<< by Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala on January 29th, 2009
Staying competitive in this economic landscape is a challenge, to say the least. Watching retailing giants like Circuit City and Linens ‘N’ Things fall each day makes it easy to understand that online retailers need to be inventive in how they market.
One way to attract customers right now is to offer extended promotions beyond the regular holiday specials. Internet Retailer reports that a year-over-year study by the E-tailing Group (which examined 100 top online retailers through a “mystery shopper” method) found that a few types of promotions are more popular now than this time last year among the most successful retailers:
- Free Shipping- sometimes with a minimum purchase attached. 26% of retailers offered free shipping over 15% this time last year.
- Limited-time-only promotions. 42% of the studied retailers offered short-term “must use now” sales events as opposed to 18% last year.
A great example of the immediate promotion in action is JCrew. On a personal note, I have recently been on the market for a bridesmaid dress for a friend’s wedding for some time now. About a month ago, I first started looking at JCrew’s collection while they were having their holiday sale. I registered for email notifications and have since then been notified of at least three new “Last Chance” events since. The bride in question recently searched for “JCrew” on Google and saw a PPC ad along these lines:
JCrew – Official Site
Take an Extra 30% off. Final Sale Through Friday. Use Code EXTRA30.
The “Final Sale through Friday” offer won her over, and she decided on a great dress at a great value.
Another lesson illustrated well by JCrew is how to promote a sale event across the site itself. The Etailing Group also mentions that another trend among leading retailers is to improve on-site search capability, create a separate Sale/Clearance section accessible through the main navigation, and allow customers to filter product list by size, color, style, price, etc.
Bottom line: mentioning promotional offers in ad copy has been proven to improve click-through rates in our experience conducting AB tests with our clients. So, as a retailer, if you decide to engage in extra promotions to compete in the tough current markets, be sure to extend the promotion through your PPC ads as well! It’s the perfect avenue to publicize your latest “LAST CHANCE.”