Creating Sales and Promotions in Shopify

Sarah Donawerth
Sarah Donawerth
Creating Sales and Promotions in Shopify

We live in a world of consumers who love a good deal. In 2019 alone, more than 31 billion coupon codes were redeemed online!

With consumers always looking for a little extra motivation to make the sale, promotions can be a great way to get your audience’s attention.

Shopify has many components within their dashboard that can help you create sales and promotions. Here are our best tactics and strategies for getting the most out of sales and promotions on your Shopify store.

Should My Shopify Store Use Sales and Promotions?

Sales and promotions should be part of every store’s retail strategy. However, stores should carefully consider their brand’s tone and overall strategy before deciding which sales and promotions are best for them.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to sales and promotions for Shopify stores.

When considering all the different options for sales and promotions, you should look at your target demographic and make a plan based on their needs, shopping habits, and data.

Although every store should have some form of sales or promotions, correlating your strategy to your audience should be your first priority. Do you cater to bargain hunters or luxury shoppers? Does your average customer hold off on purchasing until they get a coupon, or jump at your limited releases? All these are considerations to help you tailor your sales to your customers to get the best results for your revenue.

Creating Your Sales

You’ll want to take a full-funnel approach to your promotions and sales so that you can optimize every step of the conversion process for your customers. Creating your promotions should be tailored to your ideal customer, consider the overall selling strategy of your store, and factor in the logistics, like profit margins, fulfillment costs, and resources.

Finding the right products for your sales

The first step in creating a promotion is answering the question… What are you going to promote? Your sales and promotions need to be filled with products that are appealing to your customers and are profitable even when discounted.

The ideal product to discount:

When assembling products for a sale, the grouping can also impact the success of the sale. Many marketers recommend having a few products to showcase within the sale, that will bring traffic to the sale page, so that they’ll see the entire sale collection. Some marketers even select a few flagship products that have low quantities so that they’ll sell out quickly and customers visiting the page will feel the urgency to purchase their favorites “before they’re gone.”

Sale collections should include a good mix. You may even want some feedback from potential customers before launching the sale to see if there is enough there to entice them to shop.

Discounting Your Products

According to Send Owl, 61% of orders contain a discount and only 39% occur with only fixed price items.

When discounting products for a sale or promotion, the first consideration is profit margin. Only in the rarest cases should products be sold at a loss. That means, you’ll need to look up the purchase price of the products and determine how much you can discount your products. You can also look at sales trends, inventory maintenance costs, and inventory numbers to determine the right pricing equation to use.

The old adage is that the less interest a product has, the deeper the discount should be. This is only a little true. When a product has had downward trending sales, slow sales, and is costly to maintain, you’ll want to offer steep discounts.

Typical discounts are 10-60%. Discounts can be added to items by putting them on sale in your Shopify dashboard, or by applying a coupon code to the purchase.

Timing Your Sales

With sales, timing is everything. Customers need enough time to shop your store, without losing urgency to make the purchase. Sales and promotions should balance out a myriad of factors so that your customers feel urgency, have time to shop the store, and enjoy their experience.

There’s no right or wrong answer on how long a sale should last, but you should time your sale so that you have enough time to properly market your promotions. If it takes a week to properly reach your audiences through email marketing, social media, and your other marketing channels, then you should make sure your promotion runs for a week or more. If it only takes a day, then you can adjust your sale accordingly.

You can also make your promotions timely by creating urgency. With urgency, you can give your customers an extra nudge to make the purchase when they first visit your shop, rather than vacillating as you try to win them over.

Countdown timers on your sales page and your product pages can help customers know that the sale is ending soon. Limited quantity alerts on product pages can also help customers act quickly before they’re sold out. These types of promotions trigger urgency for your customers so that they can make a quick decision or risk missing out.

Types of Sales

There is a right mix of promotions for every store. However, there are some common types of promotions that can be applied to individual stores with some adjustments to make them perfect for your brand.

Seasonal Promotions

Having twice annually or quarterly promotions allows your customers to expect a great sale from your brand and prepare to spend money during these windows. Customers will look forward to the opportunity to shop your brand and can enjoy the steepest discounts of the year during these times.

