Any activity to promote a sale is known as Sales Activity. Sellers carry out a multitude of activities to keep the business afloat and raise the profit bars. Sales activities are a part of the business, necessary to push the sale beyond the expected value. With diversity in business and business carrying out methods, gazillion sales activities have evolved which can be carried out. Sales activities depend on the nature of business and industry and type of customers.
Following are the sales activities that can be carried out for Online or Offline Sales
A) Offline Sales
This is the traditional method of sales in which a customer physically visits a store or an outlet or a showroom in order to make a purchase. Customer physical presence is the primary thing to consider while planning the activity.
Following are the types of Sales Activities carried out for Offline Sales:
1) Discounts :
Probably the oldest technique in order to promote business. Discounts are provided over the markup price or freebies are provided in order to provide an effective discount. Discount is the most popular technique which has proven time-tested and is effective.
Higher the discount, higher is the crowd pull. The advantage of discount is customers see an attractive pricing which makes the instant sale possible. The disadvantage of discounts is the seller profit margin is compromised.
2) Promotional event :
A promotional event is where the store or the showroom: a. will provide either additional discounts over regular discounts for a limited time, b. will organize a sponsored event promoting the product, c. will run a contest or a program whereby the winners will get a free product or d. give away free samples.
Starbucks follows the last method whereby they will launch a new drink or a food item which are circulated in stores as testers for customers. Most of these events involve costs but the sales target to be achieved usually takes care of it.
3) Tie-ups :
These can be for economic products for a long association or for costlier products with a financial institution. For example, Coca-Cola is tied up with McDonald’s, Pepsi is tied up with Burger King. The intention in this type is to make the customer develop a liking to the product so that even after he walks out of the food joint, he would go and buy the drink separately.
Many tissue paper companies are now having tie-ups with theatres for a limited time where they provide giveaways. For costlier products, bank tie-ups are available which help the customers to make the purchase and pay the amount in convenient monthly installments. For example, Apple provides a monthly payment scheme for its new phones.
4) Memberships :
A recently developed sales activity which encourages the customers to buy for one time at the retail price but cuts down the price for regular purchase. This is also seen with tourism companies whereby a onetime trip would cost more than a membership.
Theatres are promoting memberships which provide about 1-2 movies for free per month and a regular discount on every other ticket purchase in their theatre anywhere. Gyms have memberships whereby the member can work out in any gym all over the state or country with no cost.
5) Sales calling :
In the case of B2B sales, the old method of Sales calling works wonders. Deals of large appliances, medical equipment, pharmaceutical products etc. are sold by this way. Sales calling is done at customers’ place according to customer convenience.
Sales calling is, arguably the most effective method of selling. A continuity in the salesperson, his performance, abilities, and relations are what develops the business. Of course, there is a part that the company plays in it, but a majority of the share goes to the skill of salesperson. The customer develops a rapport with the person and that relation can be leveraged to get business.
6) Limited offers and scarcity-driven Sales :
At times, some companies promote sales under ‘Limited offer’, ‘Limited Stock’ or in case of services, ‘Limited seats’ or ‘Invitation only’. Such staged promotions are done in order to develop a value of the product and pull the customers.
A sense of urgency develops in the minds of the customers and faster sales are realized. Timed flash sales, exclusive sales also fall under this category. For example, Weekday Pizza offers by Dominos for first 100 customers. While the promotion says so, it is open to all customers.
7) Mystery coupons :
the Lucky draw is yet another sales activity. This is carried out in both online and offline sales. Customers are made to buy products and provided with the scratch code. Only lucky few will get the chance to win the prize but it attracts a large population in the hope of winning.
B) Online Sales
A recently developed method of sales which involves no physical presence of any kind and the customer merely sees the product, reads everything about it there is to read and see and buys the product. Online sales have many advantages over offline sales due to cost saving at many places like Showroom cost or store cost, salespeople cost, demo cost etc. Following are few sales activities carried out in Online Sales:
8) Discounts :
Just like offline sales, a price reduction on markup price is provided but the percentage of discount on online sales is usually higher than offline sales. Almost every product on every e-commerce website will have a crossed markup price and a discounted price written next to it, with the percent of discount mentioned.
9) Promotional event :
Unlike offline sales, the promotional event focuses only on price. Huge discounts are given by e-commerce sites for a limited period to promote sales. This is usually during festive seasons like Christmas or New Year or regional holidays.
E-commerce giant Amazon has such promotional events often wherein they provide extra discounts over and above the regular discounts. Since the cost of offline activities is saved, the company can still be in profit even after offering huge discounts. The advantage of the promotional event is that it pulls first time buyers and retains existing clients. Business grows multiple folds during such promotional events.
10) Free Membership :
The best example of that would be Netflix which offers 1 month of free trial. Also anti-virus companies like Norton, Kaspersky, McAfee etc. provide 1-3 months of free trial after which membership can be brought. Online storage drives work on the same business principle.
For example, Google Drive offers first 15 GB of storage free, Apple iCloud offers 5 GB free, Microsoft One Drive provides 5GB free and Dropbox provides 2GB free while rest is paid every month for each of them. Free memberships let the customer get a taste of the product and its features. Once they experience, they can make a purchase.
11) Freebies :
Buy-One-Get-one is the common type of freebie offered to customers. The price halves and stock finishes sooner. In the case of a bulk purchase, this offer is lucrative as the discount is 50% on the markup price. Sometimes a different product is given with a product to promote the sales of both. A price difference is illustrated showing the effective price of a product has come down considerably.
12) Coupons :
A more recent trend is of proving coupons. This coupon will have a certain percentage of discount on the price, thus promoting the sale. Coupons are from email whereby once subscribed, the customers get a steady trickle of discount which initiates steady trickle of sales, scratch offers promoted on other products, for example, buy a product of Pepsi and get a scratch code for Amazon e-voucher, or offers for regular customers. These coupons are highly sought after by customers for discounting.
13) First-time buyers :
In order to get new customers, many of the online stores provide a discount for first-time buyers. This is the maximum discount the store offers to grab new customers and widen their customer portfolio. Apart from developing a new customer base, the advantage of the first-time-buyer program is that it helps in competitor conversion. Retention of the customer in long run is subjective and that is the disadvantage of this sales activity.
14) In-Store currency :
Sometimes, customers are not satisfied with the product and want to return it. In that case, many provide store currency which can be used to purchase anything else from that store only. At other times, the discount is provided as store currency cashback.
For example, Amazon has its own Amazon currency which can be used to purchase anything from the store. Cashback, returns, replacements etc. are provided from same Amazon currency. The advantage of in-store currency is that the business is not lost and irrespective of product, a sale takes place.
15) Referral Bonus :
Many online stores provide referral bonus on bringing a new customer. This bonus can be for both the present and new customer. This sales activity is much better than First time bonus because in this both existing and new customer get the benefits. For example, Uber provides a certain discount to both existing and new users.
16) Loyalty points :
This sales activity is used in both online and offline sales. Loyalty points are provided to the regular customer on the regular purchase. These points can be redeemed against a product or to get a discount. Loyalty points given by various banks on credit cards, Airline miles or frequent flyer programs by airline companies are few examples of loyalty points.