The Future of Sales Promotions


It goes without saying that the situation that we all find ourselves in now is unexpected and unprecedented.

No-one quite knows what is going to happen next. We do know that eventually, whenever that might be (in a few weeks or months) that life will go back to normal, however, we might just find ourselves taking things a little less for granted.

New Normal?

Our shopping habits may ultimately return to how they were in February (pre-lockdown), with most people popping to the shops every few days to pick up a basket full of shopping instead of taking a large family-sized trolley once every ten days to 2 weeks. But then again they might not. It takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to be formed. As I sit here writing this, the UK is currently going to be in lockdown for 45 days (with the chance that it could be extended further) – not far off the magic number of 66 to form a habit. While shopping habits may change we also have to think about what people buy might change. Will shoppers go back to buying their old brands once pre-lockdown availability is on the shelves? Or will they have discovered a new brand that they prefer and will stick to? Will this be a supermarket own-label brand, or will this be a more premium brand?

The Future of Promotions

What do these changes in shopping habits mean for the future of promotions? It is likely for the foreseeable future that multi-purchase promotions which are popular in collector schemes will be put aside in favour of Money-Back Guarantees (such as this Asics promotion), Try Me Frees (check out this Ferrero TMF campaign), and cash prize incentives (available to be won on McDonald’s Monopoly). Cashback style promotions are much more appealing to customers when there is little to no risk of them purchasing the product and are one of the more cost-effective promotions for a brand to run too.

Promotional Prizes

Promotional prizes will change in the near future as headline experience prizes for events and theme parks are swapped in favour of physical or virtual prizes. Prizes such as Gousto subscriptions have become increasingly popular and have seen a sales spike recently, with Gousto even having to refuse to accept new customers so much so was the increase on the demand for their subscription boxes over the past few weeks. However, they are looking to increase availability as soon as possible.

Giving customers the chance to still participate and win prizes as we hopefully move forward into the recovery phase would surprise and delight those customers, especially the ones that win. The chance to win something, however, small makes customers feel excited, along with the mechanic for the promotion. Instant wins which can encompass winning moment promotions provide that immediate excitement as the customer finds out then and there if they have won. I suspect that these along with cashback style promotions will be the most popular over the next few months.

For now, we have to take comfort in the fact that things will improve and things will get better, no-one is just quite sure on that timeline but when things do improve, Mando will still be here to guide you through creating and implementing the best promotion possible.

Lauren Miles is Senior Marketing Executive at Mando and is contactable at: