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Ecommerce Growth

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

Online sales promotions are an old concept and often overused by retailers. Here are 31 fresh new ideas to explore to keep in mind

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

Did you know that 2/3rds of customers end up purchasing even if they weren’t planning to if they get an offer?

4 out of 5 (80%) customers end up making a first-time purchase after receiving an offer.

Sales promotion is not a new concept in the world of eCommerce. For most people, discounts, coupons, and other offers provide an enjoyable shopping experience. 

McDonald’s is famous for fast food but it is also the largest toy manufacturer in the world. In 1979, McDonald’s launched the Happy Meals which accounts for a considerable portion of McDonald’s sales. 

McDonald's has also been successful in turning the iconic Monopoly board game into a long-running and popular contest. 

Effective methods of online sales advertising help with conversions. When it comes to online sales advertising, shoddy tactics let conversions slip through the cracks.

In the end, customers enjoy promotional deals and reductions. The whole lifetime worth of a customer is what you should focus on as a business rather than just the sales from a single transaction.

The majority of eCommerce promotions have already been used to their full potential. Take a look at these 31 original concepts and put them to the test.

31 eCommerce Sales Promotion Ideas with A FRESH Twist

1. Use freebies to increase the perceived value of your deal

The "free gift with purchase" marketing is straightforward: a consumer pays a certain amount and is rewarded with a present. This promotional gift is a terrific method to get clients to spend a little extra.

But what constitutes such a gift—one that appeals to the customer while remaining cost-effective for the company?

Take a look at the ActiveSkin advertising example below.

The company gives a gel mask, which is a wonderful complement to the skincare products it sells. Many individuals would love this offer because it provides them with a small item that they may combine with other items.

Alternatively, customers can simply appreciate receiving a present.

This promotional deal was shared with visitors via a website popup by ActiveSkin. Because pop-ups could be displayed on almost any page, the popup worked well to maximize the deal's reach.

2. Offer an exclusive insider’s view to subscribers

It's no secret that most customers like a limited-time promotion.

Exclusive discounts and promotions, in addition to the actual worth of the offer, give the receiver a sense of belonging.

Consumers who receive such unique incentives simply for being a member of a specific club will feel like they've earned their prize—and will appreciate your brand's generosity even more.

Providing unique discounts and promotions encourages new signups as well.

Basically, if your non-followers are aware that following your page or joining up for your mailing list will provide them with more value, they will be more likely to do so.

Monki knows how to appreciate its subscribers. Take a look at this email they sent out to their list of subscribers:

example of sales promotion idea by Monki

Monki creates a special vibe in this email by framing their mid-season sale as a "VIP Sale" and invites you to it.

They explain why you are a VIP and why you are receiving this email as you scroll down:

Monki values your decision to subscribe to their newsletter and thanks you by giving you first access to their mid-season discount.

Returning visitors might be greeted with a special offer, which is an underutilized on-site sales marketing approach. Subscriber deals are a great example of this.

3. Run flash sales selectively with month-long intervals

Another sort of promotional bargain that emphasizes a sense of urgency is a flash sale. It's an excellent sales promotion strategy for retailers who offer a large number of things because it can help them sell more quickly.

For example:

Swanson Vitamins, for example, offers discounts of up to 50% off for only 24 hours. It's an excellent promotion for attracting both new and returning clients.

If done on a regular basis, flash sales can be a good idea. For example, depending on your preferences, your online store could offer a flash sale once every one or two months.

The effectiveness of these sales campaign concepts is dependent on marketing, regardless of how they are implemented.

Use every possible marketing medium to get the word out, because even loyal customers need a reminder now and then.

4. Determine 1 - 2 cart abandonment methods that work best for you

For eCommerce store owners, cart abandonment is a typical problem. The average percentage of cart abandonment in eCommerce is roughly 79.17%, according to Statista.

That means that someone who adds an item to their shopping cart on your website has an almost 80% chance of not purchasing it.

What's the good news?

Cart abandonment tactics provide you with a second opportunity to convert that customer.

