Sales promotions: Discover the most popular techniques and the main objectives behind them

Are you the type who can only think of a discount when you hear the word “promotion”?

Well, then you may be missing out on a ton of opportunities without even knowing it! 😉

As you’ll see, there are many different types of sales promotions that you can use in your e-commerce shop and each of them has a specific goal.

And, most importantly…

You’ll be able to design a more effective sales strategy once you grasp these differences.

Here come a few ideas, so get ready to take good notes!

👉 13 sales promotion techniques to use in your e-commerce

In this previous post, we told you about the advantages of implementing sales promotions, but here’s a brief reminder:

Of course, they will also help you get more sales, even in times of crisis when most clients think twice before navigating to your checkout page.

However, as we suggested above, not all promotions are the same nor do they have the same objective.

We’ve divided them into 4 categories for you to understand:

  1. Price promotions
  2. Giveaway promotions
  3. Loyalty promotions
  4. Brand-building promotions

Let’s go over them in more detail.

✅ 1. Price promotions

These include offers where the client buys one or more products at a reduced price. Their main goal is to drive direct sales and increase the average checkout price.

➡️  A. Discounts

A classic.

You put a product at a lower price for a given time, which activates the psychological trigger of scarcity.

This technique is effective at any time of the year, but even more so on special occasions such as Black Friday, when customers are more willing to buy (especially from the shops with the best offers ☺ ).

By the way, here’s a calendar with all the important shopping dates in 2020, in case you need it.

➡️  B. BOGOF 

Another common promotion strategy: BOGOF (Buy One, Get One Free).

That is, the customer buys one product and gets a second item for free (In addition to 2 for 1, there’s also 3 for the price of 2, 5×3, etc.)

➡️  C. Product packs

You group different products and sell them as part of a pack at a slightly cheaper price than if the items were purchased separately.

This system has several advantages:

  • It increases the perceived value: Even if it’s a small discount, having different products offered together will make your clients think of the pack as “a bargain”.
  • It simplifies the buying process: If they’re products people tend to buy together, users will find it easier to put them into their carts all at once rather than look for them separately. And, as you know, the easier it is to buy in your online shop, the better the customer experience will be, which means a higher likelihood of getting the sale. 😉

This strategy is known as product bundling, and we tell you all about it in this post.

➡️  D. Launch price

You must have seen this quite a few times.

A new product goes on sale at a reduced price to drive sales.

This will give you a slimmer profit margin but, in exchange, that new product will get more visibility.

If it’s good, word of mouth will take care of the rest.

➡️  E. Complementary products

The classic cross-selling strategy.

A customer is about to purchase a given product and while they are in your payment gateway, you offer them another product that may be of their interest.

For example, if they’ve added a swimsuit to their cart, you could tell them that there’s also a discount on flip-flops that week only.

Even if they only intended to buy the swimsuit, they won’t let the opportunity slip away. 😉

You can make the same offer via email once the purchase is finished, but it’s less effective since the customer has to go through the whole buying process again.

➡️  F. Free shipping

Something as simple as free shipping can be a great sales motivator.

Here’s a previous post where we described this strategy more in depth.

➡️  G. Discounts for returning an old model

This type of sales promotion is popular in the technology sector.

For example, “bring us your old phone and you’ll get a discount when you buy a new one”.

This system has two main advantages:

  1. It brings back old customers: In the case of cellphones, users typically change their device every two years. If they haven’t bought from your e-commerce again all that time, this type of promotion will help them remember you (and extend their lifetime value). 😉
  2. You can resell old models: In some sectors, like technology, it’s very common for e-commerce shops to have a section devoted to refurbished products.

This technique is frequently used to boost sales when a new model is launched.

✅ 2. Product giveaways

As the name suggests, it’s about giving the client something for free, either with or without making a purchase.

We’ll go through some of the most common types.

➡️  A. Free samples

Surely you’ve come across many of the typical stands offering free samples at the entrance or the aisles of a supermarket.

And you can do (almost) the same thing with your e-commerce shop. 😉

You can launch a promotion offering your customers free samples of one of your products upon request.

It’s an immediate expense, but you can complement it with an autoresponder sequence to make sure most of those free samples eventually lead to new sales. 😉

Plus, you can ask them to leave you a review in exchange for the free sample.

➡️  B. Include gifts in the package 

An alternative is to give something away with each purchase.

For example, this is a very popular strategy among magazines and other news agencies (the classic “Buy this week’s issue and take this diary home”), but it can be easily adapted to an online store.

It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but it should be unique and reflect the personality of your e-commerce.

✅ 3. Loyalty promotions

This type of promotion is aimed at getting customers to buy from you over and over again to increase your retention rate.

➡️  A. Personalized vouchers

I bet this is something you’ve seen plenty of times.

Out of the blue, you receive an offer from an e-commerce shop you bought from quite some time ago.

And it’s a voucher that’s exclusively for you. 😉

Some common reasons are:

  • Celebrating a special occasion: a customer’s birthday, perhaps.
  • Recognizing seniority: for example, you could “celebrate” the one-year anniversary of your customer first purchasing from your e-commerce shop (and this is a great opportunity to get them back if they’ve been dormant ever since).
  • Rewarding a large purchase

It’s also common to send a voucher like this to those who sign up for your mailing list to give them a little push to make their first purchase.

➡️  B. Loyalty program

It’s estimated that capturing new clients is 10 times as expensive as getting a previous client to make another purchase.

And that’s exactly why you should implement some sort of loyalty program.

Here are some ideas for you.

✅ 4. Brand-building promotions

It may sound contradictory, but direct sales don’t always have to be the main objective of your promotions.

Sometimes, you may be more interested in publicizing a new product by a little known supplier or even reinforcing your own brand image.

There are two types of promotions in this case.

➡️  A. Contests and raffles

Contests on social media are a very effective way to:

What’s more, all this can be done at little or no cost.

The only expense would be the product you give away as a prize – but you’ll get many potential customers in exchange.

Mind you, a good strategy is absolutely necessary for this. 😉

If you have any questions on the topic, here’s a post with step-by-step instructions on creating Facebook contests.

➡️  B. Discounts in exchange for mentions on social media

Here’s yet another effective way to reach a wider audience for your online shop.

A customer gets a small discount in exchange for uploading a photo of one of your products to one of their social media profiles.

An alternative to offering a discount is to reimburse part of the cost of a purchase.

👉 Are your customers aware of your latest promotions?

It may sound foolish, but this does happen.

Some online stores believe they’ll get tons of sales just by advertising the new offer on their product cards.

But how can you be sure your clients will even see that card?

That’s why, on top of letting your followers know through social media and your newsletter, our advice is for you to post a banner on the search engine of your e-commerce.

This way you can be sure that your promotions will reach even your most distracted clients. 😉

If you want to try this out in your e-commerce shop, you can click here to download Doofinder for free.

Try it for 30 days with no obligation and see how the conversion rate of your promotions goes through the roof.