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Discount Promotions: The Tricks and How to Use Them

A successful sales discount promotion can be a great way to increase your revenue, but there are many factors that must come into play for it to work.

  • To get the most out of them, you must evaluate the type of discount promotion to give as well as how to implement them.
  • There are numerous types of promotions you might try, ranging from percentage discounts and “dollars off” to BOGO and free shipping.
  • This post will show you how to determine which promotion to run and how your POS system can help you.

Promotions are a retailer’s best friend. They can drive sales and help you move inventory, which is why they’re so popular. Click To Tweet

Promotions are not as simple to execute and measure. You need to be careful with what you offer, because if it’s the wrong promotion at the wrong time for your store, then sales will suffer.

That’s why we’re talking about it today. We want to show you the ins and outs of promotions so that you can do them right when they come up in your business.

Let’s get started.

What Exactly Are Sales Discount Promotion?

A sales promotion is a marketing tactic that retailers use to encourage shoppers to buy their products. These promotions often offer customers the chance of buying something for less than they would usually pay, but other types exist too.

I have found that it is best to offer a discount as well as an incentive for the sale. This can be in any form, but I personally use discounts and bonuses.

eg., Buy One Get One Free).

Below are the different types of retail promotions that I will be discussing.

discount promotion

There are a variety of different types of retail sales Discount Promotion

There are many different types of promotions, but it’s important to think about the type that would work best for your store. For example, in retail, there is advertising promotion and discounting strategy.

1. Percentage discounts 

The percentage off deal (e. g.One of the most popular and effective types of promotions is when a business advertises “20% off” or “50% off.”). This can be a great way to motivate your customers and make them feel like they are getting the best deal possible.

2. “xx dollars off”

The problem with “percent-off” deals is that they are not always the best solution. For example, you might be able to do better by offering a flat dollar amount off of an item’s price.  (e.g $5 off or $20 off).

When it comes to sales, the question of whether percentage discounts or fixed-price offers are better is still up for debate. Studies and tests have yielded mixed results.

An inexpensive product, like a $25 supplement that comes with one month’s supply of the item, predicts that 40% off is more motivating than 10%. Though they’re basically equivalent in value.

If you’re trying to sell a product that’s usually $350, the best deal would be an offer of 50% off rather than 15%. This is because the customer will view this as more substantial and it’ll make them feel like they’re getting a better bargain.

When it comes to figuring out 15% of $350, many people will choose the easy way and just not do it.

You should do the math and look at it from a psychological standpoint to decide which type of discount you want.


Another popular promotion is to buy one get one free. This can be applied in two ways: a straight discount of the second item or, if there’s only 1 left and you want both items, it could go on sale for half price.

Sometimes, BOGO can be a good way to move some inventory. If you’re sitting on too much stock and want it gone fast, this promotion could work for you.

4. Multi-buys

Multi-buy promotions 


In order to avoid the hassle of managing a large inventory, you can offer “2 for 1” deals. But this strategy will only work if your product line is right.

For example, “Buy 2 Get 1 Free Bottle of Wine” is a winner. “Buy 2 Get One Free Ottoman?” Not going to move much.”

5. Conditional and multi-save discount promotion

Multi-save promotions are one of the most effective ways to increase sales.

  • Buy and save on the entire sale.
  • Spend and save on the entire sale.
  • Purchase and save money on selected items.
  • Spend and save money on selected items.
  • Buy and pay a fixed price.

I found that one of the best ways to motivate employees is through conditional promotions. A discount promotion should be based on performance and not seniority, which means you can still offer a position even if someone has been with your company for less time than others. Click To Tweet

  • Buy and get one or more items for free or at discount.
  • Buy and earn loyalty.
  • Spend and earn loyalty.

A discount promotion like this encourages customers to buy more and not just look at clearance items. It also allows them to browse the store without feeling pressure from salespeople, which can sometimes be a distraction.

6. Free shipping

If you’re running an eCommerce site, free shipping might be a good promotional offer for your business.

Just remember that like most discount promotions, the effectiveness of free shipping isn’t set in stone. Some businesses find it really effective. 

In addition to being a simple incentive, free shipping on all $100 purchases is easier for customers to understand.

