Retail Digital Transformation and 4.0

How to Grow Sales – Effective Sales Promotion Techniques

Sales Promotion Techniques: Turning Promotions Into Big Sales And Marketing Advantages

A Free Gift, A Discount Buy, A Special Offering, A Consumer Contest, Discount Coupons – Check Out These Promotional Techniques That Get Results

Sales Promotion Techniques have been around for as long as retail. Think about it. Anyone who has ever had a product to sell has had to find ways to entice the customer to buy, or that product isn’t going anywhere. Of course, like everything else in business, sales promotion techniques have evolved over time. Progress has sparked new promotional opportunities and new ways of engaging the consumer. New advancements in retail technology and smart data capture are giving brands and retailers new insights that are revolutionizing the promotions and marketing game. The key is finding the right promotions strategies for marketing your product, your brand and your business.

This article will provide some good ideas, along with an example or two, to help you create consumer sales promotions that deliver. Promotions that increase immediate new sales; generate repeat business from current customers; and boost that bottom-line number. First, however, let’s define sales promotions.

Interested In Learning How Technology Is Being Used To Drive Better Promotions?

A new generation of digital technology is being used by brands and retailers to help define and direct promotions. These new solutions provide real-time data and insights across every area of the sales and promotions equation:

These insights are being used to drive more effective promotions. Not only do they improve the techniques used to promote a product, they also make it possible to measure the effectiveness of promotions in real-time, allowing businesses to make adjustments and changes on the fly. You can learn more about new retail technology and how its driving better product and brand promotions here.

The Concept And Nature Of Sales Promotion

It’s important to make a distinction between sales promotion techniques and marketing functions, such as product advertising, public relations, face-to-face sales, and brand marketing. These are all important components of product sales; however, they are not promotions.

Based on the definition given by the American Marketing Association, sales promotions include activities that supplement advertising, personal selling, public relations and marketing by stimulating consumer purchasing in ways that are not part of the ordinary course of business. This includes non-recurring sales initiatives, such as free demonstrations, special displays, discount offers during a specific time period, limited-time coupons, and event marketing.

Look at it this way, marketing and advertising are ways to present and promote a product or brand through various forms of paid media, while sales promotions are very specific and time-sensitive initiatives and events designed to spike immediate sales. Of course, promotions and conventional marketing should work to complement each other. For example, a successful promotion often requires a substantial marketing and advertising component to get the word out to the consumer. Everything is connected

How effectively are your marketing and promotions functions connected? New insights from the latest digital retail solutions, can help. Learn more.

Objectives Of Sales Promotion

As already stated, the overall objective of any sales promotion is to generate immediate product purchases. However, promotions are usually aligned with very specific business and product goals. They are used to accomplish many different aspects of retail. Here are just a few:

Introduce A New Product

Sales promotion techniques are often used to launch new products. Certainly, you’ve experienced a free trial or two while shopping at your local supermarket. This is a great example of promotions being used to introduce a new product. The strategy is simple. Get the consumer to try something he or she might not be looking for and, hopefully, he or she will be so impressed they’ll add it to their shopping list.

Improve Sluggish Product Sales

Promotional strategies are also used to boost sales among products that are falling short of projections. The techniques can range from buy one, get one free programs to discount coupons to pairing a struggling product with a related product and promoting the two as a single package purchase.

Seasonal Success

The seasons are ripe for promotional techniques. For example, during the holidays a brand might offer a free gift with the purchase of a specific product in order to drive sales. Or, products that have a highly defined seasonal period, such as pumpkin pie around Thanksgiving, can be promoted in a number of ways including discount offers, free in-store sampling, and pairing pumpkin pie with other holiday treats.

Breaking The Sales Barrier

Promotions are often used to mitigate consumer risk when purchasing a product or services. For example, an internet provider might offer a free, no-obligation trial period to get a consumer to try its new, faster service. The promise of “faster” alone might not get the customer to switch from his or her current provider, but the offer of a free trial mitigates the risk of switching and just might close the deal.

Clearing Shelves

There’s only so much physical space on store shelves and in warehouses. Promotions are often used to move current products in order to make room for the next wave of inventory. The last thing a retailer wants is to be stuck holding too much product without enough display space to move it. A good promotion is a great way to keep that inventory flowing.

