Skip to main content

Types of Discounts: Maximizing Profitability for Businesses

Learn how to boost sales with various types of discounts. Explore effective strategies for driving revenue through smart discounting.

Discounts have always played a crucial role in shaping consumer behavior by drawing in customers with the allure of savings and value.

In highly competitive marketplaces, where consumers are constantly bombarded with offers, brands must use discounting as part of their sales strategy to attract attention and convert it into sales. A well-structured price list can also aid in presenting these discounts in a clear and attractive way to the customer.

However, not all discounts are created equal. Just as a retailer might look for a trade discount from wholesalers, customers are also looking for the perfect deal. Understanding the various types of discounts can be the difference between a successful sale and a missed opportunity.

Offering the right discount could mean a surge in foot traffic or online sales. Discounts can also help businesses retain customers, clear inventory, and counteract a competitor’s move.

If you’re considering leveraging discounts for your business, keep reading to learn about the different types of discounts and how to wield them for maximum impact.

Businesses are constantly seeking strategies to enhance sales, drive customer engagement, and stay ahead of the competition. Discounting is a tactic used to achieve all of these goals.

Discounts are reductions from the usual price of a product or service. There are many different types of discounts available, from monetary reductions to percentage cuts and added value offers like buy-one-get-one-free (BOGO).

While you spend a lot of time pricing your products, these discounts serve various purposes, such as:

  • Attracting customers: Discounts can be the differentiator that draws customers to one brand over another.
  • Clearing inventory: For businesses with overstock, discounts provide a mechanism to boost sales and ensure inventory rotation.
  • Boosting customer retention: Offering special discounts to loyal customers can reinforce brand loyalty.
  • Counteracting competition: Businesses can use discounts as a strategy to capture a larger market share or to counter a competitor’s promotional strategy.

Not all discounts share the same purpose, and understanding the different types of discounts is crucial.

Percentage discounts offer a certain percentage off the original selling price and are common during sale seasons. On the other hand, dollar value discounts provide a direct reduction in price and are more straightforward. There are also quality discounts like BOGO or BOGO 50% off that encourage larger purchases and are effective for boosting sales discounts.

A diverse approach to discounting allows businesses to cater to the varied customer segments, each with its own motivations and behaviors. For instance, a seasonal discount can attract one-time shoppers, but loyalty discounts cater to long-term customers.

kale green cover of This Holiday, It’s Personal Mailchimp report

Personalize marketing to maximize sales this holiday

We commissioned a survey with Edelman DXI and analyzed Mailchimp platform data to understand what kinds of personalization tactics drive the biggest impact.

Percentage-based discounts

One of the most prevalent discounting strategies is the percentage-based discount. This discount offers a reduction based on a percentage of the product’s original price.

For example, if a product is priced at $100, a 10% discount would reduce the cost by $10, making the new price $90. Percentage-based discounts are particularly compelling because they often give the impression of greater savings.

A 50% off sale seems substantial, regardless of the original selling price. This type of discount is versatile and can be tailored to different products or sales goals. Additionally, the higher the percentage, the greater the urgency it creates, making it effective for flash sales and clearance events.

Dollar amount discounts

Set dollar amount discounts, also known as cash discounts, directly reduce the product’s price by a specified amount, making the savings instantly clear to the customer.

For instance, a product priced at $100 with a $20 discount would make the new price $80.

The transparency of dollar amount discounts makes them particularly appealing to customers because they know how much they’re saving without calculations. These discounts can be particularly effective for higher-priced items where the absolute saving seems significant.

To help you understand this concept, let’s consider tech companies that sell electronics and use dollar-amount discounts. A brand might offer $200 off a new laptop during holiday sales. Retailers also use dollar discounts for items like home appliances, giving the consumer a clear picture of savings.

BOGO deals are promotional strategies where the consumer receives an additional product for free or at a discounted price.

For instance, if a customer buys a product, they get another product either for free or at a reduced cost. Variations include buy-two-get-one or BOGO 50% off.

The allure of BOGO deals lies in the perceived value. Customers feel like they’re getting more for their money. The prospect of receiving an extra product can be too tempting for some to pass up, leading to increased sales volume.

BOGO deals are prevalent across various sectors, especially retail and e-commerce. Many retailers use them to clear out seasonal stock. Similarly, supermarkets and restaurants may use BOGO offers to entice customers to try new products or clear stock.

