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Use These Insanely Effective Product Promotion Ideas to Rev Up Sales

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

To say that the e-commerce world is competitive is an understatement. According to RJMetrics, “There are approximately 110,000 e-commerce websites generating revenue of meaningful scale on the Internet.”

And that number is growing every day.

Just look at how US retail e-commerce sales are increasing.

They’re predicted to hit over $460 million by the end of 2018 and reach over $638 million by the end of 2022.

So even if you’re in an obscure niche—like selling tumbleweed for instance—you’re still going to have competition.

Just look at how many results I got when I searched for “buy tumbleweed.”

It’s a completely arbitrary example I know, but you see what I mean.

The point I’m trying to make is that to succeed in e-commerce, you need to stand out from the competition.

While there are several ways to do this including offering superior, cheaper or flat-out cooler products, one of the most time-tested is product promotion.

Although it isn’t the newest, most cutting-edge or even the sexiest tactic, it’s certainly one that works.

And when done right, it can dramatically increase your leads, sales, and revenue.

In fact, one particular study by BIA/Kelsey found, “Small businesses estimate 17.7 percent of their total business in the next 12 months will be generated by customer acquisition promotions.”

For this post, I’m going to talk about some of the most effective product promotion strategies that will make it so prospects can’t resist.

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Create a Coupon or Discount Code

Let’s start at the top.

Coupons are about as old school as it gets.

Yet this is one of the main ways that customers love to save.

Convince and Convert even reports that more than nine out of ten shoppers (93 percent) use a coupon or discount code during the course of each year.

So why wouldn’t you want to use this as a product promotion strategy?

It’s practically guaranteed to boost sales. And they’re super easy to implement.

A simple popup is a great way to grab a visitor’s attention and alert them of a coupon.

Like this…

Or this…

You can simply offer your coupon code on your homepage hero image, like this.

The best part is that you don’t need to have any serious design chops, and Sleeknote allows you to create a coupon or discount code with ease.

Send Discounts to Email Subscribers

Convince and Convert also explains that seven out of ten people reported redeeming an email discount during the previous week.

That’s way more than I would have imagined and means that for the most part people are receptive to receiving promos via email.

Here’s one I recently received from Ray-Ban sunglasses.

So if you’re creating a coupon or discount code anyway, it should be advantageous to send it to your email subscribers.

The only question is how often should you send out these promos.

Separate research from Statista found, “86 percent of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with at least monthly, and 15 percent would like to get them daily.”

By these numbers, it’s safe to say that once a month is completely fine.

Another key thing I need to mention here is relevancy.

It’s crucial that whenever you send a promotion that it’s based on something that a subscriber has a high level of interest in.

Otherwise, it’s likely to fall flat or even annoy them.

That’s why I suggest looking at data like store browsing behavior and previous purchase history when determining which specific promos to send.

Offer Free Shipping

Who doesn’t love free shipping?

There’s something incredibly appealing about the savings as well as the convenience that motivates people to buy when they don’t have to deal with the hassle of paying for shipping.

The Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 study even found, “Nine out of ten of survey participants said free shipping was the number one incentive when asked what would make them shop online more often.”

I know I’m a sucker for it.

On top of that, shipping fees are one of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment, with over 50 percent of people ditching their shopping carts when they find out about shipping fees.

So if you’re looking to move products in a hurry and crank up sales, this is a great way to do it.

But to maximize profitability and make sure you’re not losing money, you’ll typically need to set an order threshold.

Tattly, which sells fake tattoos, offers free shipping but sets parameters around the offer.

Check out this resource from Shopify for details on this.

Create Bundles

One of the best ways to increase your average order value (AOV) is by bundling where you combine multiple items at a special price.

This is a win-win when done effectively because you’re encouraging shoppers to spend more, which maximizes your AOV.

At the same time, shoppers benefit because they’re getting a great deal on products that compliment each other perfectly.

Here’s an example from a women’s clothing company where shoppers can purchase a denim shirt dress along with a pair of boots, which results in some nice overall savings.

And here’s another of a yoga companion kit where customers can get all of the items they need with one convenient purchase.

While this won’t be viable for all e-commerce stores, it can work extremely well if you sell a variety of products where a few naturally complement one another.

Another method of bundle incentivization is with consumables like Pipcorn does here.

If someone was already interested in getting complementary products, this can be a huge incentive to go through with the order.

What people appreciate is that you’ve already done the work for them. All they have to do is purchase one through a convenient order.

And here’s another little slice of advice.

You really want to drive home the fact that shoppers are getting a deal and saving much more than they would if they bought the items separately.

Therefore, it’s nice to mention the value they’re getting.

For instance, jewelry and accessories company BaudleBar mentions that shoppers are only paying $38 when building their own bracelet stack—one of their bundling options.

However, if they bought the products separately, they would end up paying $96.

