Two Types of Sales Promotions that Lead to Quick Sales

August 4, 2015


It’s summertime and if you’re like most ecommerce folks, it’s your slowest sales period. You might be considering one or several types of sales promotions, to increase sales.

Here are two promotions that can drive sales quickly:

Flash Sales

Flash sales are sales that are offered for a specific period of time, usually for a day or a certain number of hours. TV shopping networks have been using them for years, in the form of a daily deal, or “Today’s Special Value.” Tory Johnson offers them every Thursday on Good Morning America’s Deals and Steals segment. Of course there are even online sites where the business model is flash sales, such as Groupon and Zulily.

While the market is inundated with flash sales, and many gurus say flash sale sites are on the decline, the concept of flash sales as occasional online sales promotions is alive and well. Case in point: despite what you or I (or social media detractors) thought about Amazon Prime’s one day sales on July 15, 2015, Amazon reported that it sold more products during its Prime Day sale than Black Friday in 2014.

According to Monetate, 56% of businesses report that their email open rates are higher with flash sale emails vs. regular emails.

Monetate also shared some tips and tactics to make your flash sale more successful:

  • Send emails about your flash sale – it generates 18% of referral traffic vs. 13% for social media
  • Include the date and duration of sale in all email, social media and promotional messages
  • Send flash sale emails in the evening, which provides 27% higher revenue per email

Buy One Get One Free (BOGO)

Studies show that grocery shoppers prefer BOGO promotions to any other type of promotion. Why? “I like free stuff,” was a typical comment. We all like getting free stuff. But can BOGOs work online, too? Definitely!

Celtic Complexion, an online retailer of luxury organic skincare, offers two BOGO sales per year: one on March 17, and one on the owner’s birthday (November 24). According to the owner, Jennifer Devlin Waller, those two days represent 80% of her sales for the entire year!


Promoting the Offer

Waller attributes a chunk of the BOGO sales’ success to having a specific marketing plan. “Four weeks prior to the sale, we start to promote it via direct mail postcard, Constant Contact newsletter, via a press release to all of the bloggers who have reviewed Celtic Complexion in the past and full page ads in the newspapers we advertise in,” she says.

Shipping Strategy

Since customers are getting double the amount of product, Waller charges double the shipping and handling charge – $11.60. Her products are luxury products, so no one has ever complained about the charge.

Everything on the website is available for the BOGO, however they do remove some items on that day. They send their orders out via USPS 2nd Day Priority Mail and break even on shipping.

Additional Tips

“Make sure your price points can support a BOGO and plan strategically,” says Waller. She starts prepping well ahead of time. In addition, she recommends making sure your instructions are clear so the customer understands exactly what to do and what they are getting.

“I worked in high end retail for many years before launching my own company,” notes Waller. “I learned which kind of sales got the best response, and BOGOs were by far the best. People don’t really respond to anything less than 30% off anymore. A BOGO cuts through the noise and gets their attention.”

Final Thoughts

Flash sales and BOGO sales can drive sales quickly at any time of year. Planning and preparation ensure that you are still making a profit, keeping customers happy, and setting the stage for future sales. Keep all this in mind as the Holiday season approaches—a great promotion now can help build brand loyalty going into the busiest time of year.