7. Try before you buy

This is the new hot thing among eCommerce merchants. They know that people are less likely to buy something if they can’t touch it first, so this promotion lets them do just that.

I used to think that I could just offer a high commission and then if they didn’t sell, I would figure out what was wrong.  But now there are more “try before you buy” initiatives.

Try before you buy is a common marketing strategy that can be used to drive conversions. Customers are allowed to purchase products with the only caveat being they have not yet been shipped and customers will then need to send them back if they don’t want it.

A new trend is coming up in the retail industry. Customers are given a trial period to make sure they like what they bought before deciding whether or not it’s worth keeping for good.

Online retailers might want to consider testing a “try before you buy” model. Yes, there are risks involved in the offer but it could be worth it.

You might find yourself stuck with a product that’s been returned because the customer didn’t like it. But don’t worry, this offer is best used on products which have an extremely high satisfaction rating.

If you want your customers to keep buying from you, make sure they are happy with the products.

IL MAKIAGE, a cosmetic company from Paris, is an excellent example of how trying before you buy can increase customer satisfaction. IL MAKIAGE invites shoppers to take a quiz and find the right type of foundation for their skin.

Once you’ve found the perfect product, try it before buying with a 14-day trial period. If you don’t love your purchase, send it back within that time.

IL MAKIAGE has a solution for customers who are unhappy with their makeup. They can return the product and get an IL MAKIAGE credit, which they can use to purchase any of our products in the future.

8. Gift with purchase

One of the most effective ways to get people to buy is with a freebie promotion. Retailers are able to use this offer for surplus stock or just want more conversions, which can be very successful.

Ulta offered a free travel spray and a crossbody bag for any purchase of $40 or more.

discount promotion

What is the best way to decide on a discount promotion?

We’ve already discussed the different types of discount promotions you can offer, but now let’s get into selecting which one is right for your business.

Make sure your goals are totally clear.

The first question you should ask when considering discount promotion isn’t “What type of promo should I offer?” Rather, it should be, “What do I want to achieve?”

You need to identify your objectives before you start any promotion. Do you want more foot traffic? Higher profits? If so, then the answer will help determine what kind of promotions are best for your business.

If you want to draw people into your store, then it might be a good idea to offer an attractive discount. However, if the goal is for them to buy more than one item or multiple items at once-then they should check out BOGO deals and multi-buy promotions.

Sometimes you want to motivate customers by getting them in the habit of doing something. For example, when retailers like Nordstrom and Target wanted people to choose their store for pickup orders they offered discounts.


Gary Nealon, President of RTA Cabinet Store, knew that he had to test out different promotions in order to see what would work best for his store. He decided on a trial-and-error approach and offered discounts as well as free delivery.

The question is: should there be restrictions?

If you’re looking for a way to promote your employees, blanket promotions are an easy and effective option. They can be easily communicated with clear titles that everyone understands.

There are a lot of factors to consider when setting up promotions. For example, if you want people to buy your product and not resell it for profit on eBay, there is an easy way around that: make sure they can’t sell the item in stores or online.

  • Product-specific promotions – The discount promotions only apply to selected products or categories (e.g. “Half-off all dresses”)
  • Spending thresholds – The promotion will only apply if the customer spends above a set dollar amount (e.g., “Free shipping if you spend $100 or more”)
  • Customer-specific promotions – The discount promotion is only extended to a certain shopper segment (e.g., “10% off coupon for all NEW customers”)

If you want to increase your sales, try adding some of these restrictions. Just make sure that they are logical for the promotion because people will be less likely to buy if there is too much effort involved.

Here are a few ways to increase the success of your discount promotion

Promotions need to be promoted. The following are some ways you can get people excited about buying:

discount promotion

Create a sense of urgency

When you have a promotion with no end date, people will stop caring about it and they’ll never get to the finish line. You should use limited-time offers in order to motivate customers.

This is one of the reasons why flash sales are so effective. Shoppers know that they have to act quickly or miss out on this great deal, which encourages them to buy now.

Flash sales have been shown to be a big success, with half of all purchases happening in the first hour.

