Every business owner wants to see his/her business grow. The ability to encourage that growth usually requires money, and gaining the funds that could finance expansion or further product development generally relies on an increase in sales. The hard part is jump-starting a sales influx—especially without taking the obvious step of lowering prices.
Unfortunately, though it’s often effective in drawing new and return customers, lowering sales prices could result in a loss of revenue or a loss of a potentially higher level of profit. So the question that most business owners face is: how do you boost revenue without lowering prices or costing yourself more money in the long run?
Below are some ideas that other business owners have used in the past—some that may seem like lowering prices, but actually function more as incentives—that will help draw in customers to increase your sales and improve your bottom line.
- Future-use coupons – This is one of those techniques that comes off like a sale, but isn’t nearly so simple; call it smart promotions. When your customers make a certain dollar amount of purchases, they can receive a coupon for a dollar amount off on any future purchases. For instance, if they spend $30, they receive a coupon that can be used anytime during a specific time frame for $15 of free merchandise if they spend another $30.
- Product packages – Customers are drawn by well-packaged items and retailers who pay attention to presentation. Grouping items together and packaging them as seasonal specialties or gift items can help increase attraction and upgrade sales from smaller individual items to several items—totaling a higher dollar amount.
- Seasonal promotions – Kind of like the special packaging, other seasonal promotions can help draw customers and spark interest. Examples include specialty items for the season, unique packaging, or free gift wrapping, etc.
- Contests – This could be on the part of employees or for loyal customers. When there’s a prize in the mix, a lot of people get especially motivated.
- Family entertainment – Making a special family friendly evening for your business can be a special draw, providing your customers with a fun evening as well as a chance for them to make additional purchases.
- Upsell – Keeping smaller, low priced items nearby that can add or enhance other products is useful for increasing sales, little by little. Making sure your employees offer special promotions at the checkout point as well can increase the upsell potential with every transaction.
- Shipping – Free shipping of online items is always nice!
- Bulk order rewards – Another smart promotion is offering rewards for higher volume purchases. This could come in the form of a slight discount or in terms of future purchase rewards, etc.
- Customer Reviews – A huge way to drum up business is to encourage customers to give your company good online ratings. For any retail establishment, good reviews are essential in this modern world. The more 5 star ratings you can get, the more likely customers will choose your business over others.
- Charity Donations – Promoting and publicizing a charity drive or donating a portion of proceeds to a specific charity is also a very good way to draw in customers. You also end up helping with a great cause and drawing in more awareness of both your business and the charity.
- Free gift – This can be attached to any number of promotions—but everyone likes free stuff. You can draw a lot of interest by offering the chance of a free gift.
Drawing customers is the number one challenge every business has to face every single day. However, sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the monotony of maintaining the business and lose sight of all the creative ways you can attract new and return clientele.
If you see your numbers dropping, take a moment to brainstorm and consider your customer: What excites them? What interests them? What would make them choose your store over all the others out there? The ideas listed above are just a few drops in the bucket of promotional tools you might dream up that could be perfectly unique to your business—and which might lead you towards the growth you’ve always dreamed of.
About the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .
Top Photo Courtesy of Futundbeidl @ Flickr CC.