediately, in order to use the discount offered.
Doing this, thanks to discounts I increased the average transaction value per customer from 50$ to 60$ or 70$ or 80$ (according to the number of people who accept to use the discount by spending more), which will increase the gross income of my e-commerce store.
If you use WooCommerce, you can create a discount system based on the cart value, number of products or more using the WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing and Discounts plugin.
Get back to the customers who left your store
On 100 customers who enter your website, 80 of them leave it in a few seconds. Of those 20 left, almost 90% of them won’t complete the purchase process, leaving the cart to before completing the purchase.
This sure is a sad scenario, but it also represents a high potential: if your customers are only those 2 who get past these obstacles, then if you could only save 10% of those who left their cart behind, you will have doubled your sales!
But how can you do this? Usually the most effective way is to create an automated system that allows you to send an email to those customers who left their cart, trying to persuade them to complete the pending sale (after all if they had items in their cart, then they must have been interested in those products, so it shouldn’t be hard to reignite their interest)
And here we can see discounts becoming once again the right tool for our purpose: in the reminder email include the discount voucher and watch customers come back to your store. Most of those who abandon their cart do so because they found themselves facing unexpected expenses such as shipping fees, so offering them a solution that makes them save money can be a very persuasive technique.
And you are set! As you could see, in the right hands the same tool can be used in different circumstances with varying results: it’s all down to you and your creativity!