Should You Have a Sale?
A very common topic for people running a craft business is about having sales. Having a sale is more than adding a % off label to your handmade items. There is real strategy involved. A sale can be a very effective technique to help you gain new customers, encourage repeat business, and make room for new inventory. Here is a rundown on what you should know about sales.
Why would you want to have a sale? To bring in new customers or get rid of inventory or seasonal items. They can also be an excuse to reconnect with previous customers. Make sure you have permission to contact them though. Please see below for more information on this. Items marked as “On Sale” in their title can attract more views. You may also have an introductory offer to help launch a new product line or design.
How much of a discount is normal? The key to a sale is to get people’s attention. Discounts in the range of 20-30% are definitely enticing. The larger the discount the better.
Wouldn’t I be losing money with a 30% off sale? That depends on your margins. I would not offer items below cost unless you really just wanted to clear out inventory. Sales can be a form of advertising and obtaining new customers that may come back to purchase full price items in the future. They can be an effective way of marketing.
How about doing a free offer instead – Offer Free Shipping. This will keep the prices of your items the same so they do not appear undervalued. People love free shipping offers. A free shipping offer can be just as or even more effective than a 30% off sale.
What other offers can you do? “Buy one get one” offers are really attractive to buyers. You can do “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” or “Buy 3 Get 1 Free.” These types of offers can work well if you normally sell items in sets or if people usually purchase more than one. You could also offer “Buy One Get One Half Off.”
How often should you have sales? Generally speaking, not too often and not so consistently that customers can simply hold off on purchasing until the next sale.
When should you have sales? Each business is going to be different. One tactic could be to use sales as a way of bringing in new customers during slow periods. You most commonly see sellers having sales leading up to holidays or at the beginning or end of a season. You should also consider the actual dates of your sale. You want to have sales when people are around. A holiday weekend for instance may not be the best time since people will probably not be at the computer. If you sell worldwide though this is less of an issue.
How long should sales run for? Do limited time offers. A sale needs to be a Call to Action. Let people know exactly when the sale starts and ends. When an offer has ended, it’s over. Stick to this. The idea is for people to take advantage of the sale while it is going on. Do not get talked into giving a sale price to a customer days after the sale has ended.
Are sales just about making money? Not always directly. They can help you gain new customers, reconnect to existing ones, or get rid of inventory. If you attract new customers by having a sale you can also increase your number of feedback or testimonials which can help you get more sales in the future.
Do special offers to existing customers – Put a discount coupon in the box and try offering a percentage off or free shipping on their next purchase. Encourage repeat business.
Should you do a site wide sale or only specific items? Put specific items or specific categories of items on sale. Do focused offers.
Notify customers of sales – Have them sign up for newsletter, do not not just start contacting them. Do not send unsolicited emails. Also, let people opt out of your newsletters if they choose. You can also put a banner on your site and post about your sale on your Facebook Page. Mention it on your Facebook “Page” for your business or store, not your personal profile.
Experiment and see what works best for your venue and type of handmade items. Keep track of what offers bring in more views and of course more sales. Offer different length sales and experiment with doing them at different times. A sale is not an exact science and can require a lot of experimentation but it can be really affective when you find the right approach.
Good luck with your craft business