In a competitive environment, incentives and rebates can provide a business with a much needed sales advantage. But choosing the right incentives and rebates is crucial. Incentives can motivate salespeople to add extra effort to a product or campaign, or encourage current and potential customers to make a purchase with a company over a competitor. Rebates can increase customer satisfaction, build customer loyalty, and encourage customers to try new products.
Employee incentives can include:
- Monetary or non-monetary rewards
- Additional time off
For customers, incentives might include:
- Special pricing
- Bonus merchandise
- Other special offers
It is extremely important that the incentive and rebate programs provide genuine value both for the company and the customer. A deceptive incentive or rebate campaign may temporarily increase sales, but will turn customers away in the long run. Similarly, incentives and rebates that cost the company too much will hurt the company financially long term as well. Incentives and rebates must be chosen wisely, properly implemented, and effectively tracked if they are to be successful.
Two of the most important considerations in developing effective incentive and rebate programs are:
- Know your target market – Use demographic factors, surveys, and previous buying patterns to make certain that the incentives offered will be of interest and value to your desired customers.
- Communicate effectively – Make sure that your customers know how the incentive or rebate will benefit them and that they clearly understand what the conditions are to receive the benefits. Explain the conditions in plain and simple terms or make sure they are easy to read and understand.
Once the incentive or rebate is in place, track its effectiveness against a similar item that did not have the special incentive or rebate. Determine if the sales increase justifies the expense of the program. Test several variations to find the most effective information.