Free shipping and shipping discounts

Shipping costs can make or break a sale. Consumers often abandon carts due to high or unexpected shipping fees. However, offering free shipping or shipping discounts can significantly increase the likelihood of a purchase. It eliminates a primary deterrent and adds perceived value to the transaction.

Many businesses also set a minimum purchase threshold to qualify for free shipping, which can boost the average order value.

Limited-time offers (LTOs)

LTOs are promotional discounts or special deals available for a short, predefined period. These deals capitalize on urgency. The knowledge that a deal won’t last forever pushes consumers to make quicker purchasing decisions, bypassing the typical deliberation phase.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful psychological trigger. People don’t want to miss out on great deals or exclusive offers. LTOs tap directly into this sentiment, urging customers to act before it’s too late.

Bundle discounts

Bundling involves selling several products as one combined product at a discounted price. This strategy allows consumers to purchase multiple products together at a lower price than if each component was purchased separately, increasing customers’ perceived value of the offering and the average order value for the business.

Bundle discounts are often used to pair bestsellers with less popular or overstocked items, ensuring they move faster. However, relevance is key. The products in a bundle must complement each other. For example, a camera might pair with a case.

Additionally, the bundled price should offer a clear saving over individual purchases and provide flexibility, allowing customers to create their own bundles when necessary.

Many companies use bundle discounts. McDonald's offers meal deals that bundle burgers, fries, and a drink at a value price. Meanwhile, companies like Microsoft have used bundling by offering their Office software suite at a discounted price.

Customer loyalty must be cultivated. A well-structured loyalty program is one of the most effective tools for businesses. They often involve exclusive discounts, rewards, or points that can be redeemed in the future.

Offering exclusive discounts to loyal customers incentivizes repeat purchases, leading to increased sales over time. In addition, loyal customers tend to spend more than first-time visitors, and loyalty discounts further enhance the appeal of becoming a regular customer.

Clearance and seasonal discounts

Clearance and seasonal discounts are time-honored tactics to drive website traffic and sales during specific periods or to clear out inventory.

Clearance discounts aim to move outdated or overstocked inventory, making room for new stock. On the other hand, seasonal discounts capitalize on particular times of the year, such as holiday seasons or back-to-school.

The knowledge that clearance items are limited in quantity can drive faster purchasing decisions while associating discounts with a particular season or holiday aligns with consumers’ existing buying habits during those periods.

For both types of discounts, timing is crucial. Start promotions ahead of peak season for seasonal discounts to capture early buyers. You should also ensure the duration and terms of the sale are clearly communicated to avoid customer confusion.

Use in-store displays, email campaigns, and social media to promote your discounts and enhance your reach.

Flash sales and impulse buying

Flash sales are time-sensitive, deeply discounted offers that create a sense of urgency among consumers. These short, intense promotions, where products are offered for a limited time, tap directly into the concept of FOMO, encouraging quick decisions before the deal is gone.

Social media and email marketing are crucial when promoting flash sales. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook allow businesses to reach a vast audience instantly, creating immediate buzz. Eye-catching visuals and countdown timers can also accompany flash sales to heighten urgency.

You should also send out email notifications about upcoming and live flash sales to attract your dedicated base of customers.

Volume discounts

A volume discount is an incentive offered to customers who purchase in large quantities. Businesses reduce the price per unit or offer a specific percentage off of the total price when a customer buys a product in higher volumes. A business might offer a 5% discount on orders of 100 items, a 10% discount on orders of 500 items, and so on.

This type of discount benefits buyers and sellers. For businesses selling a product online, it encourages larger purchases, increasing sales and moving more inventory. For consumers, it lowers the per-item cost, making it more affordable to buy in bulk.

Businesses often use volume discounts in B2B to encourage retailers to stock more of their products. However, you might use it in B2C for items consumers need in bulk, like household goods.

Maximizing sales through diverse discount strategies

Discounting offers immediate transactional gain along with strategies like loyalty programs that aim for longer relationships, cultivating trust and brand loyalty over time. However, it’s not just about understanding each type of discount but recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t effective.

Different customers resonate with different offers. The exclusivity of loyalty programs might sway one person, while another might wait for a seasonal sale.

Employing diverse discount strategies ensures businesses tap into various customer segments. For businesses, it’s useful to have an updated price list that showcases the original and discounted prices of products or services.

Promote your discounts with Mailchimp. Create engaging marketing campaigns, ads, and social media posts to drive engagement and sales.

Share This Article