The dos and don'ts of sales season

Whatever your feelings may be about the sales period hype, it's coming. And, for plenty of businesses, it's a critical time; one made all the more difficult given current global supply chain problems.
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We caught up to Jon MacDonald, founder of conversion optimization company The Good, and co-host of the Drive and Convert podcast. Here, he shares valuable advice on how to master this time of year.

‘You shouldn't just be doing a dollar or percentage-off discount, no matter what the product is. You should be thinking about an offer – like product bundling, doing a free gift with purchase, extended warranties or free shipping. Think about the value add you can do, instead of taking away.’

‘Your best sellers don't need a discount because they're already your best sellers. You should be doing discounts on products that are sitting in your warehouse a lot longer, or something that you typically have a challenge selling at that price. The reality with discounting is that if you have to discount a product, it was too overpriced to begin with. It's a great way to test if pricing should or can be reduced – but the holiday period isn't a good time to do that, midsummer is. Certain behaviors change during the holiday period that mean it's not a great testing period.’ 

‘Most brands look at it and say, “What's intriguing to the consumer?” Instead of approaching it from the angle of what's sustainable. You have to look at what your customer acquisition cost is and factor that into your margins. A lot of brands look at their overall margins, instead of looking at the individual product margin that they're discounting. I've seen companies end up losing a lot of money that way.’ 

More: Everything you need to know about... sales outreach

‘This year, in particular, there are going to be massive supply chain problems. Amazon broke up its holiday-week specials and started running them on 1 October. As a brand, you should start running your sales now and time them – focusing on the products that would take you longer to get to consumers so that they get them in time. During any holiday week, focus on what you have in stock so that you can get it to people right away.’

‘A lot of brands are saying, “Instead of giving a discount, we're going to take that into a donation, or a cause.” That's a good way to really focus on your brand instead of just looking at it as a discount. It's an addition and the consumer still feels empowered and good about purchasing your product. Alternatively, another option is just saying, “You know what, we're not going to discount this year because we have a limited supply,” or whatever your reasoning might be.’

A version of this article was published in the Courier Weekly newsletter. For more useful stories, tips, tricks and simply good advice, sign up here.

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