What’s Better than a Discount? These 4 Deals

You want to give your customers a deal while at the same time increasing your margin. So what can you do? Many people would jump straight to the conclusion that a discount is what they need. While discounts have their place in sales and conversions, if you aren’t careful, discounts can lead to brand degeneration, and actually drop sales long term, which means loosing profit and doing more harm than good to your sales margins.

The point of a discount is to save customers money and encourage them to make a purchase. However, if you have too many discounts, your customers may begin to expect them and hold off on purchases until the next discount rolls around. Additionally, discounts are associated with cheap product, so over time, too many discounts can degenerate your brand. So what can you do to provide your customers with incentive to buy that won’t hurt you long term? Instead of giving a discount that drops the value (both literally and perceived) of an item, try instead adding value. Not sure what we mean? Below we’ve listed four successful ways to add value for your customer.

Store Credit

Store credit can come in a variety of forms, from online credit towards your next purchase, to physical “discount dollars”, but they all have the same thing in common. These credits are earned when a customer makes a purchase, and often times can only be used in the event of an additional purchase.

This is a tactic Hot Topic does with their Hot Cash. Make a purchase, earn hot cash, which will be redeemable after a certain date (usually a couple weeks to a month in the future). This allows their customers time to accrue hot cash, and nudges them to return at a later date to make additional purchases.


Because these credits are perceived by clients as additional, free money, customers will feel as if they are wasting actually money if they do not return and use the credit to make an additional purchase.


Want to make your customers feel special? Provide exclusive coupons for exclusive customers. For example, offer exclusive coupon codes to your Facebook followers, or your email list, or to anyone who leaves a comment on your business blog. And yes, these coupons can appear in the form of discounts, but the difference between a coupon and a regular discount is the perceived value. When something is made exclusive only to a certain audience, its perceived value increases, meaning customers are more likely to use exclusive coupons offered to them.

Free Shipping

If you have an online store, you’ll be interested to learn that roughly 70% of shopping carts are abandoned. That means a customer visited your site, browsed your store, and even considered purchasing an item by adding it to their cart, but at the last minute, they changed their mind. Why? The number one reason is shipping fees.

You can entice your shoppers to take that last step to purchase an item by offering free shipping. Amazon has been doing this successfully for many years.


And see that little clause at the bottom? Shipping is only free on orders over a certain money amount, providing incentive to make additional purchases in order to earn free shipping.

Bonus Gift

Nothing makes a customer feel more valued than being offered an extra gift when they make a purchase. Not only can such tactics encourage customers to make a purchase and feel like they got a great deal, it can increase your sales margin. And, by having these deals available for only a limited amount of time, it can provide the same urgency as other discount deals while providing more value to your customer.

Claire’s is an example of a store that successfully utilizes bonus gifts, often on their jewelry sales.


Earn repeat customers and encourage more purchases by giving customers value, and encouraging customer loyalty.

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