Same-store sales are a significant part of retail data as they let a business know how their stores are performing. Each year, businesses are able to look at their historical sales data and measure performance over time (whether this figure is the end-all-be-all is another discussion). Having such a benchmark enables retailers to understand trends, missed opportunities, and how they can improve. One of the best ways to improve same-store sales are promotions. Promotions are a proven tool to attract customers and improve sales because many customer can’t resist a bargain. Stores are poised to use promotions to drive sales in 2018, as 76% of retailers plan to offer more promotions to increase sales this year (Kelton Global). If you want to drive traffic and improve same-store sales, here’s why you can’t neglect promotions.

The Science of Promotions: Improve Same-Store Sales

We all know the old comparison of customer acquisition cost vs. customer retention cost, as it costs 6 to 7 times as much to retain a customer than to attract a new one. It would then make sense for retailers to offer promotions not only to drive traffic from new customers, but more importantly to improve same-store sales from existing customers. Stores focusing on promotions can help improve same-store sales performance by utilizing their existing customer base.

Inspire and Reward Loyalty

One of the first aspects of promotions’ potential to increase same-store sales is loyalty. A store offering promotions may also give consumers the impression the company is rewarding their loyalty, and that the consumer is getting something in return for shopping at the store. If a retailer is offering a promotion, a customer may remain loyal to the company, especially if they feel that the promotion is a good value. When surveyed, 92% of consumers cited price and value as the reason for their retailer loyalty (ICSC Brand-Loyalty survey) and 84% of consumers identified themselves as loyal to a retailer.

Customers may also perceive a sense of loyalty when participating in a promotion, especially if promotions are tied to loyalty programs. While Hawk Incentive Research found that 79% of consumers look for deals in loyalty and reward programs before they make a purchase, an additional 82% of consumers prefer discounts and offers in their loyalty programs. (HelloWorld)

Influence Buying Behavior

Promotions can influence buying behavior in several ways. Retailers can run a promotion and inspire a sense of consumer urgency. Customers don’t want to miss out on a great deal, hence why retailers use language such as “for a limited time only” and “while supplies last.” This aspect of buying behavior also has an emotional component: 40% of consumers said they felt smart when they were able to find great deals (Hawk Incentives Research).

Conversion can be prompted via promotions, as some consumers may be enticed to buy once theyr’re in a store. The National Retail Federation (NRF) surveyed consumers on what prompts them to buy and found that 42.4% of those surveyed said that their Grocery/Food/Beauty purchase was most influenced by in-store promotions. When visiting a store in response to a promotion, such as a $1 can of energy drink, they might do an add-on purchase of snacks or take-and-go food, thereby increasing the average sales amount.

Still, some of it just comes to price, that’s where retailers can succeed with same-store sales as well: 82% of consumers say they switch stores to take advantage of weekly specials (Valassis). Based on this, retailers could see the value in having a series of regularly rotating promotions.

Real-World Examples of Promotions Driving Same-Store Sales

Promotions have driven significant same-store sales growth across companies. One of the best cases in recent history has been McDonald’s. The fast-food giant most recently reported its biggest same-store gain in 6 years at the end of the fourth quarter in January 2018. Part of the success came from the chain’s national promotions as they offered discount soft drinks of any size for $1, and the McPick 2 deal. McDonald’s knew that if customers stopped into a store for a discounted soft drink they’d likely add to their purchase, especially when enticed by appetizing food images, additional promotions, and the dollar menu.

Target too saw increased same-store sales during the holiday season, as it offered promotions in-store and discounts that could be accessed via the Cartwheel app. The retailer also offered promotional giveaways and demonstrations — both designed to enhance the customer experience. Finally, Target lowered prices across the board on thousands of items, and enticed many customers to come in for a “Target run”–once in the door, customers were enticed by the elaborate holiday decor section, curated quick gift bins and other promotions designed to increase same-store sales.

At the end of the day, promotions are just one way of improving customer experience and store loyalty. For brick and mortar operations and marketing teams to ultimately be successful in promoting same-store sales growth, they need to dip into their entire arsenal. For more information about how CB4 drives same-store sales growth, take a look at our solutions and technology page.