By focusing on cart abandonment efforts, you may reach out to clients who are already familiar with your product or service and persuade them to complete their purchase.

Cart recovery tactics can be implemented in a variety of ways. Sending an automatic email alerting clients of what they're losing out on is one of the most common.

Take, for example, this straightforward solution from Primally Pure.

The email encourages customers to return and finish their purchase by reminding them that the items in their cart are popular and selling fast.

5. Rotate mystery offers among specific groups of customers

While advent calendars are one approach to elicit interest in your sales campaigns, mystery offers keep your prospects interested all year.

You may make your sales campaigns more attention-grabbing by disguising the incentive, which builds on the tension of a surprise offer.

Consider how American Eagle employs mystery offers in their email marketing:

The company publicly reveals what's waiting for you inside with this subject line, yet they keep the offer a secret.

They also add to the suspense in the email body:

With their mystery deal, American Eagle combines scarcity and exclusivity by sending you a discount code with an offer "you can only receive here."

Take note of the "Reveal Your Offer" call-to-action button, which conveys the thrill of opening a present.

Allow your imagination to go wild and you'll see an increase in traffic to your product pages.

Here’s something to get you started: 23 Proven Ways To Increase Product Page Conversions

6. Offer cashback to reduce the perceived price of the product

Many customers think that spending money is less painful when you get something in return.

It's almost as if you pay less upfront and then have more money to spend on more appealing products later on.

Nike’s site offers a good example of this:

Plus, rewarding customers in this way frequently leads to increased loyalty and revenue. This is a win-win situation for both you and your consumers. 

7. Structure loyalty programs that reward customers for engagement

Customers can be highly motivated by rewards and loyalty programs, even if they don't always pay off right away. Here are a few ideas for you to consider.

For a limited time, you could get double or triple loyalty points, which can be a terrific incentive to buy.

You could even give clients a "lump sum" of points for signing up for your loyalty program, incentivizing them to buy more than they would have otherwise.

Punch cards are another popular method that entitles clients to a special promotion after a specific number of purchases. Some establishments even give clients a little discount when they use their cards.

Take a look at Mario’s Pizzeria’s offer:

Customers will return for the benefits if you use this strategy, but you will also make enough money to cover your costs after offering discounts.

Hey, you’ll love this: 14 eCommerce Loyalty Programs Backed By Science (Examples)

8. Club your bestsellers with slower-moving products to create bundles

It's tempting to obtain more value for less money, so consider bundling your most popular or closely related services for a lower price. This is a fantastic approach to get people to talk about your company

You can also give branded gifts to existing customers and others. The more committed a customer is to your brand, the more likely they are to use branded gifts.

Who knows how many people will be aware of, reminded of, and interested in your brand as a result of this?

Bundles and branded gifts can both generate a lot of new interest in your company.

For orders exceeding €100, Respire offers Breathe Travel Kit, a product bundle consisting of two goods.

The seller is attempting to get people talking about the deal and encourage visitors to browse the product selection with this type of promotion.

This brand is employing a website popup to give another example of a sales campaign.

Popups are ideal for this type of promotion since they can be displayed for a set amount of time (the duration of the promo, for example).

9. Run Limited Time Offers with one specific pitch

Limiting your incentive with time, whether it's a discount code or free shipping, helps you convert more prospects into customers for a few reasons:

  • Limited-time offers create a sense of urgency and scarcity of supply; and
  • FOMO (fear of missing out) is triggered.

If you're holding a limited-time sales campaign, you'll want to get the word out to as many people as possible.

By telling your site visitors about your time-sensitive deals, you can achieve this goal with on-site communications.

Pura Vida is an excellent example:

The company offers 15% off your next order with this exit-intent popup in the hopes of converting you into a customer.

Pura Vida understands the impact of limited-time discounts on reluctant visitors, unlike many online companies that rely on discount coupons. That's why they include a countdown timer in their popup to encourage you to make a rapid decision.

