January 21, 2013 | Alyson Stanfield

8 Ways to Have a Sale

Stop throwing the same sale over and over. Here's a list of 8 different sales structures that offer incentives to buyers.
Try them all out, test the variables, and see what works best for you.
1. Flat discount on everything.
Marketers say that 30% off is a good motivator. Anything less doesn't move people to act as quickly.
2. 2-fer.
Buy 2 for the price of 1. You have to make sure that people will want two or this isn't a motivator.
3. Bonus add-on.
Buy 1 and get these bonuses.
This works great when you have digital products that can be downloaded – like special reports and audio interviews. It could also work if you have reproductions or note cards of the original being purchased.
4. Bonus to the first 10 buyers.
Encourages and rewards those who buy early.
5. Free shipping.
Seems to be a good incentive for many buyers.
6. Declining discount.
Encourages early buying. 70% off the first day, 60% off the second day, . . .
7. Free frame (pedestal, display, etc.) included.
To make this cost-effective for you, you'd better buy in bulk and tell them that assembly is required.
8.  ???? Mystery sale.
So mysterious that I can't tell you what it is. You tell me.
What other sales can artists promote? What has and hasn't worked for you?

9 comments add a comment
  • Carolina

    There are some nich sites where most of these tactics takes lot of time bring results, any tips for them.

  • I have tried 30% off and free shipping, both in my Etsy shop, but neither of these has worked. Perhaps I tried them at the wrong times or for the wrong products?
    I like the idea of 8. Send me money and I’ll send something terrific back. LOL! That would take curiosity and bravery on the buyer’s part if they’ve never dealt with the artist before, though.

  • This is great and has been on my mind. In fact I was waiting to post a comment in hopes that there would be more comments and ideas to add that I could use.
    I was thinking of having a sale or more specifically of sending coupons to people who purchased paintings from me in the last year as a thank you and incentive to purchase another work. Any thoughts on that? I was only thinking 10-20% though, that seems to be too little according to this post.
    Any time I’ve offered sales to my email list, I’ve never once had a bite and afterwards didn’t really feel good about having offered it.
    I’ve really been thinking about free shipping on small and medium sized works and am in the process of redoing my pricing structure to include this.
    I’ve decided to do this becasue as a consumer I often times do not complete a purchase when I see how much shipping is, I no longer feel excited about getting a “deal”, it just somehow psycologically pushes me to the “I’m paying too much” edge.
    I’d love to hear more thoughts and creative sale ideas that people have had.
    Thanks for these idea Alyson, they’re very valuable!

    • Kelly: I don’t think people buy art because it’s on sale – especially at 10-20% off. I think there has to be a BIG brouhaha around the sale – a really big deal. So I wouldn’t mess with coupons.

      • Natalie VonRaven

        I agree! My flash sales are 50% off and they are usually quite successful however I feel like I’m undermining my work and maybe causing my customers to question it’s value. It’s a tough call… but I agree the discount has to be significant in order for anyone to bother.

  • Thanks for the feedback Alyson, just what I was looking for.
    Maybe to reward or thank collectors I can give them something as a bonus instead of a discount on their next purchase. I’ll be working in this, thanks again.

  • Every november or early december , I do a “Make me an offer.” on my paintings. This is usually pretty successful. I tell them to make me an offer on their favorite paintings, and if it’s not too ‘silly’ i’ll probably go for it. Sometimes they buy two or three….sometimes I counter offer. It’s fun and I usually sell quite a few paintings that would otherwise be sitting around in my studio.

    • Natalie VonRaven

      I really like this idea but for myself personally (and therefore I assume my potential customers feel the same), I would feel uncomfortable spitting out a random offer without having any sense of what was “reasonable”. I’m always afraid I’ll insult the artist if my offer is too “silly” or low. If you’ve had success with it maybe I should blow past my self-consciousness, assume my customers will do the same and give it a try!

  • Natalie VonRaven

    I like doing random flash sales (usually 50% off, one day or even a few hours only) and posting them exclusively to my Facebook business page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natalie-VonRaven-Magisterian/49896805498 This gives my customers a vary brief good deal and encourages people to connect with me on Facebook =)

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