#Asia 5 best promotional practices for retailers for Singles Day


SurveyMonkey’s Eli Schwartz gives valuable insights on how to make the most of the holiday season shopping frenzy — both virtual and real

Who doesn’t like a discount?

Between Singles Day in China and Black Friday in the US and Europe, we are just over a month away from the most intense shopping period of the year. While these intense sales times feature some of the most enticing deals of the year, in fact, the entire period of time from the beginning of November to December 31 is one big period of discounting.

From a retailer’s perspective, pre-Christmas deals are designed to get users filling shopping carts – physical and virtual, and the post-Christmas discounts are intended to move extra inventory and finalise Q4 numbers.

If a discount doesn’t achieve a retailer’s intended goal, the deal can have a significant impact on the bottom line with ineffective marketing expenses, diminished margin on goods sold, and wasted staffing costs for customers that never materialise.

Having an effective promotional and discount strategy can really make or break this lucrative season.

I was curious about what kinds of promotions are the most enticing for customers, so I decided to survey 500+ users on my employer’s SurveyMonkey Audience’s market research tool for their thoughts on discounts. This is what I came up with.

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Five promotional best practices

First, I discovered that most customers are really bad at math. I asked if they would prefer a percentage discount or a flat dollar amount that in each case was the same number.

I asked the same question for three different scenarios, and over 80 per cent chose the dollar discount over the percentage discount.


1.  Always use fixed amount discounts over percentages. 

They are much easier for a customer to understand the exact value of their savings.

I also learned that users like something immediate and tangible versus something to be used in the future. 36 per cent of respondents chose to receive an immediate refund on a coffee purchase they just made if they were offered a post-purchase free drink as a loyalty reward.


2. Always make the promotion immediate and tangible.

I asked users how they would like to be notified of upcoming discounts, and, surprisingly, 78 per cent chose email as their preferred medium.

So many establishments place significant emphasis on obtaining social media fans when they should just ask for an email address.


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3. Don’t neglect email as an engagement channel for your customers.

I was also curious about what type of swag customers like to receive from exhibitors at conferences. Shockingly, four times as many of respondents would prefer a discount of the purchase of a product than receiving a gift like a thumb drive.

This could mean that by the time a visitor engages with an exhibitor, they are interested enough in the product and even a mildly useful gift doesn’t make them any more engaged.


4. Use conference marketing dollars for discounting products and services rather than purchasing marketing swag that will just be thrown out.

Lastly, I asked users what type of gift cards they like to receive as sign-up bonuses for purchasing products. Visa gift cards were the most popular (40 per cent) with Amazon (30 per cent) close behind. Interestingly, even though there are so many iPhone and iPad users, only two per cent would prefer to receive an iTunes gift card.


5. If using gift cards as a part of marketing promotions, give something that almost anyone can use like a Visa, Mastercard or Amex card.

Other interesting stats:

• Males were twice as interested in learning about store sales via Facebook than females (four per cent vs two per cent).

• 16 per cent of females were interested in being notified about sales via SMS vs only 11 per cent of males.

• Income earners above US$100,000 (16 per cent) were far more interested in receiving swag like thumb drives than those that earned below US$100,000 (eight per cent).

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If you are using any sort of discount strategy this holiday season, know which sort of deals align with your ultimate customer goals and which ones will just take money off your balance sheet to discount a purchase that a customer might have bought at full price.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, please send us an email at writers[at]e27[dot]co

Image Credit: Siberia Video and Photo /Shutterstock

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