How a bottle of wine can fill a restaurant

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I went out with friends for a meal last night to a restaurant that I haven’t visited for months. It’s way out in the country and normally I’d expect no trouble in getting a table without a booking but that’s no longer the case.

They’ve recognised that the current financial situation isn’t encouraging spending and have a whole raft of incentives in place and it’s winning them business – discounts on meals, £10 off a bottle of wine when two dine, set menu for £5 (and still take the wine offer so two meals plus their cheapest wine comes to just £11.50)! When you leave they offer a card with a link to review the restaurant online with a cash prize draw – that ensures they’ll get your email address for future promotional marketing.

They may not be making as much profit from each customer, but the restaurant was packed with a queue for tables. That led me to wonder what promotions online sellers can offer to attract buyers.

The most obvious are coupons, gifts and free shipping. Coupons aren’t easy to offer on eBay, but for website owners to mail a money off voucher to all previous customers is simple. For sellers in the US both coupons from eBay themselves and Microsoft Live cash back promotions are working well.

Getting something for free needn’t cost a lot. Book sellers could offer a free bookmark with all orders (in fact many book sellers already ship a free branded book mark with all orders anyway – tell your buyers you’re going to in advance!). Anything that you can send with orders for free sets you apart from your competition.

Free shipping is contentious, sellers don’t like to feel they’re paying fees to eBay on shipping, but there’s no getting away from the fact that buyers like it and it’s becoming a defacto standard. Everything from ships for free. John Lewis have one of the simplest postage policies ever which reads “Standard delivery is FREE on everything you order from John Lewis, either in our shops or online.”

Like the cut price bottle of wine that fills a restaurant free shipping is worth considering on all products and it’s imperative that sellers experiment with shipping offers to keep ahead of their competition.

What incentives are you offering to keep buyers buying from you, either on eBay or on your website?

5 Responses

  1. “Coupons aren’t easy to offer on eBay,”

    Ohhhhhhh yes they are 🙂

    You can fully customize an eBay legal email sent automatically to auction winners – in that customization include your coupon or discount code etc to be used for further purchases. AuctionThanx offers such a service, there are other similar services.

  2. hows about a free world cruise or we will pay your mortgage for life
    but only until we go down the pan

  3. I made my final purchase from Circuit City’s website yesterday. Got free shipping there too. Too bad the company discounted itself out of existence.

  4. Well we put a discount code in each parcel we send out, either as a business card which is standard in each box/envelope then we do special offers on postcards at differenet times of the year to.

    Works really well, get alot of customers using the vouchers on the website and we bespoke each one to each brand website we sell the items on.

    Looking at this year cross promoting the sites more and also looking at working with ‘complementry’ sites to, so for example our mens jewellery site is going to work with a mens underwear site we know, they will send our postcard out with each of their orders and we will send one with each of ours.

    Its all about reaching out to as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible!


  5. Whenever i shop online from the big stores, I always google discount codes, I get at least £10 off my groceries from

    Like Stuart we send out business cards with a discount code for the website in every ebay/amazon parcel and its on our packing slips… hasn’t been used that much though!


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