The eCommerce market is expected to grow significantly over the next five years.1 Currently, more than 79% of people shop online at least once a month — and by 2026 24% of retail purchases are expected to take place over the internet.2
Being able to run impactful and engaging promotional campaigns is key to standing out within the increasingly busy eCommerce environment. A promotion does far more than simply advertise a product; it creates appeal, demand, and a sense of urgency.
In this article, we’ll take a close look at what types of eCommerce promotions drive success and increase sales. We’ll outline eight eCommerce promotions best practices that you can apply in your own business to create impactful promotions for your online stores.
Let’s get started!
Suggested reading: Read our free eBook, ‘The Ultimate Guide to Using Promo Codes in eCommerce Strategy’, for a comprehensive overview of running a successful discount promotion.
Types of eCommerce promotions
There are a variety of promotion types that can be used to attract new business and convert those prospects into customers. Here are a few types of eCommerce promotions you might want to consider for your next campaign:
Single-use codes: Secure and unique coupon codes that provide customers with a personal experience. These are beneficial as they can avoid the difficulties posed by bulk coupon codes and promotional codes leaking online.
Time-sensitive discounts: By setting a time limit on a promotion, you are driving customers to take immediate action. The ‘fear of missing out’ psychology is at play here, where the consumer feels they may lose out if they don’t act right away and make the purchase.
Free shipping alerts: 48% of consumers abandon their cart because of extra costs such as shipping and taxes.3 With free shipping promotions, all shipping charges are waived. This is often an effective strategy as the consumer feels as though they are receiving a great deal, not having to pay any more than what the product actually costs.
BOGO deals: A ‘Buy One, Get One’ promotion essentially encourages customers to buy more by offering a free or discounted item with a qualifying purchase. These kinds of promotions can increase cart values as customers purchase more than they normally would. They are also great for helping clear out excess inventory.
Pro tip: Read our article, ‘The 6 types of promotions: BOGO vs half off vs conditional’, to discover more promotion types and application methods.
eCommerce promotions best practices
Choosing the right type of promotion is an essential part of kickstarting your promotional campaign. However, how this promotion is delivered is similarly, if not more, important.
Let’s delve into a few best practices that you should be applying when it comes to your next promo campaign…
1) Be clear on your goals
Though this might seem like an obvious step, clearly defining the objectives of your promotion before it starts is crucial to how you then deliver it.
Your goal might be as simple as driving sales and securing new customers, or something more specific like shifting outdated stock and creating brand ambassadors. When deciding on what your goals are, make sure you keep in mind:
Who your audience is: What demographic are you aiming to target? Does this influence the type of promotion you will offer? And, most importantly, what action do you want them to take (and why should they take it)?
How long your promotion is running: The length of time a promotion is running will impact what results you can expect to see from it. For example, if you are running a promotion to perform eCommerce A/B testing, it won’t need to be as long as if you are trying to acquire long-term loyal customers.
How you are going to measure success: Make sure are thinking ahead to how you will measure promotion effectiveness. Is your focus ROI? Customer satisfaction? Or something else?
By setting out objectives from the start, you will be in the best position to monitor and feedback on promo performance while the campaign is still in progress.
2) Profile your audience
We’ve already touched on the importance of knowing who your audience is and why they might be interested in your promotion. But going one step further and profiling your audience is a great way to ensure every part of your promotion is meeting a consumer's desire or need.
Use data from your Google Analytics account or market research to understand your audience’s:
Preferences and goals
Even better if you are able to compile a distinct customer ‘profile’ that outlines all of this information in one place. Remember: profiling your customers based on their browsing data is key not just for your promotions, but also for your marketing, sales, advertising and more.
By doing this early on, you’ll be able to build a personalised marketing strategy and communicate with your audience at the right time and in the right way.
Problem: Samsung wanted to make the most of early demand leading up to Black Friday, while also shifting aged and overstocked products.
Solution: They used audience segmentation to isolate their loyal customers and engaged CRM base, and then provide them with access to an ‘early bird’ offers page. Additionally, early access subscribers were sent a unique code via email, which automatically applied the right discount to each product.
Result: Samsung was able to sell its aged and overstocked items, as well as rewarding loyal customers and acquiring new ones. 300,000 customers engaged with the ‘early bird’ campaign, and Samsung achieved a 5025% return on their Uniqodo investment.
3) Connect promotions with the customer journey
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when developing a promotional strategy is to view promotions as divorced from the eCommerce customer journey. Many eCommerce stores will create a streamlined customer journey through the use of complex website UX and UI, and then accidentally fracture this journey by adding disruptive promotional popups or banners.
The solution? Connecting promotions with the customer journey by using a Promotion Experience Platform.
Promotion Experience Platform = A promotional tool that allows you to deliver secure, single-use coupon codes in a variety of applications at the right moment in the customer journey.
With a Promotion Experience Platform, you can transform your regular promotions into promotion experiences. This will ensure:
Promotions are personalised and relevant to the user
It’s easy to understand and apply the promotion — or else it’s applied automatically
Promotions appear at multiple touchpoints to encourage code redemption
You are protected against promo code abuse thanks to secure, single-use codes
Connecting the dots between marketing, UX and promotions will help to make your promotions both more user-friendly and more effective.
4) Use a range of promotional methods
Don't limit yourself to a single promotion type. Instead, experiment with different strategies and promotional applications to keep your marketing campaigns interesting. Here, we’ve listed just a few different promotion application methods:
Product-based: Discounts or rewards are applied according to what the products are in a shopper’s basket.
