Ecommerce Growth

31 insanely powerful online promotion ideas for eCommerce

Online sales promotions are often overused by retailers. Here are 31 fresh sales promotion examples + 8 best practices to keep in mind

31 insanely powerful online promotion ideas for eCommerce

As eCommerce business owners, I'm sure you don't need any introduction to online sales promotions.

Statistics show that:

  • 2/3rds of customers end up purchasing even if they weren’t planning to if they get an online promotion code.
  • 4 out of 5 (80%) customers end up making a first-time purchase after receiving online promotions.
  • About 93% of shoppers use a coupon or discount code throughout the year 

However, when it comes to sales promotion campaigns, shoddy tactics let conversions slip through the cracks.

Furthermore, the majority of eCommerce marketing ideas have already been used to their full potential.

That's why we have put together 31 original sales promotion examples.

Take a look to gain inspiration for your own website promotions.

31 online promotion examples 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.

A terrific method to get clients to spend a little extra.

So, what constitutes as a promotional gift? It should appeal to the customer while remaining cost-effective for the company.

Take a look at the ActiveSkin sales promotion campaigns example below.

eCommerce promotion ideas: Use freebies | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

The brand offers a gel mask, which is a wonderful complement to the skincare products it sells.

This promotional deal was shared with visitors via a website popup by ActiveSkin. As pop-ups can 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

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.

Customers who receive unique incentives simply for being a member of a specific club will feel like they've earned their prize— and will appreciate a brand's generosity even more. - Luke Perry, CRO expert, Convertcart    

Providing unique discounts and promotions encourages new signups as well.

Take a look at Monki's promotional email they sent out to their list of subscribers:

online promotion ideas: VIP sale by Monki | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples
Online store promotion ideas: VIP Access CTA | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

Monki values a shopper's decision to subscribe to their newsletter and thanks them by giving first access to their mid-season discount.

Returning visitors might be greeted with a special offer, which is an underutilised website promotion approach.

3. Run flash sales selectively with month-long intervals

Flash sale is a promotional campaign that emphasises a sense of urgency.

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

online sales promotion: Flash Sales  | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

If done on a regular basis, flash sales can be a good idea.

For instance, depending on shopping behaviors, online stores could offer a flash sale once every one or two months.

When marketed well, these sales campaigns can be effective in bringing in more sales and getting loyal customers.

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

The average percentage of cart abandonment in eCommerce is around 79.17%. This means, when shoppers add an item to their shopping cart on your website has an almost 80% chance of not purchasing it. - Luke Perry, CRO expert, Convertcart    

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

Online promotion examples: Cart recovery email | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

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:

ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

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.

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. - Mike Hale, UX specialist, Convertcart

Nike’s site offers a good example of this:

ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

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.

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

sexample loyalty program in ecommerce

Online stores could even give shoppers a "lump sum" of points for signing up to a loyalty program, incentivising them to buy more than they would have otherwise.

This way, customers will keep returning for the benefits and stores can make enough money to cover the costs after offering discounts.

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.

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 products.

sale ideas for online store: Product bundling | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples	| example of a sales campaign

9. Run limited time offers with one specific pitch

Limiting 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.

Pura Vida is an excellent example:

online promotions: Limited time offers | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

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 shoppers to make a rapid decision.

10. Throw in free shipping to further incentivize customers

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

In a promotional campiagn, the best incentive has proven to be free shipping. A free shipping feature nudges shoppers to add more to the cart increasing overall AOV rates. - Luke Perry, CRO expert, Convertcart

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

eCommerce offers ideas: Free shipping  | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples


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

Holidays are the best time to market products as the best gift options without being pushy.

While it's challenging to capture a shopper's 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 a seasonal discount as it appeals to the company's target audience.

ecommerce offers: Seasonal offers

12. Run clearance discounts with a specified end-date

For eCommerce stores, clearances are a great sales promotion campaign to clear inventory for a new product line.

Customers equate clearance discounts with discounted prices, thus they're effective. Furthermore, because the number of available things is restricted, it features scarcity and urgency. - Mike Hale, UX specialist, Convertcart

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 shop promotion ideas: Clerancr discounts

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.

Use social proof such as reviews and UGC to convince sceptical shoppers and also build authenticity.

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

14. Run User Generated Contests in collaboration with other brands

Social media contests are a great way to engage shoppers and keep eCommerce sales promotion campaigns fresh.

Contests also enable stores to create a large amount of user-generated content.  

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.

online sales promotion examples: Contests

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

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

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

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

 eCommerce promotion ideas: Birthday offer | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

16. Run audience-specific promotions with options for outliers

In this type of promotion campaign, define a specific target audience, based on the campaign's objectives.

However, this does not mean you must exclude people who do not belong to the 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. 

ecommerce website promotion ideas: Back to school 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.

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

If you want to maximize audience participation in the promotional offer, take 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 promotional campiagns, time them strategically, whether conducting a two-week campaign or a 24-hour flash sale.

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 sales 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.

sale ideas: Exit intent popup

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.

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

best online promotions: Tiered discount

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 sales promotional programs will overlap.

When defining promotion combination rules, specify whether or not a customer 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.

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

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

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.

website promotion examples: Single purpose promotion | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

Your brand 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

Returning to the topic of precise targeting, online stores must make sure promotions have been disseminated through the appropriate channels and platforms in order to engage the target demographic.

Sales 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:

online sales promotions: channels

An announcement on social media accounts about a promotion helps to reach out to a targeted audience.

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

Furthermore, email offers a direct line to customers. Email allows you to send highly relevant offers and promotions that add value to each individual customer.

23. Don’t think twice about using urgency triggers

Create a sense of urgency to persuade prospects to buy right now.

online promotions examples: Urgency trigger

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

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 stores 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 products, website navigation, or the overall shopping experience.

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

So, try to incentivise it to get more responders and eventually, boost sales.   

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

online sales promotion in marketing: Survey incentives | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

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.

Nowadays, it isn’t merely enough to support causes. It’s also critical that you do the work and show through actions. - Luke Perry, CRO expert, Convertcart    

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. 

ecommerce promotions: Inclusive Marketing discounts

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  

online shopping promotion: Subscription packs

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. 

online sales promotion techniques: Affliate Marketing

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.  

online sales promotion techniques: Refill rewards | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

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. 

sales promotion online: Referral discount

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. 

promotional ideas: Newsletter signup in exchange for discount

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. 

sales promotion ideas: Gift card popup

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 stores 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.   

promotion ideas: Early bird rewards | ecommerce marketing ideas	 online promotions	 online promotion examples

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.


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.