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Written By Chris Boud
4 minute read

From discount percentages to BOGO (buy one get one free) offers, traditional eCommerce incentives can be effective in boosting revenue and getting rid of excess inventory. 

These kinds of offers are, however, generally only a “quick fix” and create spikes in short-term sales. If used inappropriately, they can also present problems for eCommerce retailers, from eroded profits to brand depreciation. 

The eCommerce market is expected to grow by 9.8% between 2024 and 20281. To capitalise on this growth, companies should consider taking a different approach to eCommerce incentives. It’s important to see them more as an investment into creating long-term relationships rather than simply acquiring one-time purchasers. 

In this post we’ll discuss the limitations of traditional promotional incentives, and examine how a promotions experience platform could help you develop personalised eCommerce incentive programs that encourage customers to keep buying from you.

Suggested reading: Download our free guide What winning your promotional strategy looks like for insider tips on how 14 top brands used promotional tactics to their best effect. 

Why discount-based eCommerce incentives are not working

  • Relying on discount offers too heavily can erode profit margins, especially when dealing with competitors who are continually upping their discounts. Amazon, for example, changes its product prices up to 2.5 million times a day, making it nigh-impossible to compete with them, price-wise, online2.
  • Excessive use of discount eCommerce incentives can devalue a company’s products and brand.
  • Discount-centric strategies tend to attract customers who are primarily attracted by price, which also tends to emphasise individual products over the brand as a whole.
  • Customers may become conditioned to waiting for discount deals, before purchasing, leading to a delay in sales, until offers become available.
  • Discounting often leads to a surge in sales during a promotion, which doesn’t translate into sustained customer loyalty. The “first touch” could turn into the “last touch”. This is a big problem, since acquiring a new customer is more expensive than retaining one. Especially since the cost of acquiring new customers (CAC) has risen by 222% over the past 8 years in the eCommerce industry.3

Loyalty programs are better than discounts

Loyalty programs are incredibly useful promotional tools. In contrast to discounting, they incentivise customers to stay loyal to your brand, rather than the latest deal.

Customers who are part of a loyalty program are 59% more likely to choose a brand over a competitor and 69% more likely to buy from a brand.4

Effective eCommerce incentive programs can help to foster trust and show that you value your customers. So long as you connect with customers by using the right rewards.

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Experiential rewards provide the best eCommerce incentives

Shifting from offering transactional benefits to loyalty members, to rewarding them with
experiential rewards, enables you to strengthen your customer relationships even more. 

Experiential rewards are non-cash incentives that offer customers unforgettable experiences. They’re personalised eCommerce incentives that aren’t simply built around points or discounts. They offer you the opportunity to forge an emotional connection with customers and build lifetime value. 

And when customers form positive associations with your brand, they’re more likely to stay loyal and become true advocates. Experiences are easy to share on social media, as well as with friends and family, providing a great way to boost brand awareness and credibility - since people trust recommendations from people they know. 

Tip: Experiential rewards also offer you an effective way to collect valuable data and insights into your customers’ behaviours. Using rewards-based programs technology you can gather zero and first-party data, something which is becoming increasingly important in light of the new rules around 3rd party data. 

Examples of experiential rewards include: 

Welcome gifts, gifts with orders, exclusive birthday gifts, priority access to events, or early introductions to new products. Other examples could include behind-the-scenes tours, VIP services, workshops, and travel opportunities. 

Make sure your rewards are relevant by asking customers questions about their likes and dislikes. If you discover your customers are wine enthusiasts or love to travel, offering them a winery tour, or travel deal, will have more impact than a generic untailored experience.


Case Study: Beauty Bay - Exclusive Page Access

The problem: Beauty Bay anticipated high levels of demand for their product collaboration with Nikkie Tutorials. They needed to find a way to reward existing customers and Nikkie Tutorials’ followers with early access to their eye shadow palette, before general release.

Solution: They needed to create a bespoke promotional journey that could achieve these objectives. To achieve this, they emailed unique codes to people who had signed up for early access. Uniqodo then built and deployed a gate to restrict access to the early access page. Customers could use their unique codes to unlock the gate and access the early access window just for VIP customers.

Results: 87K new customer sign ups generated prior to campaign launch and a 23% lift in revenue linked to promotional sales.

Tips for creating effective experiential rewards

Partner with other companies

By partnering up with other businesses that share a similar audience base you can provide members with unforgettable experiences. For example, if you’re a fashion retailer, you could consider partnering with a restaurant chain, to offer, for example, a “dine with the chef night”, where customers can show off their new outfits. 

Experiential rewards don’t have to be expensive

Your rewards needn’t bankrupt you: If you have a tight budget, offer early access sales, or member-exclusive products. The value of experiential rewards comes from their perceived value. Convenience, good packaging, and execution, often matter more than monetary value.


How a promotions experience platform can help you create a more effective eCommerce incentive program

70% of consumers say the promotions they receive from brands do not align with their interests and believe that this is down to outdated technology.5

A promotions experience platform can solve this problem for you and help take your loyalty program to the next level.  

  • Uniqodo’s promotions technology allows you to segment and target your best customers with tailored promotions in the form of personalised rewards and experiences, across all your marketing channels.
  • Uniqodo’s powerful promotion engine allows you to offer all types of eCommerce incentives - from free items and gift experiences to points. The ability to generate unique one-time codes that can only be redeemed once ensures that your rewards, experiences, and incentives only reach your desired VIP audience.
  • With Uniqodo, you can also easily introduce gamification into your loyalty programs to help create fun, exciting rewards that motivate customers and create a stronger bond with them.
  • Uniqodo’s promotions platform also provides you with all the tools you need to gather important insights about your customers and use them to improve your rewards-based incentives going forward. 

At Uniqodo we understand that eCommerce promotions should no longer be about simply funnelling consumers to the nearest buy button; incentives need to be focused on increasing customer loyalty and lifetime value (CLV), whilst also boosting the longevity of your promotional activities. 

Find out how we can help your eCommerce business flourish in 2024, and beyond, by booking a demo with us today. 





















1. ECommerce - Worldwide Statista

2. The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Dynamic Pricing Strategy in 2024

3. The Hard Truth about Customer Acquisition Costs

4. Coping with the Big Switch: How Paid Loyalty Programs can Help Bring Consumers Back to your Brand

5. Half of all Consumers are Bored or Frustrated by Unhelpful Personalisation from Brands

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