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Best Ecommerce Promotions

7 Tips for Effective Ecommerce Promotions

By: Jennifer Manwarren

Last modified: 29. March 2019

When selling digital products, promotions are a great way to grow your customer base, improve relationships with current customers and boost sales. A RetailMeNot survey found that 68% of consumers were more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers online coupons or promotion codes, and 68% indicated they would likely refer friends to companies with such incentives. However, there is more to running a successful promotion than price reduction alone.

Consider these strategies to turn your next online promotion into a revenue builder:

1. Make a goal

Before determining a specific promotion, spend time deciding what you want to accomplish. For example, are you trying to reach new customers or do you hope to increase the value of each order?

Different goals require different types of promotions. Offering a free trial period or discounted download is a smart strategy to reach new customers, whereas a “buy 2, get the 3rd free” type of promotion is a good way to increase average order value.

2. Use consistent messaging

Your message is a reflection on your brand. Consistent messaging provides clarity about what the offer is and who it applies to. Make sure the content is consistent and cohesive across all communications: email, social media, display ads, landing and checkout pages. A consistent message repeated across channels will increase the odds of it sticking in consumer’s minds. It will also connect brand association to the promotion, which will instill confidence in their decision to buy and ultimately impact the purchasing decision.

3. Use segmentation to maximize results

Finding the right target market for a specific campaign can result in a greater return on investment (ROI). Segmenting customers and offering compelling promotions to fit their budget, interests and preferences will increase brand awareness and loyalty. You can segment customers by collecting user data on everything from location to preferred payment method, and products preferences—the more information you collect, the more intel you will have. Then it’s a matter of applying that data to your promotions. For example, one easy way to build customization into your campaign is by simply knowing the age of your customer and making minor changes to your promotional email campaigns such as switching out the picture to appeal to each of your demographics. Don’t underestimate how a slight change can influence your ROI.

4. Set a time limit

You’ll have greater success with promotions if you give customers a sense of urgency, and there’s no better way to create urgency than with a time limit. Shoppers don’t want to miss a great deal, so a limited time offer will encourage people to act quickly and increase the value of the product.

5. Upsell to boost revenue

Some research indicates that upselling can be 20 times more effective than cross selling online. Examples of upselling a customer with enhanced or add-on product offerings are things like product warranties or recommendations for complementary products that might interest the customer. Including an easy checkbox to include a warranty on the product page or suggestive selling in the checkout process can boost sales and encourage customers to buy more.

6. Capitalize on holidays and special events

It’s a good idea to start planning promotions around holidays and special events well in advance. The right preparation will help you capitalize on high-traffic online shopping times when customers are inclined to spend on gifts and looking for online deals, often well before the holiday hits.

This Digital River infographic on the top 7 global online shopping days include holidays like these to plan for the upcoming year:

Singles’ Day: Singles’ Day is a major Chinese holiday that takes place on November 11 every year, and is the single biggest online shopping day of the year.

Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving, this year taking place on November 28. In 2015, Cyber Monday spending totaled $3.07 billion in sales.

Valentine’s Day: More than $19 million was spent on Valentine’s Day in 2016.

7. Test, test, test

Testing to make sure your site and promotions are working correctly will ensure a customer doesn’t abandon a purchase because of a bad user experience, which not only reflects poorly on your promotion, but also your brand.

A few ways to test your promotions:

  • Be sure the promotions are running correctly. Send test emails to guarantee correct delivery, and test that links take customers to the right place.
  • Test to see if the landing and checkout pages appear correctly across all browsers on mobile, tablet and desktop.
  • Conduct a test purchase to confirm the promotion is correctly applied in the checkout flow.

Pay attention to the results of your promotion to learn what works and what doesn’t—apply these learnings to future promotions. Different types of promotions will have different effects on revenue, so it’s smart to try several kinds of promotions to determine what works best for your business.


Promotions, with a little planning and strategy, can have a significant impact on your revenue and help build a loyal customer base.


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