10. Throw in free shipping to further incentivize customers

You've probably heard of the following: You want to sell more while your visitors' attention is drawn to you, but you don't want to scare them away by seeming overly salesy.

With cross-sell campaigns, you may increase the average order value of users who are in the decision stage of your sales funnel.

However, the most important aspect of this form of sales promotion is how you construct your cross-sell efforts.

If you don't want to give your stuff away, the best incentive is free shipping. It's also effective in cross-sell campaigns.

When free shipping is an option, customers are willing to pay more. This is a fantastic opportunity to boost the average order value of your clients by offering relevant products.

Tarte's cross-sell campaigns skillfully incorporate free shipping. Take a look at this email with the subject "1 + 1 = Free shipping":

If you wish to qualify for free shipping, you must order these two items together.

The key to making this campaign successful is to choose products that are frequently purchased together. Furthermore, you must use website popups to nudge users at the appropriate times.


11. Hype up brand-specific holidays with an easy-to-follow challenge

It's not every day that you come upon an opportunity to market your items without sounding pushy.

That is why you must take advantage of the holidays to position your items as the best gift options available.

While it can be challenging to capture your prospects' attention during the holidays like Christmas or Black Friday, not all holidays are as hectic.

Here's how BarkBox takes advantage of National Dog Day to provide special bargains:

example of sales promotion idea by BarkBox

Even if you've never heard of National Dog Day, according to BarkBox's email, you now know about this "most important holiday of the year."

This seasonal discount is a great example of a sales promotion because it appeals to the company's target audience.

BarkBox proposes three ways to commemorate this niche holiday after increasing demand for their products with it:

If you haven't guessed, it involves purchasing their goods (at a reduced price.)

12. Run clearance discounts with a specified end-date

Clearance discounts are a favorite of both online and offline businesses, whether it's the end of the year or you need to create room in your inventory for a new product line.

It's a good excuse to clear out your inventory, especially if you're selling seasonal items like winter clothes, pumpkin-themed candles, and Christmas decorations.

Consumers equate clearance discounts with good deal prices, thus they're effective. Furthermore, because the number of available things is restricted, it features scarcity and urgency.

In their emails, American Eagle uses this sales marketing approach. Take a look at this email with the subject line "Up to 70% off clearance:”

online sales deals by American Eagle

The corporation emphasizes the deal's exclusivity and urgency by stating that it is "3 days only" and "online only."

Then, before they're gone, American Eagle urges you to buy these last-chance items.

Take note of how the company employs scarcity to compel you to respond as quickly as possible.

13. Make social proof the cornerstone of your marketing with detailed reviews

Lack of trust is a common factor for abandoning a basket or buy. Customers may be apprehensive about the quality of your items or whether you are worth their money if your company is new.

Social proof alleviates this worry. Website testimonials are one kind of social proof, but they aren't as efficient as other sorts.

Inorganic social proof occurs when customers communicate their enthusiasm for a product or service on social media.

This shows sceptical customers that others appreciate your products enough to share about them on their own page.

People trust actual people more than brands, so if you notice someone talking about your brand, message them and ask if you can repost their remarks.

There are a few ways to do this.

For starters, you can leverage social proof like user-generated content on social media.

You can also share any product reviews or blogs from your website.

Because 84 percent of people believe online reviews, social proof is an essential component of any eCommerce marketing plan.

Okendo, for example, allows you to collect customer feedback, display recent sales activity, and even provide excellent analytics to track sales growth.

Keep Reading: eCommerce social proof: What, why & how (with proven examples)

14. Run User Generated Contests in collaboration with other brands

Don't limit yourself to Instagram posts that can be swiped.

Social media contests are a great way to engage your audience and keep your eCommerce campaign fresh. Competitions and content offer a variety of advantages. First, they pique your audience's interest by offering them the chance to win something.

Contests also enable you to encourage a large amount of user-generated content, which you can then distribute. You may even encourage consumers to @tag a friend for a chance to win, increasing the reach of your business.

Equator Coffees created a giveaway with four other brands on Instagram to increase their followings and interaction.

