To offer or not to offer customer discounts is a popular debate in the eCommerce world. Some eCommerce players believe that it is harmful in the long term, while others believe that customer offers and discounts are an incentive to attract new consumers into the pool.
eCommerce businesses are also continuously experimenting with different kinds of discounts and offers. For instance, the early bird discount is considered an attractive opportunity to draw consumers in and drive sales. In a report, the online discount forecast for the holiday season in 2022 indicated that computers topped the list at 32%, followed by electronics (27%) and toys (22%). In this blog, we explore diverse ways leveraged by eCommerce businesses to boost sales using customer discounts and other innovative methods.
The psychology of customer discounts and offers
Even before the launch of eCommerce, businesses have been offering customer discounts and offers since time immemorial. Customers are continuously looking for ways to buy products at a cheaper rate. With the inflation rate hitting 6.44% in February 2023 in India, consumers are even more alert to potential customer offers and discounts on their favourite eCommerce platforms and brands.
eCommerce businesses must keep this consumer mindset at the forefront of their business decisions. Those who come up with innovative ways to build affordability into the consumer shopping experience can benefit and capture more market share.
5 best methods of using customer discounts/offers to boost sales
It’s not only enough to introduce discounts and customer offers but to also be able to have payment opportunities that support customers in taking advantage of such discounts and offers. This is where the Affordability Suite — a suite of multiple payment options and offers, enables customers to purchase based on their needs. Here is a snapshot:
1. Percentage discounts
This is an extremely easy and attractive way to offer customer discounts. Percentage discounts comprise a discount offered on an amount per INR 100. For instance, if a product costs INR 100, with a 20 % discount, it now costs only INR 80. Percentage discounts are an important pillar of the affordability suite.
2. No-cost EMIs
This is another key pillar of the affordability suite. Essentially, businesses offer consumers an opportunity to pay in equated monthly instalments (EMIs) without any interest being charged. Consumers can stagger their payments over a period of time. Yet, they are still paying the original price of the product.
This is another consumer favourite and an important component of the affordability suite. Consumers pay the full price of a product, yet they receive some amount back as cashback, which goes directly into their eCommerce store wallet. Cashbacks can be redeemed for future shopping and provide psychological relief to consumers.
4. Buy now, pay later (BNPL)
BNPL is one of the most important aspects of the affordability suite. This is an emerging mode of payment that empowers millions of customers without credit cards to buy products on credit. They do not pay any interest unless they default on payments. It helps them manage cash flows better and buy products of higher ticket sizes instantly and with ease.
5. Loyalty programs
This is a traditional model, which is still very much in demand these days. eCommerce brands can build consumer stickiness and delight by curating a well-designed loyalty program around personalisation, exclusive customer discounts, rewards, and overall value.
Tips for maximising the effectiveness of customer discounts/offers
1. Creating urgency and scarcity
When offering customer discounts, it is important to create an illusion of both urgency and scarcity. For instance, the offer could have a limited time frame. It can also highlight that the stock will run out shortly. Clever messaging can communicate these two aspects, nudging the consumer to make an instant purchase.
2. Personalising offers
Consumers have unique tastes and interests. eCommerce businesses can benefit when they deliver customer offers and discounts on products that the consumers are interested in. Data related to past purchases and browsing history come in handy when personalising customer discounts and offers.
3. Segmenting customers and offers
Another way to boost sales using discounts is to segment them based on demographics, psychographics, geography, and behaviour. Customer segmentation enables businesses to target specific customers, especially during digital marketing campaigns. This process has become more and more scientific, leveraging the benefits of technology to help businesses drive sales.
4. Timing discounts and offers strategically
Timing plays an important role when it comes to turning customer discounts into sales. For instance, it helps when a customer can view a discounted item as soon as they log on to a platform. It will generate instant curiosity and have the potential to convert browsers into buyers. eCommerce platforms can also design customer discounts and offers around special occasions, such as birthdays, festivals, and globally-celebrated days when consumers are in the mood to spend.
5. Using social proof and testimonials
Social proof builds consumer confidence in a product or service. Businesses can capitalise on this trend by prominently showcasing social proof on their websites and social media. For instance, they can display what products are being purchased at any given moment. They can also encourage consumers to share testimonials, which can prominently be displayed on product pages, social media, and email campaigns.
When offering discounts and offers, eCommerce businesses must ensure that they are well-integrated into the payment process. After all, you do not want consumers to leave discounted items in their shopping cart with a low-trust, broken payments experience. This is where partnering with a professional last-mile retail transaction technology provider is beneficial.
Plural Gateway, a comprehensive payments solution, enables easy integration of discounts/offers into the consumer transaction process, building a high-trust, hassle-free payments experience. This is a comprehensive payments solution, which also offers various features such as an affordability suite, multiple payment modes, custom branded pages, and easy integrations that enable customers to make payments via key social media and messaging app platforms.
With Plural Gateway as an eCommerce partner, businesses enjoy a hassle-free integration experience and round-the-clock tech support. To learn more about Plural Gateway and our Affordability Suite, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plural by Pine Labs has received an in-principle authorisation from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate as a Payment Aggregator.
Amrita Konaiagari is a Marketing Manager at Plural by Pine Labs and Editor of the Plural blog. She has over 10 years of marketing experience across Media & Tech industries and holds a Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. She has a passion for home décor and is most definitely a dog person.