If you're a retailer or need to create sales right now, there are several types of marketing strategies we've used for clients to create urgency in shoppers minds. Creating urgency to buy now becomes especially important if you need to make your sales now in the peak holiday shopping time or to make end of year goals. Here are the 7 types of retail marketing strategies we have seen work best to move the sales needle.
Short Term Events. Nothing says urgency like a limited time offer. Having a month-long event isn't going to create urgency. The shorter the time you give your customers, the more urgent the need to shop now. Even if you have a longer event, you can break it up into shorter segments. For instance, you can have a pre-holiday sale, followed by the holiday sale and then the extended version - this makes a two or three week event seem more urgent. Some retailers have taken this to the extreme. For instance, here in Detroit, Art Van Furniture now has one hour sales touting an offer so good we can only offer it for one day, one hour - Wednesday from 7 - 8 pm. Now, I'm sure they will give the offer to someone who is early or a little late to that one hour sale - but that's really pushing the urgency button. And it must be working, because I've seen them pull it out and run it numerous times this last year.
Limited Supply Offers. Another common practice for creating urgency in your retail marketing is to offer deals on a limited supply of items. This is one of the reasons clearance sales and special purchase offers work well. There is a limited supply of the item on sale and once they're gone, they're gone. So, you better get here before someone else grabs your deal.
Doorbuster Deals. This tactic is often used to bring in traffic early during a sale, either on a big shopping day like Black Friday or to jump start the sales for your event. The idea is to offer incredible bargains on specific items right at the start of a sale. You don't have to have a lot of them, but the perceived value has to be big enough that people are willing to disrupt their schedules to be there at a specific time - or even be willing to stand in line for the doors to open.
TV/Radio Remotes. By having your local TV or radio crew broadcasting "live" from your event, you create excitement and an urgency to get to the store while the excitement is going on. Obviously, having actual TV/Radio personalities at your event will be a bigger draw, but even the appearance of someone from the station being there is enough to create urgency to shop your store now. We recently did a series of "look lives" for one of our retail clients where a station in each market recorded interviews with store personnel about what was going on at the event. These then ran during the sale and even thought the station wasn't actually there at the time, it drove traffic to the stores that day.
Beat The Clock. This is a time-honored (pardon the pun) retail tactic for creating urgency. The idea is to have a sliding scale of offers that changes at regular intervals over the course of the event. So perhaps you start out with 40% off at the beginning of the sale and every hour or two you take another 5% away from the deal - going to 35%, 30%, etc. So, the earlier you get to the sale, the more you save.
Giveaways. Everybody likes getting free stuff. You can use this to create urgency in several ways. One is to offer a free gift the the first X amount of customers in the store. This way customers don't know exactly when you'll run out of gifts, but they know they better get there earlier to receive them. Or you could do something like a breakfast sale, where you kick off an event with free food for the first few hours of the sale. That also creates a reason for someone to shop early.
Pressure Points. This is akin to the short term event in that you're basically creating a short term event inside a larger event. You can do this to boost sales at the beginning, create a big push for the end or just spike sales in the middle. The idea is to offer something above and beyond the regular offer for one or two days within the larger sale. Hurry in Friday, because for one day only, our incredible deals get even better!
Those are some of the types of marketing strategies we've found to be effective in creating urgency to shop for our retail clients. It's a good list, but not the definitive list. And we're always brainstorming new ways. I'd love to know what has worked for you that I didn't mention here. And if you enjoyed this post, check out our best tactics for retail marketing in the digital world or 10 tips for retail marketing on mobile.