The Top 10 Most Popular Types of Sales Promotions

By Team AmeriCommerce - Updated On 5/28/2020

When it comes to promotions for your ecommerce store, how can you be sure you’re getting it right? Do you struggle for ideas on what you should do and when? We’ve put together a list of 10 popular sales promos to help steer you in the right direction…

1. Discounted products

Adding a discount to your products is possibly the most popular type of promotion. Customers love to grab a bargain, so it makes sense to offer discounts every now and then. When it comes to deciding the way you choose to promote - % vs $ - think about what will look more attractive to the buyer. Always consider your bottom line and be sure to not constantly have a sale, as people will just come to expect this as the norm.

  • Make sure your discount is attractive
  • Consider your bottom line
  • Don’t do it too often

2. Free Shipping/Free Returns

According to this WalkerSands infographic, 80% of consumers would be more tempted to buy from Amazon if they were offered free shipping. 66% would buy if they were offered next-day delivery and 64% said they would buy if they were offered free returns. Free shipping and returns gives the customer a sense of security that they wont lose out if they wanted to send the product back.

If you are worried about your margins then you can always incorporate the shipping cost into your product, or think about offering free shipping when a customer spends over a certain amount.

  • Free shipping/free returns creates customer security
  • Makes it hassle free
  • Incorporate shipping cost into your product

Download our FREE Ebook 'Top 10 Best Sales Promotions of all Time'
Which features 10 Case studies of Top Sales Promotions in Action

3. Flash Sale

A flash sale is basically an offer that only lasts for a limited time and it’s a great way to create a sense of urgency for the customer to buy. Many retailers are now adopting this strategy as a way to sell more products and get rid of surplus stock. Monetate found that 56% of businesses agree that flash-sale campaigns are better received than regular campaigns. The more successful flash sales are ones that don’t last very long and 50% of purchases occur during the first hour of a flash sale.

  • Market your flash sale with a recognizable visual
  • Put a shorter duration on your sale
  • Promote via email and on social

4. Buy More, Save More

This kind of deal entices the customer to buy more of your stock, so it’s kind of a win, win. There will be plenty of potential customers visiting your store that want to buy, but feel guilty because of the price. Giving them a discount if they spend more, may just give them a little shove in the right direction. You don’t have to offer a huge discount, but make sure it’s attractive enough to convert visitors.

  • Entices the customer
  • Takes away the guilt of spending more money
  • Helps to sell more stock

5. Product Giveaways/Branded Gifts

Let’s be honest, everyone loves a freebie so this really is a great promotion. Not only does it give potential customers the chance to test out your product, but also it entices people to buy your stuff! If your product isn’t something that you can giveaway, then think about creating some useful branded gifts that you can offer with each purchase. Think along the lines of keychains, bumper stickers, magnets, pens etc. Customers will appreciate the gesture and will think of you whenever they see their branded gift.

  • Lets customers test your product
  • Makes your brand memorable
  • Provides value and a reason to buy

6. Loyalty Points

Rewarding your customers will help you build a solid base of loyal fans and it will entice people to shop more at your online store. Providing great customer service is so important to the success of your business, and offering a loyalty point system is a popular promotion. You could think about setting up a virtual card: The customer can gain points every time they buy and then use their points to get money off future purchases, or if they buy 9 items, they get the 10 th free.

  • Builds a loyal customer base
  • Provides better customer satisfaction
  • Provide them with a loyalty system to keep coming back

7. Coupon Giveaway

This is a different way of promoting discounts. Sending your customers virtual coupons will make the promotion seem more exclusive and will give the customer more of a push to visit your online store. Think about sending coupons to loyal customers that have spent over a certain amount. You could also consider sending coupons to visitors that have experienced bad customer service, to try and convert them back to happy customers!

  • Makes the promotion seem exclusive
  • Keeps the customer happy
  • Offers a great way to win back disgruntled customers

8. Competitions

The great thing about running a competition is that you only have to give away one thing, but you gain so much – making it a popular type of promotion! It will not only help raise your profile, but every person that enters, will then become an email contact that you can try and convert into a sale. If they’re entering your competition, chances are they are interested in your products, so running a competition is a great idea – particularly for start-ups.

  • Great way to gain email sign ups
  • Helps you raise your profile
  • It will create a buzz on social media

9. Price Match Promise

Price match promise has fast become one of the most popular ways to promote your brand, particularly if you have a lot of competitors out there. It allows your customers to shop with you and will be safe in the knowledge that if they can get it cheaper somewhere else, you’ll refund the difference. There’s nothing to lose for them and it means that you still get to keep a solid customer base.

  • Helps you stay ahead of the competition
  • Provides a no lose situation for the customer
  • It’s a bold move that will build loyal customers

10. Holiday Promotions

There is a reason that holiday promotions are so successful. Customers always like to spend more around the holidays, making it the perfect opportunity for you to get your brand out there and sell more products. You don’t have to go too crazy on your offers, but enticing customers with slight discounts will always work in your favor. It’s also the perfect time to get creative with your promotion and use the theme of the holiday, to sell your products.

  • You don’t need to offer huge discounts
  • Get creative with your promotions
  • You will sell more during the holidays

We hope this has given you some ideas when it comes to running your own promotions. Let us know how you get on, you can share your thoughts on Google+, like us on Facebook, send us a tweet on Twitter, or simply give us a call - we’d love to hear from you!

Download our FREE Ebook 'Top 10 Best Sales Promotions of all Time'

About the Author

Team AmeriCommerce

We're a bunch of nerds, a few cat people, several musicians, numerous gaming addicts, countless beard aficionados, and possibly a hipster or two. Since 2005 our team has been building one of the world's most powerful E-Commerce platforms designed to do stuff other platforms can't.

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March 26, 2014 9:21 AM
Free shipping and or free returns will your business. It is a dumb idea marketing people have been selling to merchants since 2000. It just costs way too much for small business. On the other hand, quantity discounts work very well for our websites. Also having a phone number for customers to call on every page will make money year after year.
Justin McCullough (Store Admin)
March 26, 2014 11:15 AM
Yeah, I agree free shipping has the potential to kill a small business. That decision needs to be wisely calculated. We can thank Amazon for creating an expectation of free shipping years ago when they dropped all advertising and used those same funds to provide free shipping. It was an aggressive and costly play that disrupted the industry big time and it paid off - for them. But not all businesses have the margins and business model to support free shipping and if that's the case, they need to find better ways to monetize and promote. Excellent points on quantity discounts and making sure to keep an accessible and visible phone number. That's great advice!
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