Top 5 Types of Retail Promotion

By James Weber on Jul 31, 2023 4:31:26 PM

5 min read
Top 5 Types of Retail Promotion

In the world of retail, there are various types of promotions that retailers can leverage to capture customer attention, drive sales, and build brand loyalty. Each type of promotion offers unique benefits and appeals to different customer segments.

In this article, we will explore some of the top 5 types of retail promotions, their characteristics, and how they can be effectively used to achieve business objectives.


1. Discounts and Percentage Off

Discount promotions are one of the most widely used and effective types of retail promotions. They involve offering a price reduction or percentage off the regular price of a product or service. Here are some key variations of discount promotions:

Percentage Off

This type of promotion involves offering a specific percentage discount on the regular price of a product. For example, a retailer may offer a 20% discount on all apparel items.

Percentage off promotions attract price-conscious customers and create a sense of value and savings.

Fixed Amount Off

Instead of a percentage discount, retailers may offer a fixed amount off the regular price. For instance, a retailer may offer £10 off on a purchase of £50 or more.

Fixed amount off promotions make it easy for customers to calculate the savings and can encourage them to spend more to reach the discount threshold.

Buy-One-Get-One (BOGO)

BOGO promotions involve offering customers the opportunity to receive an additional item for free or at a discounted price when they purchase a qualifying item at the regular price.

For example, a retailer may offer a buy-one-get-one-free deal on selected cosmetics. BOGO promotions incentivise larger purchases and create a sense of value and abundance.


2. Limited-Time Sales and Flash Sales

limited-time-sales-flash-salesLimited-time sales and flash sales create a sense of urgency and excitement among customers. These promotions are characterised by offering special discounts or deals for a short period, often lasting only a few hours or days. Here are a couple of variations of time-based promotions:

Seasonal Sales

Seasonal sales take advantage of specific seasons or holidays to offer promotions and attract customers. For example, retailers may have a summer sale or a Black Friday sale.

Seasonal sales capitalise on increased customer spending during specific times of the year and create a sense of anticipation and exclusivity.

Flash Sales

Flash sales are short-term promotions that typically last for a few hours or a day. They involve offering significant discounts on selected products or a specific category.

Flash sales create a sense of urgency and encourage impulse purchases. Retailers often use email marketing or social media to announce flash sales and generate excitement.


3. Loyalty Programs and Rewards

loyalty-programs-rewardsLoyalty programs are designed to reward and incentivise repeat purchases from loyal customers. These programs encourage customer loyalty and increase the likelihood of future purchases. Here are a couple of loyalty program variations:

Points-Based Programs

Points-based loyalty programs reward customers with points for every purchase they make. These points can be accumulated and redeemed for discounts, free products, or exclusive benefits.

Customers feel motivated to keep coming back to earn more points and unlock rewards.

Tiered Programs

Tiered loyalty programs segment customers based on their spending levels or engagement. Customers can progress through different tiers (e.g. silver, gold, platinum) by reaching specific spending thresholds or meeting certain criteria.

Each tier offers increasing benefits, such as exclusive discounts, early access to sales, or personalised offers.


4. Free Gifts and Samplesfree-gifts-samples

Free gifts and samples promotions aim to entice customers by offering complimentary items or product samples with a purchase.

These promotions help customers experience new products and create a sense of reciprocity. Here are a couple of variations of free gifts and samples:

Gift with Purchase

Retailers offer a free gift when customers make a qualifying purchase. For example, a beauty retailer may offer a free makeup bag with the purchase of £50 or more.

Gift with purchase promotions can drive sales and provide an additional incentive for customers to buy.

Product Samples

Retailers distribute free product samples to customers to introduce them to new products or encourage trial. For instance, a skincare brand may offer free samples of a new moisturiser.

Product samples allow customers to experience the product's quality and benefits, potentially leading to future purchases.


5. Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways promotions engage customers by offering them a chance to win prizes. These promotions generate excitement, encourage customer participation, and can expand brand reach through social sharing. Here are a couple of contest and giveaway variations:

Social Media Contests

Retailers host contests on social media platforms, encouraging customers to participate by liking, sharing, or commenting on a post.

Winners are selected randomly or based on specific criteria. Social media contests help increase brand visibility, engagement, and follower growth.

In-Store Giveaways

Retailers organise in-store giveaways where customers can enter for a chance to win prizes. These giveaways can involve filling out a form, participating in a demonstration, or making a purchase.

In-store giveaways create foot traffic and provide opportunities to interact with customers.


What are my next steps?

Understanding the various types of retail promotions and their characteristics allows retailers to select the most suitable strategies to achieve their business goals.

Whether it's through discounts, limited-time sales, loyalty programs, free gifts, or contests, each type of promotion offers unique advantages and appeals to different customer preferences.

By incorporating a mix of promotion types and strategically aligning them with your target audience and objectives, you can effectively engage customers, increase sales, and foster brand loyalty.

Spearheading a retail promotion? Check out our ultimate guide to retail promotions to learn how to tap into your target audience, create compelling offers, and analyse and optimise your data to improve your results. 

James Weber

Written by James Weber

Content Manager