Offering Coupons and Discounts

Large brands always seem to be offering coupons and discounts during the holiday season, if not, always. For small businesses this can be a little tricky. It's a challenge to discount something that has been made by hand, with love. We have definitely made our share of mistakes with coupons and discounts, but have also had great results come from promotions as well.

Here are a few ideas that we find have worked; some of these are more general, and others are holiday specific::

  • Offer a discount to all of your customers once they've purchased. With this you can express gratitude and promote customer loyalty. On Etsy you can integrate a "Thank You Coupon" that sends automatically, and this coupon is tracked as well, which allows you to see how many customers have applied the discount.
  • Specifically for the holidays, if you have inventory that you would like to clear out, you could discount these items significantly and label them as "Ready to Ship". This will not only give you more working and storage space, but may bring some extra revenue.
  • If you have a newsletter, you can offer more significant discounts to your subscribers. Newsletters are a more intimate way to announce a promotion, and you can place a narrow timeframe on the offer with direct links to exactly what you are offering. For example, if you know you are going to have time to produce a few extra of a specific product, you could discount this product solely for your subscribers, encouraging them to not only save but also to guarantee arrival before Christmas. Bonus, your production time isn't affected too terribly.
  • For you local customers offer "Free Shipping" and arrange for them to come over or meet you. 
  • During the holidays customers are more likely to purchase more lavish items, because it's just as fun to give something as it is to receive, so for items that are more "exotic" or expensive you could offer a heavier discount. Most gift items are typically between $20-$40, an offer like this would be best for items that are more in the $150 + range. 
  • Multiple item purchase discounts are great for holiday promotions. Depending on your products you could arrange this in several different ways. This option is more tangible for holiday shoppers because they see the "free" item as an extra gift. Just be sure that whatever you are giving as the freebie isn't cutting into more than 20% of your profit (or however much profit you are comfortable sacrificing). 
  • Combine offers with another shop owner and sell both items in your shops. If your friend sells frames and you sell prints you could create a combination that is cheaper than purchasing each separately. The only tricky part here is shipping, but if your friends are local then this could work really well. 

What other types of discounts and sales have you tried?

Stay tuned for our final topic:: Setting Boundaries

More from our "Etsy Seller's Holiday Guide"