Sales Promotion Techniques

What type of sales promotion will work best for your business? Here are some of the most effective promotional strategies brands and retailers are using today. These should provide some good inspiration for implementing your own sales promotions techniques.

The Good Old-Fashioned Discount

This one is certainly no big revelation, but it is a big difference maker. Price discounts have been around forever because people love to save money as much as they ever have. Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting a great deal. That’s just human nature. The question brands and retailers face is how much of a discount to offer? This, naturally, depends on a company’s margins and how much they can expect to gain in terms of sales volume. However, as a rule, the more substantial the discount feels to the consumer, the better the results.

Free Sampling Or Free Trial/Demonstration

Free samples are a promotional staple of the grocery industry. What better way to promote a product, especially a new one, than by allowing customers to sample it on the spot for free. Free trials are also great ways to get products into the hands of customers. Golfers will be familiar with club demo days often hosted at local courses and driving ranges. Major manufacturers are on hand with a full array of new drivers and irons that golfers are welcome to pick up and try. It’s important to note that the success of free samples and demos, hinges on excellent sales staff support. The customer must feel properly engaged and the salesperson must be able to answer any and all questions the customer might have.


Who doesn’t love coupons? And, wow, have they come a long way. Coupons are no longer snipped out of the Sunday newspaper. They’re attached to emails, sent via text, popped up on internet browsers, and posted over social media. The growth of online communications and shopping has opened up entirely new marketing possibilities for coupons. But one thing hasn’t changed – coupons can still be used to promote just about any product, which is why they are still the most widely used promotional technique.

Consumer Contest

Contests are used to spark consumer interest and generate immediate participation. They can be entirely random such as a sweepstakes or giveaway, where the consumer is entered to win some sort of prize. Or, they can inspire a little fun-filled competition among customers. For example, an automotive brand might run a social media challenge inviting owners to create a family video featuring their new car. The winning entry takes home a great prize.

In this case, the company is both creating brand loyalty and also, hopefully, generating immediate interest among new prospects who view the contest videos.

Buy One, Get One Free

BOGO techniques have become the stuff of legends in recent years. Buy one, get one free (BOGO) is used by countless industries to generate immediate sales. While “free” has always been a big draw, the emergence of BOGO as a catchy acronym has catapulted the concept. The key to a good BOGO promotion is the free product being offered and the time period during which it’s offered. For example, offering a BOGO deal on wool socks in November, just before the freezing winter months kick in, is a great idea. Offering the same promo in mid-August, however, is not such a great idea.

Event Marketing & Promotions

Event marketing is a technique that attaches a brand or product to a specific happening – it might be a music festival, a sporting event, or, in some cases, a brand might even sponsor its own marketing event. While it’s common to offer things like discounts and free samples during events, sometimes simply being seen as a part of the celebration is enough to generate consumer interest.

Flash Sales – Limited Time Opportunities

We live in a world of instant gratification and sometimes that works best with promotions, too. Flash sales are discounts offered during an extremely limited time period. It might be a day, a week, or even just a few hours. The point is to create a deep sense of urgency within the consumer. The time is now. Make your move or miss out! Flash sales usually offer substantial savings (50% or more) and are often promoted via email or social media to connect with an already engaged audience.

Technology As A Technique

As retail grows more dependent upon technology, so do sales promotions techniques. Today, top brands and retailers are relying on advanced retail management software and data capture solutions to help guide their promotional marketing by providing real-time insights that lead to better decisions and more effective strategies.

Eduardo Santaella, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Mobile Insight, a leading retail management technology provider sums it up this way, “Technology gives brands and retailers the ability to see, track and measure their businesses in real time which was never before possible. This level of instant insight leads to more informed marketing, management and promotional decisions. It’s a huge game changer.”

If you’d like to learn more about ways technology is driving retail sales and promotions, visit

Mobile Insight® is the only retail and merchandise management solution designed to meet the brick and mortar sales challenges of high-value brands and retailers. Unlike hardware and software providers that focus on fast-moving goods, the Mobile Insight® platform delivers assisted sales solutions for more complex, interactive, and customer-centric environments. Combining data from in-store systems, 3PLs, employee and partner activity, Mobile Insight® enables informed, smarter decisions that drive sales and operations excellence. For more information, visit


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