5 Ways To Leverage Discounts To Drive Sales

Who would pay more if they could pay less?  Consumers are constantly looking for deals.  In fact, 62% of consumers report that they spend two hours per week searching for deals and special offers online.  Offering discounts is a great way to increase traffic to your store and boost sales.

 The first question to ask is, “will this help or hurt my brand?”  Offering discounts is not right for every store.  For example, if you have positioned your store as a luxury or high-end brand, offering discounts may not be your best bet.  Loyalty programs, as an alternative, would work well in that case.  But, if your margins are deep enough, offering some strategic discounts is a no-brainer! 

There are two main types of discounts: percentage based and dollar value based.  Percentage based offers of 20-25% can really boost sales.  On the other hand, dollar value offers make customers feel that if they are not taking advantage of the discount, they are losing money, and the conversion rate on dollar value based discounts is around 175% higher!  A simple trick to keep in mind when deciding which type to use is the rule of 100.  For products under $100, use a percentage based discount.  For products priced higher than $100, use a dollar value based discount.  This rule uses a psychological trigger that will give customers the sense that they are getting the best deal. 

Here are a 5 ways to leverage discounts to drive sales:

1.  Free shipping

This type of promotion combats the number one reason for shopping cart abandonment.  Pair this offer with a minimum order amount to qualify for free shipping and expect to see an increase in average order value.  For more on increasing your average order value, check out this article.  

2. Cart abandonment offers

70% of online shoppers leave a site without checking out.  In addition to offering free shipping, another strategy to leverage discounts to combat cart abandonment and increase sales is offering a discount to shoppers who have left your store without checking out.  Offering these shoppers a discount 24 hours after they abandon their cart could be the difference that leads them to convert.  57% of consumers that have taken advantage of this type of deal say the abandoned cart discount they were offered did in fact lead them to make their purchase.

3. Exit intent offers

Similar to cart abandonment offers, exit intent offers are a last chance effort to convert a customer before they bounce from your site for good.  Apps like Exit Intent display a pop up coupon when a shopper’s cursor leaves the site window.  Leveraging this tool could make a difference in whether a shopper bounces or not.

4. Offers to first time shoppers

Offering a discount to first time shoppers is a great way to spark repeat business.  First time shopper discounts can not only make the difference in closing a sale, but they are also highly likely to make a loyal customer out of that shopper.  This is because 91% of those that utilize discounts say they will revisit stores that offer discounts.  Creating a loyal cohort of repeat customers is a surefire way to drive sales.

5. Discounts in exchange for referrals

Creating brand credibility and awareness is crucial for new stores.  Shoppers trust their friends’ and families’ recommendations first and foremost, so what better way to get your brand’s message out than to encourage current customers to refer your brand to the people they know.  Offering your current customers a discount in exchange for their referral is a great strategy for creating brand awareness and credibility, and should ultimately lead to an increase in sales.


If you have determined that offering discounts is right for your brand, then go for it and try any of these strategies!  Remember, offering discounts does not necessarily mean decreased profitability.  Utilizing these five strategies will ultimately position your business for growth in the long run.

Any other tips?  Feel free to comment below!