3 Ways to Maximize a Retail Clearance Sale Promotion

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My retail sales tips often revolve around how to sell full-priced merchandise, and for a good reason.

But what happens when you have a clearance sale or other promotion? If you've read my previous post about your customers' buying cycle, what happens to that cycle when they see a 20 percent off sale?

The customer purchasing cycle is squished.

picky customers at retail stores during clearance sale

Those customers aren't coming to the purchase via their desire but their logical pocketbook.

There is no childlike wonder, no seeking out the premium goods; they go right to Aunt Jean mode:

  • Is this a bargain?
  • What else do they have?
  • Is it too good to be true?

All those analytical questions come to the fore, and the customer is forced to shop rationally or, It might be gone.

For a salesperson, if you want to make a sale that sticks and isn't returned, you better address the rest of that customer's buying cycle!

3 Ways to Maximize a Retail Clearance Sale Promotion

Tip 1: Provoke the customer's imagination

Questions like, "Have you seen one of these?" while you pick an item up, help get the customer into the childlike wonder of speculating what it would look like on them, using or displaying it. Better yet, get them to a fitting room.

Tip 2: Show them more items

Next, you need to address the hunter-gatherer impulse so show similar items whether they are on sale or not. Discount shoppers' natural inclination in the buying cycle is to research.

So show them your store and let your displays get them envisioning having something - not necessarily the sale item in the wrong size or color.

Tip 3: Don't leave customers guessing

Then deal with the Aunt Jean or critical parent in their head who is scrutinizing whether the purchase is a good one or not. Don't assume the features and benefits are apparent; S-P-E-L-L-T-H-E-M-O-U-T.

Bonus Tip: Engage the customer about their purchase

Engage the customer to talk about when they will be wearing/using their new purchase. The more they see it working in their lives, the quicker they will adopt it as their own - not a sale item.

Don't forget to suggestively upsell to buy additional colors or accessories with the money they're saving.

Contrast that to many retailers who have their greeters announce the discounts and let customers pick over the merchandise alone. The customer is stuck in the third phase of their buying cycle, with Aunt Jean talking to them the whole time. "Should I get it or not?"

It is a black-and-white decision. The foremost satisfaction is - "See how much I saved" - not how much they love the item.

Distract Aunt Jean if you want to sell!

If you let your customer remain stuck in the third stage of their buying cycle - Aunt Jean - they will probably walk out unsatisfied or ask, "Is that all you have?"

That's because they are still looking to be wowed - something that rarely happens with deep discounts - but hope springs eternal...

See also: Making Friends With Clearance

When you address the stages in their buying cycle, you're more likely to make them feel thankful rather than feeling taken.

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