Online incentives motivate consumers to shop at one store over another because of the perceived value. Our human brains love a good deal. We’re wired to get excited when something’s marked as clearance or offered at a discount.
“When my wife shops, it’s always something she purchased on sale. Not because it was the cheapest, but it was the best value,” says Bob Lapointe, CEO of Tailbase, a web solution and digital marketing company. “Show value proposition. What am I going to save by going to your store? What is the incentive?”
Clearance centers are the second-most visited pages on most retailer websites, according to Lapointe’s experience and research. “Just in case they can find a deal. We do that instinctively as consumers,” he says.
Website promotions not only increase foot traffic in a showroom or leasing office, they also drive revenue if they’re relevant, timely and targeted.
Motivate Online Consumers to Visit In Person
In a study published in Marketing Land, 91 percent of consumers surveyed said they’ve visited a brick-and-mortar retailer as a result of an online promotion.
Retailers and multifamily properties can differentiate themselves from competitors and inspire consumers to visit in person by delivering unique, direct value with personalized coupons that reflect what they’re searching for on the website.
“When people go to a website, they’re looking for the best value for them based on what they find online,” says PERQ National Sales Director Doug Stump. “They’re trying to make decisions on which retailer they’re going to go to, because they’re not going to six or seven stores. Incentivized offers can be very powerful for converting that online traffic.”
Deals and discounts drive even more in-store traffic if you make it compelling for the consumer to buy today. This is a popular neuromarketing strategy commonly used in advertising. Make the offer good for a limited time or mention a current sales promotion in your store. Bob Lapointe says “What will get me off my couch, into my car and driving down to your store today?”
Deliver Savings in Return for Consumer’s Information
To gain insight into an individual shopper’s needs, incorporate interactive website experiences like free planning or budgeting tools that capture detailed leads and useful analytics. You can also offer quizzes and assessments to help consumers figure out the type of mattress, car or apartment floor plan that best fits their needs.
“Consumers expect something in return for giving their information.”
In return for offering resources to consumers, your company learns what type of product or apartment the shopper prefers, where they’re at in the buying process as well as their specific pain points. Tap into that information to serve up a targeted incentive to close the deal using AI and predictive software on your website.
Consumers expect something in return for giving their information. Again, it’s just the way our brain works. After a consumer completes an assessment, deliver a result and then offer a related coupon, such as one-month free rent, $150 toward a trade-in vehicle or $100 off a new sofa, to increase the likelihood they’ll buy from you.
Additionally, exit intent incentives are one of the highest lead-converting tools. Entice online visitors to volunteer their information, if they haven’t already, before leaving the website. Your company will capture a new lead while the consumer gets an interactive scratch-and-save coupon that encourages them to give your brand a second look. “We’ve leased units from exit intent,” says Katrina Greene, senior regional property manager at Sheehan Property Management.
Free Giveaways and Contests Get Results
Nothing gets our consumer brains revved up like the word “free.” All of our clients choose a new welcome message that requests the consumer’s information in exchange for an exciting incentive or contest entry. One such incentive could be the chance to to win two years of free rent. The website experience is then personalized based on their responses.
Clients can choose to use PERQ’s $25,000 giveaway as the new customer incentive. Our annual drawing had more than 302,000 registrants last year across all verticals we serve (auto dealerships, multifamily properties and furniture retailers).
“Incentives do help,” says Patty Crawford, PERQ’s Vice President of Multifamily Sales. “It doesn’t have to be free rent. You can use creative ways to market the incentive.” Crawford gives the examples of a free trip giveaway or a contest to win all new furniture. “There’s huge value in it, because everybody likes to register for things like that.”
Align Promotions with Your Audience
While we know incentives work to convert online leads, companies must consider the target audience and evaluate how the special offer impacts the bottom line. “I think the nature of the incentive is less important than the strategy of personally delivering it to them based on what they engaged with on the website,” says PERQ’s Doug Stump. “That is the most important component of it.”
Stump works with retailers to identify areas where they have some cost flexibility so the promotion doesn’t negatively impact profitability. Maybe it’s offering free shipping for orders over $1,000. They’re not cutting into the manufacturer’s price point and overall markup, instead shifting it to something more controllable, like the cost of operating their own delivery trucks. Price-match guarantees are another popular incentive. Notice how both of those incentives sound familiar? Big e-commerce brands use them for a reason. They work.
“Any strategy you take with regards to a sale or some other incentivized way to drive people into your store, you have to find the audience that aligns with that deal,” Stump says. “Not everybody wants $200 off a leather sofa sectional. Some might be looking for a rocker instead.”
Be willing to test different types of incentives, messaging and placement, then carefully track the results. “As long as you can have some flexibility with your incentives and are able to try different things to find out what works the best, that’s the strategy we want to take with stores,” Stump says. “Deliver something of value versus a blanketed offer for everybody. You’re going to end up winning by having some diversity in your offerings.”
Justin Bowen, Web Content Manager at The Great American Home Store, agrees incentives increase traffic and sales but must be targeted for a specific market and clientele. “We’ve probably tried every conventional type of incentive. I definitely think personalized and targeted promotions are more effective,” Bowen says. “Customers have strange perceived values when it comes to enticing offers. What we may not consider to be a ‘good offer’ may actually be highly valuable in the customer’s eyes.”
After surveying customers in their markets, Bowen says The Great American Home Store found that while a 20-percent off coupon might technically be a bigger discount than free shipping, it’s the most valued offer.
“One promotion at our company may not work well at another company, because there are so many variables,” Bowen adds. “Take every opportunity to get to know your target customers as in-depth as you can to figure out what their needs and problems are, then solve those with promotional offers that matter most to them.”