5 Marks of a Great Sales Event

sale bag
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Ever run a sales event in your store and it does not do well? Isn't it even more frustrating when it is an event you ran successfully before? There are some key components to making a great sales event in your store. In fact, in studying what works in retail, we have come up with five marks of a great sales event.

1. Have a Compelling Offer

The first rule of advertising is talk to the customer about something they are interested in. Too many times, retailers will advertise what they want to sell and forget to ask "does the customer really want this?" A compelling offer is one that motivates me as your customer to come into your store. It must capture my attention long enough to say "this might be worth my time." 

Instead of 20% off select merchandise, say 20% off almost everything in the store. Both have limits, one is compelling. 

2. Make it Great for the Customer

Consider this, people have more choices in shopping today than at any time in history. They can come to you or they can go to a myriad of other places including online. It's nothing today for a customer to travel a great distance for a deal. How many people do you know that drive across town to save $.04 per gallon on gas.

The point here is simple, people prefer to shop in a store versus online. They like people and human interaction. If the experience in the store is no better than the experience online, why would the customer come out of their house? Most customers expect poor experiences during a sale, so when they get a positive one it makes a huge impact. 

3. Make it Great for the Employee

Too many retailers run sales events that are so complicated to process in the POS system that the employee gets frustrated and his or her "salesability" dramatically decreases as the day progresses. Make your offers simple to understand and simple to deliver. Employees love to give things away for free and customers love to get free stuff, but make sure it is fun for everyone or else, you just wasted a lot of money on advertising. It's not about the purchase during the sale, its the one after that makes us profitable. Make sure there is a one after. 

4. Resist Disclaimers

No one likes a sales event that has lots of disclaimers or "hoops" to jump through just to get the offer. Make your offers simple to understand and simple to access. If you are limiting selection during your sale, make it obvious. Remember, frustrating a customer when they come in is a losing proposition. Even if they buy today, chances are we will not see them again. 


If the employee is not trained and ready to deliver on the advertised promise, then it is a waste of time. If what we said about choices in #2 above is true, then you must provide an experience that will knock their socks off when the customer comes in. The people in your store are the ones who will deliver that experience. Train them diligently on your ad. Give them the ad in advance and then have a meeting with your employees and quiz them on the product knowledge and location in the store of the items in your ad. Plus, allow your employees to ask all of the questions they think a customer might ask.