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A Retailer's Guide To Product Promotion
Darren GilbertSep 18, 2023 4:45:00 PM11 min read

A Retailer's Guide To Product Promotion

When discussing retail improvements, a pivotal question emerges: "What is the key to effective product promotion?" This challenge goes further than just highlighting a product within your assortment planning strategy. The aim is to make sure your offering captures attention, resonates with the audience, and differentiates itself in a crowded marketplace.

Quote On Product Promotion

Achieving the right balance is essential, as a mismatch can lead to missed opportunities or bloated inventories. Yet, why is this harmony so crucial? Because your product mix influences customer loyalty, sales velocity, and profitability. The stakes are undeniably high.

So, how do you optimize your product promotion efforts? It begins with a deep understanding of consumer preferences, and buying behavior. By harnessing analytics and trend insights, you can tailor a product promotion approach that not only resonates but also ensures each item in your product mix has a well-deserved spot both on shelves and in consumer sentiment.

Understand Your Target Audience

Understand your target audience

Understanding your target audience is crucial for any successful product promotion. When you understand your customers and know what drives them, your assortment planning activities can be more effectively executed, ensuring a product mix that resonates strongly with your shoppers.


Demographics refer to the statistical characteristics of a specific group, such as age, gender, location, and income. By understanding these traits, your assortment planning and product promotion efforts can be tailored to deeply resonate with your primary customers.

For instance, if you run a fashion boutique in a college town, your primary demographic might be female students aged 18-24. With this understanding, promoting a product mix of trendy, affordable, and seasonally appropriate apparel would likely be more effective than pushing high-end luxury items.

Similarly, as a digital store offering software solutions for businesses, you must consider the location of your customers. If the majority are from Europe, you could set up promotional deals around events or holidays specific to that region.

Purchasing behavior

Understanding purchasing behavior goes beyond merely knowing what a customer buys. It involves exploring the how and when of their purchases to influence your assortment planning strategies. Do they frequently buy specific products together as part of their product mix? 

For example, if a customer buys a smartphone, they might also be interested in purchasing a protective case or screen guard. By recognizing this pattern, tech retailers could bundle these products at a discounted rate during promotions.

Peak buying times are another aspect to consider. A coffee shop might notice a sales spike between 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays. Knowing this, they could introduce a promotional breakfast combo during those peak hours to attract more customers.

Lastly, understanding preferred payment methods can also shape promotional strategies. In regions where mobile payment apps dominate, offering discounts or cashback on payments made through these apps can boost sales.


Every customer has unique tastes and preferences. One of the most straightforward ways to gauge these is through customer feedback and online reviews. If a particular product garners overwhelmingly positive reviews, it becomes a strong candidate for product promotion. On the other hand, critical feedback can highlight areas for improvement, aiding your assortment planning efforts in preventing future product selection errors.

For example, as a skincare brand, you might find rave reviews for your new moisturizer emphasizing its non-greasy formula. Recognizing this preference, you could launch promotions highlighting this feature, catering to your customer's likes.

Choose The Right Products

Choosing the right products

Crafting the perfect promotion often boils down to selecting the right products - the aim of effective assortment planning. By promoting items that resonate with your audience, your product promotion strategies will have a higher chance of conversion.


Capitalizing on what's already popular is a tried-and-true method in the retail world. The logic is straightforward: if a product is flying off the shelves, it has a proven track record of demand. By promoting your bestsellers, you can amplify their visibility and attractiveness while subconsciously telling your customers that your product mix covers what they want.

Imagine a bookstore that finds a particular novel consistently outperforms others month after month. By placing this book front and center with a particular discount or pairing it with a complementary item, the store can lure in even more readers, both regulars and newcomers. This is assortment planning 101.

Seasonal items

Seasonal promotions tap into timely demands. Retailers who can anticipate and meet these demands experience boosted sales. But the key here is timing. Promoting seasonal items just before the peak of their demand can generate anticipation and ensure you capture the market early in your product promotion cycle.

For example, let's consider you're a sporting goods store. As winter approaches, you might anticipate higher demand for snow sports equipment so you’d need to consider adding it to your product mix. However, instead of waiting for the first snowfall, you could launch promotions for ski gear during the fall. This early-bird strategy ensures you capture enthusiasts planning their winter getaways.

Similarly, garden centers might introduce promotions for spring-flowering bulbs in late winter, targeting gardeners eager to start their planting season.

Excess stock

Every retailer faces the issue of overstocked items from time to time. Whether it's due to over-estimation of demand or an external factor affecting sales, sitting on a large inventory can be costly. Here, promotions serve a dual purpose: they attract buyers and help clear stock.

For example, if you're a fashion retailer, you might find yourselves with an excess of summer dresses due to an unusually cool summer. By offering attractive deals or significant discounts, not only do you entice customers to make a purchase but you free up storage space for the next season's collection, streamlining your future assortment planning.

Consider Your Pricing Strategies

Consider your pricing strategies

Navigating the vast world of retail requires understanding your product mix, target audience, and pricing strategies. The right pricing model can make or break your product promotion, influencing both perceived value and actual sales. 

Here's a look at three potent strategies and how to deploy them effectively:

Discount pricing

One of the most straightforward and commonly used pricing strategies is discount pricing. By offering a product at a percentage off its original price, you can create a sense of urgency and value that drives sales.

For example, during annual sales like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, many e-commerce platforms slash prices dramatically, often leading to a significant uptick in sales. The draw? A hefty percentage off on popular items creates a rush among consumers to snag a deal before stock runs out.