15. Introduce a special one-day offer for customers on their birthday

Birthdays are a great time to send a special discount coupon and encourage customers to go shopping.

Many internet merchants send out these coupons by email.

Birthday emails are extremely successful, with 481 percent greater transaction rates and 342 percent higher income per message.

As a result, many businesses send birthday emails as part of their marketing strategies.

For example, Spalding offers a birthday sale with a 20% discount at any time. Indeed, a lovely birthday bonus.

As a result, a birthday discount campaign might be a pleasant surprise for both the customer and the company.

To enhance customer engagement, use this strategy and send birthday discount vouchers to customers.

16. Run audience-specific promotions with options for outliers

This promotional offer, like all others, should have a defined target audience in mind.

It's possible you'll choose to produce a general offer for your audience on occasion, but don't make it your "default" option.

No matter the part of your audience you want to target, it must be a deliberate choice based on the campaign's objectives.

However, this does not mean you must exclude people who do not belong to your intended audience.

There are discounts available for everyone at Best Buy, even if their "Back to School" promotion is geared toward high school and college students. 

However, you do have the option of limiting who can take advantage of a specific promotion. Consider offering recurring discounts to college students, military personnel, and/or the elderly.

Alternatively, you can target clients depending on how engaged they are overall with individual offers. The following section of this article will explore how offering relevant offers to your first-time consumers, dedicated followers, and nearly-lapsed customers may help develop your brand's relationship with them even further.

17. Plan a two-week campaign for important events like Black Friday

If you want to maximize audience participation in your promotional offer, make sure it's given when they'll be most interested.

For the most part, this means taking advantage of occasions and holidays when people are more likely to make a decision to convert.

Back-to-school sales in July and August allow parents to get their children ready for the new school year in September, for example.

The same is true for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season that follows, as well as any other time of year when there is a higher volume of purchases made by consumers.

When planning non-event or non-holiday promotional initiatives, timing is critical.

In order to get the most out of your promotional efforts, you must time them strategically, whether you're conducting a two-week campaign or a 24-hour flash sale.

If you want to maximize your chances of success, you should always time a campaign to coincide with other important events.

Hey, have you seen this? 25 Creative Examples of Black Friday Deals

18. Run an exit-intent pop-up with the rules of the sale

When it comes to an eCommerce promotion, the terms and conditions help explain everything about the deal.

Ordinarily, a promotion's conditions specify:

  • Who qualifies for the discount
  • Exactly what the client must do in order to take advantage of the deal
  • The promotion's customer-facing timetable

First-time customers who spend $50 or more in merchandise by July 31 will receive a 10% discount from the company.

Exclusions, if any, are also governed by the terms. When a retailer uses an example like the one above, they might insert stipulations specifying that specific brands are exempt from the 10% discount.

Spelling out these terms and conditions in your exit-intent pop-up will also help steer some customers back to the sale. They’ll be clear on what they have to do, how easy it is to access a discount, and how to take advantage of it.

Take a look at how GAP achieves this.

19. Implement the Tier method to encourage greater purchases

Conditions such as tiers, scaling, and halts must be set before an eCommerce promotion can be created.

Using tiering, the value of a discount adjusts as the customer's spending increases. In the following illustration, Pottery Barn employs a multi-tiered strategy:

An offer can be applied numerous times (separately or simultaneously) or only to a single purchase per consumer based on its scaling definition.

This means that regardless of how many of the first items the consumer buys, they will only be eligible for 50% off the second item if they buy one or more (as long as they buy one).

However, the promotion "Buy one x, get 50% off y" implies that the consumer will receive a 50% discount on all y items when they buy x.

Stopping restricts the customer's ability to "stack" offers after they reach a certain point in the transaction.

Customers who buy one x and obtain a 50% discount on y can extend that discount to five x and y transactions, but the discount will no longer be applied to purchases after the fifth.

20. Help customers bag great deals (give them a specific set of things to do)

It's more likely that your promotional programs will overlap if you run more of them.

