Sales Campaign Checklist for Small Online Stores

Sales campaigns are crucial for converting visitors into customers. They not only generate additional revenue and profits but are particularly vital for new stores aiming to attract their first customers. Some new stores are prepared to sell products at cost, or even at a loss, to kickstart sales and invest in long-term customer relationships. The idea is that if a customer is satisfied with their initial purchase, they are likely to return. Essentially, you might lose money on the first sale, but profit from subsequent ones.

Checklist to follow when running a sales campaign in your online store:

  1. Determine the dates for the campaign. It should last at least a couple of days. Also, consider that people usually have more money to spend at the start of the month, but the end of the month might be more effective in campaign messages (e.g., ‘Only until the end of the month’).
  2. Selecting Items for Discount: Determine if the discount should apply to a particular category, brand, or product, or if it should be storewide. Experience shows that targeting a sale towards specific categories or brands often yields better results. For instance, a store partnering with Hertwill and less than a year old ran a 20% discount campaign exclusively for Samelin shoes and achieved sales of almost €6,000 in two weeks, whereas their total sales for Samelin were previously under €500.
  3. All products should display sales prices clearly showing the discounts, both in individual product views and in the catalog view.
  4. The store’s main menu, both on desktop and mobile, should prominently feature a campaign section, such as “SALE” or “Discount.”
  5. The homepage banner should display the campaign message, and if there’s a button, it should lead to the campaign products.
  6. Consider adding the campaign message to the Top Bar or a popup, ensuring that visitors not coming through the homepage are also aware of the campaign.
  7. At least couple of products should have a significant discount, allowing for advertisements that mention discounts of up to -50% even when most products have discount of 10-20%.  But remember, at least 10% of the products should genuinely offer a 50% discount. This is a common strategy in retail. Bigger is better.
  8. Emphasize the time limitation everywhere. For example, use phrases like “Limited days only,” “Until midnight tomorrow,” “Until the end of the month,” “Only tonight at midnight.” Mentioning limited quantities is also effective.
  9. For Facebook ads, experiment with both campaign visuals and catalog ads that include campaign messages, focusing on sales. Allocate a higher budget for the last two days, using specific messages for these days (“Until tonight at midnight,” etc.). These last days often generate significantly more sales. Keep these ads within the same campaign and ad group—do not create a new one for the final days. Additionally, consider remarketing to, for example, visitors from the past 90 days to inform them about the sale.
  10. With Google Ads, in addition to search ads that highlight the discount, try shopping and display ads with small budgets and of course campaign visuals.
  11. If you have a newsletter list, send at least 2-3 newsletters: one at the beginning, one on the morning of the last day (some also send another the evening before the end), and one in between.
  12. Announce the start of the campaign on all social media channels on the first day.
  13. Do the same for the last day.
  14. Use Facebook/Instagram’s internal scheduling option to schedule content (or use a tool like SocialPilot) for at least every other day during the campaign.
  15. If you are an overachiever, also update the cover photos, bio texts, and other elements in your social profiles with campaign visuals, slogans, and messages.
  16. Midway through the campaign, consider adding more products to the campaign and announcing this update on your web, social media, through ads, and in your newsletter. Many retailers use this strategy to re-engage customers and encourage repeat visits.
  17. Long term: If your margins are small, consider raising prices. The retail industry now frequently runs on discounts, and having a margin allows for these promotions.

If you haven’t started using Hertwill yet, you can install our Shopify app here and our WooCommerce plugin here. Hertwill is a dropshipping app that offers products exclusively from European brands.

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