Sales promotions are a key part of running an eCommerce store. When done right, they’re highly effective at generating more transactions.
But what are they exactly, and what are some of the most effective types of eCommerce sales promotions?
Well, those are two of the questions we’ll be answering in this article.
If you’d like to grow your business by generating more sales, expanding your customer base, and increasing the amount each customer spends, eCommerce sales promotions can certainly help.
To learn more about eCommerce sales promotions and find out how to start running them at your store, this guide will get you up to speed.
Why Use Sales Promotions at Your eCommerce Store
As the name suggests, eCommerce sales promotions are promotions designed to generate more sales at your online shop.
In nearly all cases, they involve reducing the price of your products with the goal of increasing sales or benefiting your business in some other way.
However, there are many creative ways to run effective sales promotions without simply slashing the cost of your items.
Once you start exploring the different types of eCommerce sales promotions, you’ll quickly see how versatile and varied they are.
- For example, they can be run sitewide, with the goal of boosting sales in general.
- Alternatively, they can be targeted at individual products with the aim of selling more of that particular item. This makes sales promotions ideal for launching new products, clearing old stock, and helping customers find seasonal and time-sensitive goods.
- A further use for sales promotions is encouraging shoppers to spend more at your store by purchasing higher-priced items rather than buying more items.
As well as purely generating sales, you can also create sales promotions that increase loyalty, market your store to a wider audience, and help portray your brand in a positive way.
As eCommerce sales promotions come in many forms, you should have no trouble finding at least a few that are a good match for your products, business, and brand.
The tried and tested examples of eCommerce sales promotions in this guide will help you reach the specific goals of your store, whether that’s growing sales across the board, boosting the sales of specific products or product categories, or increasing the average order value.
Examples of Effective eCommerce Sales Promotions
Along with carrying out conversion-focused store improvements, sales promotions are one of the most efficient ways of selling more items.
So, if you’re ready to boost sales at your online store, here are some effective eCommerce sales promotions for you to consider.
You’ve put in the hard work. Your marketing efforts are starting to pay off. New visitors are arriving at your store.
Now it’s time to ensure those new arrivals either make a purchase or at least give you a way to stay in touch with them.
One of the best ways to do this is to create welcome offers for your new visitors.
Ideally, you’d give these visitors some kind of incentive to perform an action at your store, such as signing up your email list, creating an account, joining your rewards program, downloading your app, or making a purchase.
Popular incentives for completing these types of actions include money off their first order or free shipping. Displaying the offer in a well-designed popup ensures new visitors won’t miss their chance to save.
Research ranges on how likely customers are to make repeat purchases. But the statistics show that it pays off to work hard to gain new customers as they’re likely to make further purchases and spend more at your store.
Therefore, offering a welcome offer, such as a discount to get new visitors over the line and make a purchase, is a good investment.
Early Access Deals
Making your products available for pre-order is another effective eCommerce sales promotion technique.
Individual items with fixed release dates, such as a new move, book, or game, are ideal candidates for early access deals.
Other items, such as summer vacation packages that are available to book in the winter, as well as new clothing lines for approaching seasons, are also good candidates for early access deals.
Taking pre-orders gives you a way to forecast demand for upcoming products. This helps you order the right amount of stock. Pre-orders and advanced purchases also let you generate revenue for items that aren’t yet available now, spreading sales more evenly throughout the year.
Furthermore, if the product isn’t available now and there’s no way to pre-order or make a reservation, there’s a strong chance that the customer will leave your store and never return.
Giving visitors a way to pre-order or reserve, perhaps with some kind of incentive, makes it possible to secure the sale there and then, rather than hoping the customer will return in the future.
Due to these benefits, it can often be worth offering some sort of discount or reward for customers who book or purchase in advance or reserve a pre-order.
Time-sensitive and/or volume-based deals are a powerful way to create a sense of urgency. Doing so can encourage customers to make a purchase then and there.
Amazon uses this eCommerce sales promotional technique frequently, with daily deals that are limited by time and the number of products “claimed” or sold during that promotional period.
One way to use this sales tactic is to reduce the price of a product for a set amount of time, such as 24 hours. Displaying a countdown timer increases the sense of urgency for these types of promotions. Another approach is to create limited product runs, such as 100 copies of a specific item.
Customers will know that once the products have been sold or the promotional period ends, they’ll either have missed their chance to buy that item or make that saving.
Creating a page at your store that highlights all of the current deals can encourage return visitors by giving them a reason to keep checking back to see the latest promotions. Alternatively, you could use email to send out information on your deals or let customers request notifications for deals on specific products.
