How to Drive eCommerce Sales Without Discounting

When companies need a quick sales boost, the first thing that comes to mind is usually offering flash sales or major discounts. After all, sales bring consumers out in droves (126.9 million U.S. adults are projected to redeem online coupons in 2016), and last Thanksgiving, nearly 2/3 of the top 1,000 e-retailers offered discounts- proof that sales and discounts are successful for both customers and retailers. Right?

Not so fast. While the short-term benefits of discounting are tempting, discounts can actually hurt your business in the long run. For example, recent research has shown that there’s a direct correlation between price, discounting, and consumer perception of an item’s value; that is, the bigger the discount, the lower the perceived value in the eyes of the customer. In these instances, the customer sees “50% Off!” and thinks, “Hmm, that product must not be as high-quality as I thought it was.”

Also, the short-term sales boost you’re hoping for may not have the effect you were hoping for. One study found that when one brand discounted their laundry detergent, their competitors’ sales didn’t fall during the same period, and one competitor actually saw sales increase by 200%.

Luckily, there are several strategies you can employ to boost sales without relying on discounts. Research shows that customers drop off the purchasing process because of shipping costs, not being ready to purchase, slow sites, and perceiving a website as low-security. You can address these issues by:

  • Offering free shipping
  • Sending abandoned cart emails within three hours
  • Using retargeting to bring shoppers back when they’re ready
  • Improving your site speed
  • Adding security logos to your checkout page

Also, today’s online shoppers rely heavily on reviews to help them determine if they’re going to make a purchase. Encourage shoppers to leave reviews after a purchase. Finally, loyalty program customers spend about 13% more than average customers; consider what type of loyalty program will help you achieve your goals, and target the customer segment best suited to your loyalty program.

Discounts are a BandAid for your low sales numbers. Instead of using a quick fix, address the root of your sales issues for long-term success.

How to Drive E-commerce Sales Without Discounting – An infographic by the team at Slant Marketing


Jillian Zacchia

Jillian Zacchia

Jill is a professional writer, editor and social media procrastinator. With a degree in Literature and Communications from McGill, she started her journalism career writing about lifestyle and entertainment for teen magazines, and after dabbling with wedding and travel writing she began the transition towards content creation for start ups, marketing and tech companies.

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