You must set your terms for combining and prioritizing proposals when you have several on the table.

When defining promotion combination rules, you specify whether or not a consumer can utilize the applicable offer in conjunction with another one you're currently offering.

In most cases, it's advisable to keep promotional offerings apart to avoid the plethora of problems that could arise otherwise.

In this regard, the following step is to order your active promotions by importance.

To put it another way, if there are multiple offers that apply to a certain purchase, you must choose which one will be used.

Whatever the situation, the most valuable offer should always be the one that helps you meet your business objectives while also providing the most value to your consumer.

21. Run each promotion with a singular purpose

You must know exactly what you want to achieve before you begin creating a promotional offer.

Do not give away something for free "simply to see how well it works." There are far too many difficulties and problems that can arise from taking such a careless approach.

You can narrow down your target audience and how you want to engage them by setting clear goals for your promotional campaign.

As an illustration, if your goal is to bring in new consumers, you'd present a special offer for individuals who haven't yet made a purchase.

Your company and your customers will both profit from your promotional campaigns and incentives, so be sure to have a clear goal for them.

22. Prominently display your promotion on the homepage

However tempting your promotional offers may be, without letting your clients know about them, they will not be able to take advantage of them.

Returning to the topic of precise targeting, you must make certain that your promotions have been disseminated through the appropriate channels and platforms in order to engage the target demographic.

Your promotions should be displayed in three crucial places:

  • Your eCommerce website
  • Your social media profiles
  • Your email content

Naturally, your store's online website is an excellent place to advertise your various deals:

An announcement on your social media accounts about a promotion allows you to reach out to a targeted audience and offer them deals that will appeal to them.

There are numerous ways to use social media to market your eCommerce business, like offering discount coupons to your followers, running PPC advertisements to target similar audiences, or teaming with influencers to publicize a discount campaign.

Last but not least, email gives you a direct line to your customers, allowing you to send highly relevant offers and promotions that add value to each individual customer.

Of course, there is a slew of additional methods by which your company can connect with its clients. Your objective is to discover the best ways to reach your target audience on their preferred platforms so that they not only hear about your offer but can also take advantage of it quickly and conveniently.

23. Don’t think twice about using urgency triggers

While it's critical to be honest and clear about who you are and what you do, there's no rule that says you can't create a sense of urgency to persuade prospects to buy right now.

Many consumers respond positively to incentives that generate a sense of urgency, such as limited-edition products and time-sensitive special offers.

While there are as many methods to do this as there are items to buy online, certain strategies may be more productive than others.

If you don't (or can't) produce a limited-edition product to entice prospects, consider offering a financial incentive, such as free shipping or a discount, to buyers who commit to a purchase right away.

Increased urgency is a terrific method to boost online sales, regardless of how you go about it.

24. Incentivize survey responders and improve sales

Surveys are a great way to get direct feedback from customers. It can be about your products, website navigation, or the overall shopping experience.

However, customers tend to find it tiresome and annoying to fill out surveys. 

So, if you’re running a survey, then try to incentivize it to get more responders and eventually, boost sales.   

See how My Protein ran a sales promotion on a survey:

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

25. Run discounts on your inclusive marketing efforts 

Inclusive marketing is sort of a buzzword in the eCommerce world right now. 

A study by Fast Company found that brands performed better (with a 44% stock increase!) when they factored minority groups into their messaging.

But today, it isn’t merely enough to support causes. It’s also critical that you do the work.

Many eCommerce stores are writing supportive copy, encouraging equal employment programs, and more. 

Take, for example, Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon showing appreciation for community heroes by offering them discounts. All they have to do is verify their ID to get started. 

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

26. Offer more than just ‘subscription’ discounts to improve sales  

While subscription-based models do increase revenue, it can be tough to recommend options and other products. 

Customers are also concerned that if they don’t want the products anymore, it can get complicated to cancel the subscription. Instead, they are forced to use or discard them. This can negatively affect your brand image and decrease sales.  

