Research has confirmed time and time again that most people do their shopping on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The question is: Are you making the most of these important sales opportunities? If your answer is, “Yes, we always run deals on the weekend,” then you’re almost there.
A discount alone isn’t going to drive sales. You need to time it right, target the appropriate audience and more. Use the following tips to make your weekend deals more effective, driving sales and customer loyalty each weekend of the year.
Choose the Right Type of Discount
There are many types of discounts you can create: Storewide, X percent off, $X off, buy one, get one (BOGO) and more. However, not all promotions are created equal. Before choosing, you must determine total cost, what your customers want, and what makes the most sense for your business goals. Here’s how:
Ask your customers: Use a poll on your website, social media or an email blast to find out what discounts appeal most to your customers. This is easy to do with a variety of platforms and will give you the most accurate information.
Consider your business goals: Are you trying to drive new customers? Then perhaps something like, “$75 off your first purchase” is ideal. If you’re trying to get rid of a surplus of inventory, however, BOGO would be best.
Know the costs: Coupons and deals get a bad rep because they automatically cut into your profit. However, a simple equation will allow you to choose the deal that makes the most sense for you financially. Use (retail price – cost) / (retail price) to determine the profit margin, which then will dictate the number of sales you need to make to stay within a profitable range.
Remember: Timing is (Almost) Everything
To make the most of your discounts and deals, build them into your content calendar so you can time them just right. Plan this calendar annually, and add to it throughout the year, depending on business priorities, changes in the industry, etc.
Each month, look over your calendar and start planning and creating content for the upcoming discounts and deals you’ve decided on, including blog posts, graphics and social media updates. This allows you to start campaigns and tease deals on social media well in advance, which is especially important for annual or holiday sales events.
Each piece of content will be best suited for a different distribution platform. In terms of social, the top three channels for retail are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Each one has its own best times for engagement, so when choosing social platforms for promotion, keep these details in mind:
- Facebook’s prime time is Friday, as well as 3p.m. on most days (Fridays are when people are happier, researchers have found—but we knew that already). You can also check Facebook analytics to see when your actual audience is online and use that as a guide.
- Instagram has a couple of focal times, including 2 to 3p.m. and 8 to 9p.m. When posting video, plan for 9p.m.
- Pinterest is an evening channel. People tend to unwind and pin to their hearts’ content from 8 to 11p.m. This is the perfect place to post a visually appealing promotional graphic. Use these tips from Big Commerce to design the most effective sales pins.
Don’t forget to time your distribution of promotional emails appropriately as well. The email service you use likely provides analytics for your list, which will help you make the best timing decisions.
Don’t Forget Your Target Audience
When you’re focused on driving sales, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of the more the merrier. While that’s not necessarily bad, it means that you may not be targeting or positioning your deals in the right way.
For example, a 2016 CouponBox analysis found that weekend shopping habits vary with age:
- Shoppers ages 25 to 34 and 55+ shop mostly on Friday
- Shoppers in the age group of 35 to 64 shop mostly on Saturday (slight overlap with the 55+ above)
- Shoppers ages 18 to 24 shop mostly on Sunday
When you use this data to inform your decisions, you’ll attract your core customers, which ideally will drive more sales. Consider which age group your customers fall into and then promote your discounts and deals on that day.
The weekends are when people typically have more free time and are in a more lighthearted mood. Use this to your advantage by planning ahead, choosing the best platforms and segmenting your audience appropriately. When you do, you’ll drive a record sales all year long.
About the writer: Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last five years in marketing. She recently stepped down from a senior marketing position to focus on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. She’s written for sites such as Lifehack, Inman, Manta, StartupNation and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 for more marketing and small business insights.
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