Becky Lawson

PPC: How to stand out without a merchant promotion

After looking at how Black Friday, Boxing Day and January Sales increased conversions for many clients pushing promotions, we wanted to see if other variables could help those who, for many reasons, can’t push discounts.

Promotion Restrictions
We all know there are huge benefits to using Merchant Promotions and that many users enjoy the feeling of being savvy and getting a “special offer”.
However, in the lead up to the Black Friday weekend we found that some clients were resistant to using Merchant Promos. They either didn’t have the margins to offer competitive promotions, didn’t want to use a discount code or were restricted by the brand themselves.

What’s the alternative?
Looking forward to future sale days, e.g. bank holidays, we need a way for clients who are unable to offer big discounts to still capitalise on increased traffic and attract conversions.
Communicating free shipping is an easy surefire way to get in the good books of any user. Luckily for us, Google introduced automated extensions for product listing which Google says the testing has shown better click-through rates on ads, making it easier to implement.

Free Shipping vs Discount Promotions by Demographic
However, an interesting blog from last year discusses how different demographics respond to discounts vs free shipping. It highlights how consumers aged 46-75 want free shipping the most and consumers aged 56-65 are the biggest age group in favour of free shipping at 35.5%.
While most consumers find free shipping important, the perceived value varies by age. The Alix Partners study found that free shipping is especially important for shoppers in the 35 to 44 age group. Some 78% of respondents in that age category said free shipping was a very important factor in their purchasing decision, compared to about half of respondents overall. Free shipping was least important among consumers aged 18 to 24. Even so, according to Parcelhub, 63% of respondents in that age group did say free shipping had an influence on their buying decisions.

In practice
For clients with an average demographic of males over 40, free shipping is a huge selling point against other suppliers selling their brand. Additionally, implementing a minimum spend ensures average order value remains high, consistently remaining above £150 each month.
Comparatively, those targeting a younger female demographic and offer no free delivery or promotions saw average order value increase YoY by only 4%.

Going forward
Clients targeting an older demographic but unable to offer significant discounts can provide free shipping to take advantage of this and high traffic levels over the sale period. To combat lost margin, minimum order spend can be enforced to qualify for the offer.

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