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 Play.com 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?