Gamified: Discounts, promo codes and more are applied only at the moment of purchase based on gamified criteria (such as a ‘spin the wheel’ or mystery discount button).
Value-based: Discounts or rewards are tied to the value of products in a shopping cart. This particular application is great at boosting AOVs.
Remember that not all eCommerce promotion strategies will work with all consumers. One may be more attractive than the other, so make sure that you test your promotions on various target audiences for the best results.
As you learn which makes the biggest impact, you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.
Problem: Jacamo wanted to boost customer engagement by refreshing their email promotion campaigns. However, in order to maintain their bottom line, they needed to ensure the average discount offer remained at 10%.
Solution: Jacamo used Uniqodo’s Promotion Experience Platform to deliver mystery offers to customers via email. These helped to create a sense of urgency while ensuring average rates remained within Jacamo’s targets.
Result: There was a dramatic uplift in customer engagement and open rates, with an overall response rate of 42% for the September campaign.
5) Create custom landing pages
Custom landing pages allow you to tailor your website to a specific audience. This is generally considered best practice because, unlike generic landing pages, it makes your promotions feel personalised and engaging.
If you are running a product promotion on social media, for example, create a customised landing page that takes users from your social media channels seamlessly onto your website. This landing page can be based on user-generated content and browsing data. Customers can then move from this personal landing page to your product pages and, ultimately, to the checkout.
Measure the success of your landing page by monitoring:
Where your landing page traffic is coming from
What kinds of users are engaging with your campaign
Page click-through rates and the average time spent browsing
Remember to also optimise these pages with compelling visuals, persuasive copy, and clear calls to action to improve your eCommerce conversions.
6) Use consistent branding
46% of customers are willing to pay more to a brand they trust. Using consistent branding across your promotions will help to convey who you are and why customers should trust you with a purchase.
Remember, this needs to be consistent across all of your different promotions platforms, including:
Social media posts
This is especially important if your business is still growing and you are working to increase brand awareness. Otherwise, customers will not have a clear understanding of whether the promotion on offer is relevant and beneficial to them.
How Sky boosted underperforming campaigns with a co-branded canvas
Problem: Sky’s promo campaigns with partnership and affiliate publishers had a low conversion rate. They wanted to run an impactful marketing campaign that would get people engaged and boost overall conversion rates.
Solution: Uniqodo was used to create a streamlined onsite journey that optimised the promotions display for specific traffic sources. This included a co-branded canvas to enhance underperforming journeys and a top-of-page canvas that continued from the landing page through to checkout. Uniqodo also added basket reminders and confirmation messages to reassure customers that might have otherwise abandoned their carts.
Result: Sky saw a 68% increase in conversions, meeting and exceeding their initial targets. Meanwhile, users received a streamlined online customer experience that supported them through to the final purchase.
7) Optimise for cross-channel marketing
Almost all modern promotions use cross-channel marketing. But it’s still an important point to mention — because as much as cross-channel marketing is used, it is rarely optimised.
Customers may be able to find out about your promo campaign on social media or an external website, but if your cross-channel marketing strategy isn’t streamlined, you risk losing them at a vital moment in the sales funnel. This will prevent you from effectively retaining eCommerce customers and is likely to impact long-term profits.
Use an advanced Promotion Experience Platform to integrate your promotions across different channels with no interruption to the user journey. This platform can deliver a range of reward types and promo techniques, all using different application methods. And this can cover your:
And partner and influencer pages
Enhance customer loyalty, drive conversions, and boost your business's success with a user-centric cross-channel promotion.
8) Measure results across the funnel
Measuring the impact of your promotional campaign isn’t always easy — especially if customers are visiting your website from a variety of online channels. But it is important for assessing which promotional techniques have worked well and which should be re-evaluated.
Make sure to continually monitor the following metrics to understand how users are reacting across the whole sales funnel:
Average order values
Cart abandonment rates
Customer retention rates
If you notice a dip in any one of these areas, consider whether your promotion could be the cause. Shoppers require continual support, guidance and encouragement to reach the checkout stage. If you’re not providing this, you could be missing out on higher engagement and improved promotion performance levels.
How Avis secured and monitored their promotions, boosting engagement
Problem: Avis was struggling to engage customers in their loyalty program, and found that many turned to price comparison sites and lost interest. They wanted a measurable, easy-to-apply solution that would help them acquire new customers and assess promo performance.
Solution: Uniqodo was installed to provide secure, single-use coupon codes that encouraged new members to become loyal Avis customers.
Result: Using Uniqodo’s Promotion Experience Platform, AVIS was able to:
Easily assess performance across email and online channels
Increase profitability by stopping code leakage
Run a measurable campaign
And boost engagement by 36%
Trust Uniqodo to enhance your promotions
When it comes to promotions for eCommerce businesses, developing and streamlining customer experiences should always be your primary focus. Keep in mind that no single approach works best — and the success of your campaign will ultimately depend on who your audience is and what your promotions are offering.
By implementing these tips on how to improve your promotions, you can increase the likelihood of a successful promo campaign. This will subsequently drive traffic, boost conversions, and support your long-term customer loyalty programs.
Uniqodo’s Promotion Experience Platform helps you follow eCommerce promotions best practices at all times. With our platform, you can integrate single-use promotion codes seamlessly onto your website and deliver promotions to customers in the optimal way to ensure improved engagement and conversion rates.
Trust in Uniqodo to unlock the full potential of your promotions and take your eCommerce customer journey to new heights. Book a discovery call with us today to learn more.