However, it's essential to strike a balance. Too deep a discount might erode profit margins or devalue the product while making it too shallow might not attract the desired attention. That could lead to overstocks, which can hamper your future assortment planning strategies.


Bundling is pairing related products and offering them at a combined, discounted rate. This strategy boosts sales volume and introduces customers to products they might not have considered purchasing independently.

Consider the realm of tech and electronics. You might sell a laptop with a complementary mouse and keyboard at a rate cheaper than purchasing all three items separately. For customers, this feels like a win, getting more for less. For you, it's an opportunity to increase the average transaction value and move more products.

Loyalty programs

Rewarding repeat business is at the heart of loyalty programs. By offering incentives like points or discounts, you nurture customer loyalty while bolstering repeated sales, a cornerstone of successful product promotion strategies.

For instance, coffee shops often utilize a "buy ten, get one free" loyalty card as part of their product promotion strategy. Each purchase earns a stamp, and a fully stamped card rewards the customer with a free drink. Over time, this not only incentivizes repeated visits but also fosters a sense of brand loyalty.

Harnessing data for smarter assortment planning

In the era of big data, leveraging analytics can provide invaluable insights into what should form your product mix. These data-driven methods offer a scientific approach to assortment planning, ensuring you're not just following trends but setting them. 

By diving deep into sales data, customer feedback, and market trends, you can make informed decisions that will resonate with your target audience and elevate your product promotion efforts.

Remember That Placement Is Key

Remember that placement is key

Effective product promotion is a multi-layered strategy that goes beyond selecting the right product or pricing it attractively. It's also about strategically placing it where potential buyers are most likely to notice. 

In-store displays

For brick-and-mortar locations, the store layout and product mix are instrumental in guiding customer behavior. By strategically placing products that are part of your promotional strategy, you can maximize visibility and entice potential buyers.

  • End caps and checkout counters: Supermarkets often place promotional items or those on discount at the end of aisles or near the checkout counters. These are high-traffic areas where products get maximum visibility. For example, placing discounted chocolates or magazines near the checkout line capitalizes on impulse buying tendencies.
  • Window displays: For stores with street-facing windows, an attractive window display can lure in passersby. A fashion boutique might showcase its latest promotional items - a new summer dress or winter coat — drawing the attention of those walking by.
  • Interactive stations: Some stores introduce interactive display stations, especially for tech products. By allowing customers to try out a promotional product, like a new gaming console or smartphone, retailers can pique interest and increase the likelihood of a sale.


Online storefront

In the digital landscape, placement plays an equally pivotal role. With so many available products from which to choose, ensuring your promotional items stand out is imperative.

  • Homepage highlights: The homepage is typically the first touchpoint for online visitors. Featuring promotional products prominently here, perhaps as part of a rotating banner or a dedicated "deals" section, ensures they catch the viewer's eye instantly.
  • Sponsored items and recommendations: Platforms like Amazon use algorithms to show sponsored products based on user behavior. By strategically promoting products in these sections, retailers can target potential buyers with items they might find appealing.
  • Pop-ups and notifications: Use these judiciously to avoid annoying users. Timely pop-ups or browser notifications about ongoing promotions can redirect user attention to specific deals.

Placement is integral to the success of assortment planning and product promotion, whether you're operating a physical store or an online platform. It's about merging the art of display with the science of consumer behavior, ensuring that promotional items aren't just available, but unmissable.

Measure Your Success

Measuring success

Promotions are investments. And like all investments, it's crucial to measure their returns. Assessing the success of a promotion ensures retailers are not shooting in the dark but making informed assortment planning and data-driven decisions. 

Evaluating sales data

The most direct way to gauge the success of a promotion is through sales data. This entails a thorough analysis of product sales during the promotional period as compared to a non-promotional period.

Consider a bookstore running a week-long product promotion on a specific author's collection. By comparing the sales data of that author's books during the promotional week against the average weekly sales from the previous months, they can get a clear picture of the promotion's impact. An uptick in sales would indicate a successful campaign.

Additionally, it's essential to consider external factors. For instance, if the promoted product is seasonal, comparing sales with the same period in the previous year can provide a more accurate assessment. It can also influence your future product mix, showing you that you should either continue to include the item or remove it.

Foot traffic

For physical stores, the number of visitors or foot traffic can be a valuable metric. While not all foot traffic will convert into sales, an increase can be a positive indicator, especially when tied to specific in-store promotions.

  • Tools and technology: With technology, you have sophisticated tools like infrared sensors or video-based analytics systems that count the number of visitors entering the store.

Imagine you're a clothing retailer launching a new line and promoting it with prominent window displays. By analyzing foot traffic data, you can discern if the eye-catching displays draw more people into the store. If on a typical weekend, they average 500 visitors, but the weekend post-promotion sees 700 visitors, that's a positive indicator.

However, it’s critical to correlate foot traffic data with sales performance data. An increase in visitors without a corresponding increase in sales might indicate that while the product promotion generated interest, it didn’t necessarily resonate enough to drive purchases.

Promotions are as much about post-campaign reflection as preparation and execution. By diligently measuring success through concrete metrics like sales data and foot traffic, you can refine your strategies, making every promotional endeavor more informed and impactful than the last.


Promoting products effectively requires a blend of strategic thinking, data analysis, and consumer understanding. With the right assortment planning approach, you can not only boost sales but also enhance customer loyalty and brand reputation. Every retailer aims for that success.

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Darren Gilbert

Darren Gilbert joined in 2017 and is the content manager. He has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of Stellenbosch.