These seasonal promotions also help you to clear out inventory to prepare for the new season. For example, a clothing store may have quarterly sales to get ready for the next season’s clothes. This allows them to clear out old inventory so that it’s not hanging around when they launch their new designs.

The drawback of this type of promotion is that you’ll have a lull in sales directly leading up to the sale, as many customers will wait knowing that the sale is coming.

Event-Based Promotions

These are promotions that are triggered by an event that already gets a lot of buzz. Black Friday Sales are the most popular type of event-based promotion. Customers expect there to be a sale on Black Friday, so you are capitalizing on the pre-existing enthusiasm to offer your customers a sale.

Other events may be holidays, your brand’s “birthday,” or newsworthy events. Modcloth is a great example of newsworthy events. Within the past few months, they’ve sent out emails with promotions announcing the first female vice president, honoring Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and celebrating Black History month. All of these are well-aligned with their brand’s target audience and their audience would have already been aware of these events.

Clearance and Last Chance Sales

If you’re looking to clear out old inventory, this is a promotion that you can run continuously. You can even “drop” new merchandise each week so that you create a habit for your customers to come see the new arrivals to the clearance collection.

A last chance sale, even if it’s always on your site, should be promoted at regular intervals to continually drive traffic to this page.  

Cart Abandonment Promotions

Although not really a “sale” per se, you can drive a lot of traffic and conversions on your site by capitalizing on your existing customers milling around on your site.

You can have escalating discount codes sent through your cart abandonment emails so that customers have an added incentive to finish the checkout process.

Shopify also allows you to change the settings around your abandoned carts. You may want to expire carts after a set amount of time, so that you can send the best discount code right before the cart is no longer available. This can help increase your conversions.

Marketing Your Sales

If a sale happens, but no one’s there to see it, did it even happen?

Marketing is so important for your sales. You can’t hope that if you put the sale in the corner, that people will automatically find it on their own.

When you launch a sale, you need to use the full arsenal of your marketing tools to get  the word out.

This starts with your site’s design. Your sale page should be added prominently to the homepage and available in your top navigation.

Next, you’ll want to distribute your promotion through social media marketing, email marketing, and paid social ads. You should invest in remarketing with all your existing customers, so that customers aren’t able to miss this opportunity for a great deal.

Repetition can also help you get the most out of your communications. Hit the sale heavily at the very beginning, but don’t neglect mentions within other communications, like your live streams, your cart abandonment emails, and other odds and ends within your workflows.

Creating a Compelling Sale or Promotion for Your Shopify Store

Adding a Coupon Code in Shopify

Shopify allows you to set coupons for a fixed value, percentage, or shipping discount. Shopify also allows you to decide if your discount can be applied on the product, collection, or variant level in your store.

Another great option is the Buy X Get Y discounts, which encourage your customers to buy more and increases the average order value for your store.

You can also specify:

The only limit is your imagination! (And a 20,000,000 unique discount code limit that Shopify imposes)

Your customers can redeem these codes at your online store, or in person with your Shopify POS.

To get started, you go to Discounts and create a discount. Here, you can specify all the settings for the discount code and save it. You can use a discount code that you specify (Like “FREESHIP” or “BOGO”) or you can use an auto-generated discount through Shopify (which is good if you don’t want your customers to be able to guess the codes).

Setting a Sale Price in Shopify

Within your Shopify dashboard, you’ll want to go to the product page for the product that you’d like to discount.

Under Pricing, you can set the Compare At Price as the original price and set the Price as your discounted price. Click save to keep these settings.

You can use apps like Shopify Flow to schedule sale prices so that they have a beginning and end date that correlates with your promotion.

Best Apps for Sales and Promotions with Shopify

Adding the Right Products for Your Promotions

Using Carro’s Brand Partnerships and cross-store selling, you can strengthen your sales and capitalize on the momentum of your discounted products. You can add compelling impulse buys from your brand partners, then use a cross-selling app to increase the size of their cart when they are shopping the sale.

You can also use product bundles and other tactics to increase the size of the orders happening during your promotions. With promotions, you can offer them the best deals, then add smaller items that are easy to say yes to. With the increase in traffic to your site during your promotion, there’s never a better time to offer them up-sell, cross-sell, and impulse items.

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