Incentives in the right situation are supposed to encourage customers to make a purchase. However, they have long since stopped accepting every offer. In times when almost every online shop offers “exclusive voucher codes” or “special discount campaigns”, consumers are becoming increasingly choosy. At the same time, incentives in online shops have the potential to be the decisive influencing factor for the conversion. How do online merchants set the right purchase incentives to offer customers the best possible added value? We answer this question in this article.
What is an incentive?
An incentive is used to trigger a defined behaviour by the recipient, in the online shop the customer. In e-commerce, the incentives are used to attract and retain customers and are part of the marketing strategy.
The methods for incentivising are numerous. From gifts and vouchers to customer cards and bonus programs, there are different ways for online merchants to set purchase incentives in a targeted way. Not all of them are suitable for every online shop and a discount code should not always be the first choice. Many incentives also lose their effectiveness over time and should be constantly reconsidered.
Incentives in e-commerce:
- Discounts/ Vouchers
- Offers (take 3 and pay 2)
- Price reductions
- Free delivery
- Gifts, e.g. when a minimum order value is reached
- Preferential delivery
How incentives convince customers
Customers usually make purchase decisions subconsciously and emotionally. The right external incentive at the right time can trigger an impulsive purchase decision. Although the visitor did not initially want to buy the product, an external incentive such as discounts, special offers or even time pressure due to artificial scarcity makes him or her buy the item after all.
On the one hand, the incentive is perceived as so attractive that the risk of not using it outweighs the risk of buying it. On the other hand, a rational decision can also lie behind the decision, if the customer calculates his advantages factually. Both cases are conceivable and both times the incentive leads to a positive result – the customer buys. How can an effective incentive be created?
The importance of incentives in e-commerce
In times when competition is increasing and products have strong similarities, online shops need solutions to stand out from the market. One method of marketing strategy is the creation of incentives in an online shop. Visitors today have high expectations and want to enjoy the best service: an all-round feel-good package when shopping online, including the most attractive benefits.
Customers want personal added value with an incentive and usually want to receive it immediately. A study shows that around 78% of respondents want to receive an incentive immediately. Common channels through which incentives are played out are popups and emails.
The other results of the study show that incentives pay off. 75% of respondents said they view companies that offer them incentives more positively. An impressive 69% find personalised rewards particularly valuable, which leads us directly to the next point of successful incentives: individualisation.
More conversions with individual incentives
Customised incentives are personalised to the visitor and thus increase effectiveness, but they can also lead to missed conversions if they are played to the wrong audience. Why? Quite simply, there are different motives depending on the visitor. A price-sensitive customer can be won over with a voucher, while visitors in need of service respond to an advantage in the form of a service offer.
Vouchers that are played out randomly, result in many missed sales because the spread in this case is too large, or they senselessly reduce the value of the shopping cart because the customer wanted to buy anyway. However, those who display an individual incentive at the right time really make effective use of the power of incentives.
How to incentivise by target group
In the following, we have compiled an overview of the different target groups to consider when incentivising.
Target group: price-sensitive visitors
Price-sensitive visitors are focused on the best deal and the cheapest bargains. Accordingly, effective incentives are voucher codes. Another option is to offer free shipping. It is important to the target group to save money. The incentive can be given in % or €.
Target group: exclusive visitors
Visitors of an online shop who attach importance to preferential treatment will quickly become aware of exclusive memberships. They are best won over with the opportunity to become part of a customer base that benefits from a variety of advantages. Memberships can be free or paid, depending on the model. Both work as an incentive to buy if the customer recognises their added value.
Target group: fearful visitors
Another special target group is customers who are afraid of losing something, such as the best price or not being able to get a product because stock is low. In both cases, the incentive is focused on avoiding a loss. Incentives in the online shop can be used here, for example, a price reduction in combination with an artificial shortage. This leads to the customer preferring to buy quickly in order not to miss out on the best price.
Target group: visitors in need of service
Many customers are looking for specific products that offer a solution to a problem. If they find a wide range of products, the need for advice and help is a priority. Frustrated visitors who would have liked to buy the product but cannot find any service options quickly become shopping cart abandoners. In this case, service offers are the right incentive in the online shop. Access should be as simple and versatile as possible. Email, WhatsApp, telephone, live chat, video consultation – the faster, the better.
Target group: existing customers
It is not only the acquisition of new customers that is important for an online shop with incentives. Incentives can be used just as profitably for the retention of existing customers. For this purpose, a newsletter can be used to create incentives for existing customers with suitable incentives at regular intervals. Here, too, individualised incentives are more efficient.
Conclusion: Identify customer needs for effective incentives
Incentives are a promising way for online shops to attract customers and retain existing customers. They are especially efficient if they are individually tailored to the target group. Smart software solutions such as those from uptain automatically recognise the needs of customers and play out the right incentives. If visitors are about to abandon a purchase, the probability of winning them back is significantly higher with customised incentives. The same can be said for the generation of newsletter subscribers.
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