Quick Reference: Running a Holiday Sale

While the air outside is getting colder, the holiday sales season is heating up—which means it’s the perfect time to launch a discount code or two and entice your gift-seeking customers to shop indie.

The Big Cartel Support team has fielded lots of questions lately about discounts and promotions, so we’ve put together a handy cheat sheet on how to best use our discount code features.

How do I set up a discount code?

Easy! If you’re on a paid plan, head to the Discounts section of your admin. Click Add Discount, fill out all the details (which items are eligible for the discount? How much will customers save? When will the promotion start?) and hit Save. Check out our video tutorial to see it in action.

Pro-tip: make your code easy to remember and type out. When in doubt, something like HOLIDAYS or WINTERSALE are a safe bet.

How do I advertise my discount in my store and encourage people to use it?

There are lots of ways to get the word out about your discount code - the easiest way is to spread it around on social media. Hit up Facebook and Twitter and put together an eye-catching image or quick video to post on Instagram.

If you’ve got a mailing list, even better! Reward your inner circle of fans with a little price break. It doesn’t hurt to put the discount code in the subject line.

You can even use the export .csv feature in your Orders area to generate a contact list of your past customers and encourage them to order again. (Just make sure you’ve got your receipients’ permission and that you’re using some reputable newsletter software like MailChimp, TinyLetter, or Campaign Monitor.)

Don’t stop there, though! If your shop is on a paid plan, head to the Customize Design > Advanced section and stick a note on your shop’s built-in Home page or Cart page to really get your shoppers’ attention.

Can I offer gift cards, certificates, or store credit in my store?

Big Cartel doesn’t include any built-in store credit features, but if you use PayPal for your shop’s checkout, their gift certificate feature may be a good solution. Here's more on that.

Can I set up a code that discounts the entire order?

Sorry, no free orders through Big Cartel. PayPal and Stripe both have transaction minimums ($0.01 for PayPal, $0.50 for Stripe), so orders can’t be placed if they have a $0 total.

Can my customers use more than one discount at checkout?

No, sorry! We try to keep things as simple as possible for our users, so for now one at a time is the way to go. Your customers will likely appreciate the ease of a single discount code that gives them a great deal.

If you use PayPal Standard checkout and rely on their shipping profiles, you can always set shipping on orders over a certain amount to be automatically free, which would let customers enter a separate discount code at checkout.

Can I do a promotion where customers buy one and get one free (or get one half off)?

Since discounts can be set up for a flat rate, percentage, or free shipping discount, there’s not an exact buy one get one half off configuration, BUT: if you set up a flat-rate discount equal to all or half of the amount of the item you’d like to discount, that applies only to a specific item or category of items, it will have a similar outcome.

When I set a discount code to apply to a category of items, how does that work?

As long as the customer includes at least one item in their order from the discounted category, and the order meets the other requirements for the discount (minimum total or number of products ordered), they’ll receive that discount.

Can my customers request an item be gift-wrapped?

Sure! We’d recommend noting somewhere in your shop that gift wrapping is available, and encourage customers to use the “notes to seller” field at checkout to include their preferences. Using PayPal Standard checkout? There’s an “add giftwrap” setting you can enable in your PayPal profile’s payment preferences.

Ready, set, go!

Don’t forget you can set discount codes to begin and end at specific dates and times, or expire after a certain number of uses. Setting limits on discounts (and letting your customers know about those limits!) can really work to your shop’s benefit in encouraging a holiday rush.

As always, our mighty support fort is on hand to answer your questions, so feel free to drop us a line.

Check out our Holiday Rush Calendar to stay organized and focused during the holiday shopping season. Bookmark it!