Sales promotion as a technique of promotion has been developed to supplement and coordinate advertising and personal selling efforts of a firm. It is any short-term incentive used by a firm to increase the sales of its product. It consists of all those promotional activities that help in enhancing sales through non-repetitive and one-time communication. It is aimed at stimulating market demand and consumer purchasing. It focusses the selling efforts on a selected small group of people. A firm undertakes sales promotion with the following objectives:-
- To introduce new products and to acquaint the customers how to use the product.
- To acquaint the customers about the utility of the product.
- To effect spot buying and to attract new customers.
- To increase sales during slack periods and to increase profits of the firm.
- To improve the public image/goodwill of the firm.
The important sales promotion methods are :-
- Distribution of free samples :- is an expensive but powerful tool of sales promotion used to gain consumer acceptance and to popularise the product. It is an effective device of sales promotion as the consumers can test the product before buying it. The sample may be delivered door to door, offered in retail stores or fairs. This device is suitable for introducing new products such as soaps, drugs, cosmetics, perfumes, tea, etc.
- Coupons :- is a certificate that entitles its holder to a specified saving or discount on the purchase of a particular product. The customers present their coupons to retailers and get the product at a much reduced price. Coupons may be issued by the manufacturers either directly by mail or through the dealers. They are also issued through newspapers and magazines.
- Premium :- is the offer of an article free of cost or at a nominal price on the purchase of a specified product. It helps to increase the immediate sales.
- Trading or bonus stamps :- are issued by retailers to customers who buy goods from them and its purpose is to increase customer loyalty. The number of stamps given to a buyer depends upon the amount of purchases made by him.
- Point of purchase materials :- include banners, signs, photos, posters and other in-store promotional tools. They are demonstrated or displayed at the place where the customer makes actual purchases as they remind them about the brand name and promote impulsive buying.
- Prize contests :- under it, consumers are given rewards for analytical or creative thinking about the products in the form of slogan writing, sentence completion, problem solving quiz, etc. It helps to create consumers' interest in the products, provide new ideas for advertising and may reveal buying motives.
- Trade fairs and exhibitions :- are an important technique of sales promotion as they have wide appeal .These helps in introducing the firms and their products to the public at large. Under this, business fims are allotted stalls wherein they display or demonstrate their products.
- Merchandising aids :- refers to the services provided to induce commercial buyers to purchase goods in large quantities. It includes training in stores layout and inventory control, advertising, product demonstration, etc.
- Clearance sale :-at reduced prices may be organised on important festivals or other occasions. Such sales attract a large number of customers and help to clear accumulated stocks.