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Top 5 Sales Promotions Ideas for Small Businesses

The most successful small business owners and managers know that sales promotions are among the most effective methods for increasing sales, fostering increased customer satisfaction, and increasing overall brand loyalty. However, deploying effective sales promotions is easier said than done. What’s worse is that the odds are stacked against small businesses.

According to recent reports, just 2 percent of sales occur on the first contact or interaction with a business. The fact is, customers have become increasingly “aware” of the most popular sales promotions and marketing tactics used by small businesses. Today, more and more consumers can see right through marketing messages. For this reason, small business owners, managers, and marketers must deploy modern sales promotions techniques to reel in new customers.

The question is – what sales promotions ideas for small businesses are most effective?

5 Amazing Sales Promotions Ideas for Small Businesses

Before we begin, what is a sales promotion? A sales promotion is any tactic used to increase sales. There are many different types of sales promotions, but the broader focus is centered around turning prospects into paying customers.

As an industry-leading retail point of sale (POS) solution provider, we’ve helped thousands of small business owners and managers pair high-value sales promotions with their POS system. With access to amazing retail POS system features, POS Nation makes it simple and easy to manage your next big sales promotion, including customer loyalty programs and discounts.

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Here are the most effective sales promotions ideas for small businesses.

1. Free Samples

There’s nothing better than a free sample, right? Try before you buy! According to recent research, 68% of consumers said that a free sample persuaded them to make a purchase. The psychology of a free sample is simple.

“Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct,” said Dan Ariely, behavioral economist at Duke University in The Psychology Behind Costco’s Free Samples. “If somebody does something for you – such as giving you a quarter of a ravioli on a piece of wax paper – you really feel a rather surprisingly strong obligation to do something back for them.”

You can use a free sample to introduce your product or service to new audiences or build high-value relationships with return customers.

2. BOGO Offers

A buy-one-get-one offer is a great sales promotion strategy. The most successful businesses and enterprises routinely rely on BOGO offers to drive sales. Again, the psychology behind the effectiveness of BOGO offers is relatively straightforward – customers feel like they’re getting one item for 100% off instead of two items priced at 50%.

Additionally, BOGO offers are a great way to move dated inventory. For example, by selling multiple products at once, slow-moving seasonal products are sold quickly.

To run your own BOGO promotion, we recommend infusing your offer with a bit of urgency. Creating a deadline for BOGO sales is a great way to incentivize prospects and customers to take action now instead of days (or weeks) later.

3. Cashback Promotions

A cashback promotion is another recognizable and popular sales mechanism available to small business owners and managers. Gotoclient describes a cashback promotion as “the option where a percentage of the product’s costs is returned.”

“If you run the right promotions or use your promotions strategically, they will increase your long-term profitability,” continues Gotoclient. “Increasing cashback promotions and reducing discount promotions is part of the equation.”

In some cases, offering too many discounts can damage your brand’s reputation. In this scenario, a cashback promotion is just another way to reward customers for their patronage.

4. Sales Discounts

It goes without saying that sales discounts are a tried and true method for driving sales. Setting up a sales discount is easy. In fact, most modern retail POS software comes pre-equipped with powerful discounting features. 

With just a few clicks, POS Nation users can create go-to discount percentages or fixed discounts. Additionally, our dual pricing, also known as cash discounting program allows owners and operators to pass along the cost savings to their customers when those customers choose to pay with cash instead of paying with a credit or debit card. 

5. Loyalty Programs

This year, a large percentage of business owners and managers will invest in loyalty programs as a means to promote their businesses and increase sales. Moreover, customers actually prefer shopping with businesses that offer high-value loyalty programs. In fact, 64% of Millenial and Gen Z customers won’t shop with businesses that don’t offer loyalty programs.

The most popular types of loyalty programs include:

  • Cashback loyalty programs
  • Points loyalty programs
  • Tiered loyalty programs
  • Free perks programs
  • Refer a friend programs

The North Face offers a great loyalty program where customers can earn VIPeak program points. Not only can customers earn points with purchases, but they can also earn points by attending events or downloading their digital app. 

“More than simply encouraging customers to spend more, The North Face’s rewards speak directly to their target consumer. They aren’t generic discounts on products – they’re curated experiences that help to build a stronger connection between consumer and brand,” said Lindsey Peacock in 10 Examples of Innovative Customer Loyalty Programs.

Power Your Sales Promotions With POS Nation

So, what solution will you invest in this year? To manage your sales promotion effectively, we recommend investing in a best-in-class retail POS system. To date, POS Nation powers more than 10,000 small businesses nationwide. With easy-to-use retail POS features, including inventory management, pain-free employee management, customer loyalty, and sales tracking, POS Nation makes it easy to improve checkout and create happy customers.


If you’re in the market for a retail POS system, our team of industry experts is here to help. In fact, POS Nation is known for having top-tier customer support and satisfaction. Additionally, with no hidden fees and zero long-term contracts, POS Nation is a cost-effective solution for growing small businesses. Are you ready to get started?

We recommend completing our simple POS system builder below. In seconds, you can build the POS system that delivers on the unique requirements of your business and customers.


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