If you want people to buy something from your store, add a countdown timer so they know how much time is left. Habitat did this in their stores and it worked really well!

I also noticed that they had signs in the window to help customers know when their stuff was going on sale, and I think it helped a lot because people were really motivated.

Themes are important

It’s always good to have a theme when you’re offering something so that people can remember it and know what they’ll be getting.

One way to get people into the mood is by piggybacking on holidays. For example, Mother’s Day or Memorial Day is always a good time for sales promotions.

It is important to note that not all holidays are recognized by your company. There are also some “unofficial” days of celebration that you should consider for both the morale and profitability boosts.

BirchboxMan ran a promotion to entice people on National Pound Cake Day, which is March 4th. The offer was basically free Birchboxes in exchange for referrals.

One of the best ways to promote your business is by tying it into a major holiday. You can even make up an unofficial one if you want, like National Boss Day on August 23rd.

Loyalty programs are a great way to get people to stay with your company (You should probably tie in one of those)

Have you ever thought about how your loyalty program could help with your discount promotion? If executed correctly, it can increase the number of new members and boost sales.

Gymboree offers new members a “Welcome” discount to entice them into the rewards program. The coupon is below.

But, if you want to incentivize your customers to spend more with you and not at other stores, why don’t we run a promo just for them? It could be an exclusive event that only they can attend. Your loyal patrons will love the exclusivity of it all – plus there’s plenty in it for us too.

Nordstrom knows how to make a splash with their Anniversary Sale. Every year, they run the sale and give people lots of discounts on great merchandise.

Nordstrom is celebrating their anniversary with a big sale. They are sending out emails and decorating all of the stores.

In 2021, Nordstrom really went all out. They started live streaming and hosting Glam Up Days as part of their Anniversary Sale.

You could also have a loyalty system where you give your customers rewards for their purchases. For example, if they buy something specific or spend over $100, then the customer would receive extra points that can be used to get discounts on future purchases (a win-win situation).

Combine discount promotion

If you’re feeling particularly generous (or if you really need to liquidate your stock), consider combining different discount promotions. Initiatives like “Take an additional 20% off already discounted items” can really grab shopper attention.

To make sure that your customers are happy, you should give them discounts and free shipping. This will make their buying experience more pleasurable.

A great way to drive sales is by doing targeted promotions.

When deciding on who to target with your promotional campaigns, it’s best to consider the gender of the customer. Older people might appreciate a discount more than someone in their 20s and 30s. You should also create segments for customers based on how much they spend.

For example, if you want to run a sale for one of your products or brands, it’s best to only target people who have already purchased that brand. Or let’s say you’re running an event specifically for VIP customers.

I’ve had great success with this tactic. Why not try it out?

Want to know a clever way that Tiny Prints ran their private sale? They sent an email code to VIP customers and it was only available for 24 hours.

There are a number of retail platforms out there, so make sure you pick one that will work for your promotions.

Promotions can be really effective for boosting sales. You need to keep track of what you’re selling and how much inventory is left.

If you’re still using a clunky, manual system to run your promotions and discounts in-store, it’s time for an upgrade. A retail management system that lets you manage promos with ease will help boost your sales. Click To Tweet

Make sure that your discounting system is easy to use and makes it so you don’t have to worry about tracking inventory or sales.

Make sure to be flexible with payments and offer different options, such as credit cards or cash.

It is important to find ways for customers who are hesitant about high-end merchandise, but it can be difficult. One way to help them out? Lowering the prices of your products and offering promotions.

You can do this by offering flexible payment options, such as layaway. With that, you take a deposit from the customer for their purchase and set it aside until they are able to pay off the balance.

Not a fan of layaway? Consider using Afterpay, an interest-free payment plan that will let you receive the upfront cost for your purchase while allowing customers to pay in four monthly installments.

The more we researched, the more it became clear that even a small incentive like Afterpay can make customers spend an extra 20%. This will help your business grow and get you better results.


Discount promotions are a tricky thing. It really depends on the products you sell, your customers and their needs, as well as how much you charge for each product.

The secret to motivating salespeople is finding the perfect balance between high base pay and lucrative commissions. You want an offer that has a lot of perceived value without costing you too much money.