Buy More, Save More
Variations on “buy more to save more” are very popular, including buy one get one free (BOGOF) or buy four and get 10% off.
Customers are very familiar with these types of sales promotions. Due to this, they won’t need much convincing to take advantage of them, unlike some other more complicated types of sales promotions, such as cashback offers or discounts on future purchases.
You can configure buy more to save more promotions in many different ways, making them ideal for a wide range of products and offers.
Upselling and Cross-Selling
Upsells and cross-sells are effective sales promotions for encouraging customers to spend more at your store.
Cross-selling, by displaying products that complement the item the customer is currently looking at, is a great way to persuade shoppers to add more items to their cart.
Alternatively, recommending items that cost more than the product the customer is viewing is a popular way to encourage someone to spend more through upselling.
Another option is to create bundles of products that are often bought together. You could even offer a discount on the bundle. As bundles make it easy for customers to pick up all the items they need to get the most out of their new products while increasing the average order value at your store, it can be a good way to increase customer satisfaction.
Popular places for displaying upsells and cross-sells at your store include product pages, targeted popups, and the shopping cart.
Customers organically spreading the word about your business would be great. But sometimes, they need a little encouragement.
That’s where referral programs come in. By giving your customers a reward for introducing people to your store, you not only get new customers, but the rewards should encourage the referring customer to make a repeat purchase.
Referral programs can be set up in many different ways. Popular options include a money-off coupon for the new customer and the person who did the referral.
Setting up an affiliate program is a related eCommerce sales promotion method you might want to consider. With this type of program, the “affiliates” earn a commission for each sale they generate, usually by promoting your store to their online audience.
Free Gift With Purchase
Giving customers something for free is another powerful way to get them to complete their sales journey at your store. The freebie could be another product, an upgrade, or free shipping.
Again, this method can be configured in many ways. Examples include a free product for making their first purchase, spending over a certain amount, or buying a specific item.
Offering free shipping when customers spend over a certain amount can incentivize shoppers to add more items to their cart in order to qualify.
Points and Loyalty Programs
Giving your customers the ability to earn points or tokens with each purchase, which can be exchanged for a discount or free product, is an excellent way to encourage them to spend more.
Rewarding recurring, long-term, and high-spending customers via this type of program is also an effective way to make shoppers loyal to your brand.
If shoppers know they’ll earn points or get closer to receiving a free product if they buy from you instead of someone else, they’re likely to remain loyal.
Also, you can give customers the chance to opt into receiving marketing communications during the sign-up process. Loyalty programs often give you insights into customer shopping habits to help you make data-driven decisions about your business.
To find out more, including what tools to use, read our guide to the best points and loyalty plugins for WooCommerce.
Email Offers and Social Media Offers
Promoting offers exclusively on social media and/or via an email list gives visitors a good reason to follow you or subscribe.
Once you have those followers, you not only get to communicate with them and develop a connection, but the exclusive promotions you run via these channels will generate more sales for your business.
If you have inventory you need to get rid of — whether it’s taking up space, going out of season, or proving difficult to sell, running a clearance sale should help.
These clearance sales don’t just help you sell more products and generate revenue, though.
They can also introduce new customers to your brand and products. Clearance sales are particularly good at attracting those who might not have purchased your items at full price, giving you a chance to showcase your customer service and products and turn these one-time bargain-hunting shoppers into recurring customers.
Occupational or Situational Discounts
Offering discounts to those with certain occupations, such as military personnel or healthcare professionals, lets you reap the benefits of lowering your prices without reducing prices for everyone.
An alternative is to offer a discount to those in a specific situation or demographic, such as students or those over a certain age.
An added benefit of offering a discount to a specific group is that you should generate more word-of-mouth referrals as news of your promotion spreads throughout that group.
If you really don’t want to discount your prices, you can support a good cause instead. This could be a local charity or an emergency situation, with a percentage of your profits being donated.
As well as resulting in more sales, aligning yourself with certain groups or causes can also help generate social capital for your brand.
If you want to get more than increased sales from your reduced prices, offering incentivized discounts is a good option.
One example is offering a discount in exchange for customers leaving a review.
Some brands also reward customers for sharing user-generated content (UGC) on their social media accounts to increase exposure.
With the discounts leading to more sales and the reviews and publicity on social media helping you sell more items, incentivized discounts could be a key part of your eCommerce marketing strategy.
Hopefully, a few of these eCommerce sales promotions will be applicable to your store and its goals.
Along with working to improve eCommerce conversion rates, sales promotions are a powerful way to grow your business.
Just remember to use them wisely and track your results.
Too many discounts and promotions could harm your brand, and without data you can analyze, you won’t have a clear idea of what worked and what didn’t.