This reinforces how great the deal is and decreases the chances of shopping cart abandonment.

Use BOGO Offers

Buy one get one (BOGO) is another type of promotion that most people are receptive to.

It’s especially common in retail and can work brilliantly for e-commerce stores as long as you take the right approach.

Not only is it appealing to consumers, it’s perfect if you need to move a large amount of inventory in a hurry.

But just how effective is a BOGO deal?

A report from AMG Strategic Advisors found that 93 percent of consumers have taken advantage of a BOGO free offer, 74 percent have taken advantage of a BOGO 50 percent offer and 51 percent have taken advantage of a buy one, get a different item free offer.

So it’s clear that offering a second of the same product for free is the most effective.

In fact, this is the preferred promotion for 66.1 percent of shoppers.

As AMG Strategic Advisors puts it, “shoppers want free, not cheap.”

To persuade customers even more, it’s nice to create urgency by setting a deadline.

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) serves as an added incentive, which can boost your conversion rates even more.

This brings me to my next product promotion idea.

Run a Flash Sale

BigCommerce defines a flash sale as “A discount or promotion offered by an e-commerce store for a short period of time. The quantity is limited, which means the discounts are higher or more significant than run-of-the-mill promotions.”

The primary goal is here is to use the FOMO to persuade shoppers to take action right away, which can be a big factor in impulse buying.

If someone knows that the sale will be over in a matter of days or hours, they’re more likely to purchase a product they’re interested in.

And this is important considering that many shoppers like to take their time and look around at different brands before making a commitment.

Here’s an example of this tactic in action from custom sign company BuildASign.

Here’s another from J.Crew.

What’s interesting is that flash sales can do much more than simply entice shoppers to make an initial purchase.

This technique can actually have quite a dramatic impact on the overall growth of your business.

Reuters even found that “Holiday business on Ecommerce websites specializing in limited-time or ‘flash’ sales grew at least twice as fast as for other online merchants.”

So if you’re a new online store trying to gain traction in a competitive market, this is definitely an avenue worth exploring.

The key is to keep the offer simple, offer significant savings that customers can’t find from most other competitors and quickly spread the word.

Note that paid social ads are great for accomplishing this.

Run Seasonal Sales

This is when you target certain events or times of the year and base a promotion around it.

Back to school sales are super popular.

And of course, there’s every variety of holiday sales with Labor Day being a big one.

With so many special occasions, this means that you can run a seasonal sale at pretty much any time of the year.

You’re by no means limited to the usual suspects like the Fourth of July, Cyber Monday, Christmas, etc.

It’s just a matter of choosing an angle that your customers will respond to.

Ezra Firestone of Smart Marketer discusses one particular example where he ran a sale called “The Six Year Anniversary Sale.”

He ran it for just a short period of time (four days) and kept it quite simple.

The entire thing consisted of:

  • One long-form landing page to send traffic to
  • Three sales email (two of which were the same)
  • One Facebook ad that was used for the duration of the sale

It ended up being wildly successful and brought in over $250,000 from just the three emails alone.

While obviously not every brand will have this type of success, it shows just how huge seasonal sales and can be.

It also proves that you can base them around virtually any event or occasion.

Offer Quantity Discounts

This final tactic is specifically for businesses that aim to sell more than just one product at a time.

Rather than selling just one item for full price, you give customers the option to buy two or more of the same item at a discount.

Here’s an example of a company selling tablets that allow shoppers to buy in quantities of 10, 20 or even 50+.

Death Wish Coffee has a brilliant method of quantity discounts. Their “subscribe and save model,” which gives customers a 20% discount.

If you’re looking to sell in bulk, this is a great way to encourage customers to load up.

They’re benefiting because they can get the volume of products they need in one convenient order.

And you’re benefiting because you’re able to crank up your AOV.

While this won’t be viable for all businesses, it can definitely work well for many.

Also note that there are a few ways to go about deciding on a discount with some options being a fixed percentage, a flat rate or sliding scale where the discount is determined by the number of products that are purchased.

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We’ve put together an exhaustive list of 100+ conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies our fastest-growing e-commerce customers are using to turn more website visitors into buyers (organized for your convenience.)

Conclusion

As an e-commerce store owner, you may find yourself up against some stiff competition, and trying to claim just a sliver of the pie can seem daunting.

Even with an amazing product and a killer unique selling proposition, it can be difficult.

One of the most tried-and-true yet still effective ways to gain a competitive edge is with product promotion.

It’s a strategy that companies have been using for decades to bring in new customers, increase AOV and boost loyalty.

And it works really well as long as you understand the psychology behind your customers’ buying behavior.

The specific product promotion ideas listed here are proven winners, and experimenting with some or all should help you rev up sales.

What’s the one type of promotion that motivates you to purchase above all others?

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