Therefore, while it’s great to offer discounts on subscriptions, go a step further to make it easy to access. 

Take, for example, The Patch Brand’s approach to encouraging subscriptions with clear selling points  

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

The brand offers free shipping and easy to pause, skip or cancel a subscription based on the customer’s needs. Furthermore, it lets shoppers choose from different bundles so that they can use different products through one subscription. 

27. Make the most out of affiliate marketing 

Affiliate marketing is a great way to promote your products and reach new shoppers. 

An affiliate simply chooses a product they enjoy and promotes them to their audience through different methods and earns profit for each sale that the product makes. The sales are tracked using the affiliate links from one website to another.

Aside from a high return on investment, affiliate marketing helps to grow brand awareness and improve SEO through backlinks. 

See how Martha Stewart & Maley Spoon position its affiliate program with an attractive structure. 

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

28. Reward customers who save through ‘refill’ 

If you sell products in bulk or offer product ‘refilling’ options, then offering a discount will help you boost the bottom line. 

Eco Egg even offers exclusive discounts for students who are reusing their products through ‘refills’. 

They have a dedicated landing page that outlines the core benefits of adopting the refill program.  

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

29. Value your customers with a referral program discount  

When you have a base of happy customers, it’s important to keep them happy so that they keep coming back. 

Referral programs are known to increase your customer lifetime value and business revenue.

Rebag has a dedicated landing page that encourages referrals with a strong selling point. 

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

30. Offer a discount to sign up for the newsletter 

Newsletters might seem like an old-school tactic. 

You can keep your customers updated on promotions, and the latest product releases and encourage repeat purchases. 

However, customers today understand marketing strategies and find it annoying to receive promotional emails that take up valuable space in their email accounts.  

This makes it harder to grow an email list. 

Loud Bodies has a newsletter discount campaign that you can totally replicate. 

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

Take note of how they added a security and privacy policy to assure customers their data is protected.   

You can also do lottery-style discounts to get more sign-ups, just like Living Spaces. This can help you get more details than just an email ID. 

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

31. Build anticipation with early bird rewards 

Tech and electronic brands were the first to set up pre-orders. Today, pre-orders can be set up for all types of products. 

Most eCommerce store websites have a feature to enable pre-orders on product pages. 

A pre-order campaign builds hype around the product and increases sales. It also helps to forecast demand for the products which helps stores boost their stock.  

Barnes and Noble show clever pre-order nudges on their product page.   

31 insanely powerful online sales promotion ideas for eCommerce

They have benefits such as free shipping, price anchoring, and ‘reserve now, pay later’. 

Furthermore, they add a nudge towards their loyalty program with a membership-only discount for pre-orders.


What are sales promotions?

Sales promotions refer to a marketing method that uses one-time or recurring promotions to increase the sales of an item, improve customer loyalty, or increase brand awareness.

A number of different tactics can be used in order to promote products simply by offering consumers some kind of discount, additional access, or another incentive.

Why are sales promotions important in eCommerce?

When it comes to online sales promotions, companies have the power to incite the most powerful force in human behavior: consumer HABIT.

Sales promotions can be used to bolster eCommerce sales and increase conversion rates, as well as guide prospects through the buying cycle.

Sales promotions also help build your reputation, which can lead to new customers, and develop positive reinforcement across the customer journey.

What are 5 examples of sales promotion?

Sales promotions are an integral part of eCommerce. Most commonly, companies offer discounts on their products and services to entice new customers, but there are many different types of sales promotions.

The five most popular examples of eCommerce promotions include:

  • Contests and giveaways
  • Limited Time Offers
  • Product bundles
  • Free products & free upgrades
  • Flash sales & clearance sales

Wrapping Up

Providing discounts and other promotional offers to your clients is by no means a novel marketing strategy.

Nevertheless, it's still a highly effective strategy.

In order for promotional eCommerce campaigns to succeed, you must cater to both your audience's expectations and the overarching commercial goals of your company.

As long as you keep these two factors in mind, your online sales promotion will be a huge success for your company.

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