Meet PickyCart 🛒, a smart sliding cart with AI-driven 🤖 upsell offers.

E-commerce Sales Promotion Ideas + 4 Tips to Run a Top Sales Promotion

Table of Contents

E-commerce sales promotion ideas are everywhere, as retailers run promotions all the time. After all, how many marketing emails do you get every week telling you about deals and discounts? Indeed, sales promotions are the most common strategy businesses use to drive their revenue. 

However, not all sales promotions are successful. In this article, we are going to take a look at some great e-commerce sales promotion ideas and examples, and explore what it takes to run a successful sales promotion. 

What is an E-commerce Sales Promotion?

In essence, a e-commerce sales promotion is anything your brand does to boost sales online. Promotions run from traditional discounts to gimmicks, such as offering free products to customers whose names start with the letter X. 

E-commerce sales promotions are also highly effective at boosting brand visibility and position. However, there is a dark side to promotions. Mainly, running too many promotions can cause customers to become accustomed to them. Customers, as a result, become overly reliant on your sales meaning they become reluctant to pay the regular price. 

What does this mean, then?

Running sales promotions must have a logic and clear strategy behind them. Otherwise, you run the risk of having customers dismiss your e-commerce promotion ideas as gimmicks. This situation may cause your brand to lose ground with competitors. 

What are the Advantages of an E-commerce Sales Promotion?

E-commerce promotion ideas are an important part of any business’s strategy. They provide brands with the opportunity to boost sales and improve their revenue. But just how important are sales promotions? Let’s take a look at the following stats to illustrate the point.

According to Hawk Incentives Research:

Also, consider these facts:

With these figures, it’s hard to ignore just how powerful sales promotions can be. The challenge, however, is to know how to run promotions. Brands that have amazing e-commerce promotion ideas can reap the benefits of boosting their sales revenue while consistently delivering value to their customers.

Grow your sales with high-performing deals.

Examples of E-commerce Sales Promotion Ideas that Work Every Time

There are lots of different types of e-commerce sales promotion ideas you can offer, based on your overall sales strategy. Here are some examples of sales promotions that work time and time again:

#1: BOGO sales promotions

BOGO discounts are a great way to increase your average order value (AOV) and sell more products. A BOGO works by giving your customer two products for the price of one. There are also lots of different variations of a BOGO discount you can offer as well – such as buy two, get one half-price, or buy three products and get a free gift. 

examples of sales promotions

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

BOGO deals can be extremely effective when added to your product pages, because you can tailor the deal to the specific products your customer is viewing. 

For example, if your customer is viewing jeans, you can offer a similar style, or a different wash, as a BOGO example alongside the jeans your customer is currently viewing. The e-commerce promotion idea above uses a similar strategy with shirts.

#2: Referral discounts

Another e-commerce sales promotion idea is referral discounts. Customers can be tentative to leave their contact details on your website. However, if you offer a discount, you may find that your customers will leave not only their own contact details, but also the email address of a friend! 

Referral discounts, where your existing customer gets a discount when a customer they refer to your store makes a purchase, are a great way of rewarding your existing customers and keep them coming back to your store. 

e-commerce sales promotion examples

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

Referral discounts are a great strategy for brands of all sizes, but they can be particularly beneficial for brands looking to grow their audience. With the rising costs of customer acquisition, referral discounts is an affordable way to expand your customer base and email lists – don’t overlook this e-commerce sales promotion idea for your store.

#3: Free shipping offers

E-commerce customers know that one of the disadvantages of buying online is shipping costs. Many customers gravitate towards stores that offer free shipping. If it makes sense to your store, subsidizing shipping costs for your customers is a great e-commerce sales promotion idea. 

Additionally, setting an order value threshold and making shipping free over that value is a great strategy for increasing your average order value. Free shipping has become an almost ubiquitous e-commerce promotion idea in recent years.

sales promotion ideas e-commerce

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

In the sales promotion example above, sustainable clothing brand Tentree offers free shipping for orders over $50. This encourages many of their customers to add an additional product to their order to ensure they qualify for the free shipping minimum – an effective strategy for generating more revenue from each customer. 

#4: Special offers for subscribers

Encouraging customers to sign up to your emails isn’t easy, but it can be very effective to market to customers using this platform. One great way to encourage customers to sign up is to offer a special promotion or reward for signing up. 

Even just a small reward can encourage customers to sign up, and then you can market your future promotions, offers, new products, and more to these customers. 

ecommerce promotion best practices

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

This promotion of course boosts your mailing lists, which can be great for future sales. It’s also an effective way of encouraging new customers to finally make their first purchase – a real win win! 

#5: Post-holiday promotions

We always think about the holiday season as a great time to run sales and promotions. However, running promotions after the holidays is also highly effective. Customers may seem this as a great time to buy themself a gift, or may have some extra holiday money for spending. 

shopify sales promotion ideas best practices

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

Playing on the fact that your customers might not have received the holiday gifts they actually wanted is a great way to encourage buyers to splurge on a treat for themselves. 

#6: Exclusive coupon codes

Shoppers love coupon codes (trust us). Sending a unique code to your customers encourages them to make a purchase (or at least visit your store) when they otherwise not have been considering it. It’s important to remember not to overdo coupon codes – customers may come to expect or rely on them. 

ecommerce best practices sales promotions

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

This specific example offers a substantial discount – 50% off is a deal that’s hard to turn down. Plus, it makes customers aware right away that they can use the discount on anything – storewide discounts are great as they don’t limit customers. 

#7: Gift card promotions

Gift cards are another great option around the holiday season – especially for shoppers who have left things too late for their orders to be delivered by Christmas. Offering customers a gift card for themselves, when they purchase a gift card for someone else, is basically giving store credit rather than a discounted product, which can bring better returns for you.

sales promotion ideas for ecommerce stores

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

Gift cards encourage customer loyalty, because it’s a great incentive for customers to come back to your store after an initial purchase. Plus, a gift card value that’s below the price of most of your products means that customers will still spend extra money when they come back to use their gift card. 

#8: Bundle promotions

Bundles are a great way of increasing your average order value, and also making shopping easier for your customers. Customers will be more inclined to purchase a bundle if a small discount is added, and you will sell more products in the process. 

ecommerce promotion ideas

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

Bundles are a highly strategic sales promotion idea, and can be a great way to move slower-selling products (by bundling them with best sellers or popular products). Selling pre-made bundles are also a great way to ensure customers hit a minimum order value (to cover shipping costs, etc.). 

#9: Birthday promotions

Customers love to feel special, and they also love personalized emails that they feel are tailored just to them. Remembering your customers’ birthdays (and sending them a special offer) is a nice way to help your customers feel more connected to your brand. 

marketing promotion ideas ecommerce

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

Offering your customers a discount for their birthday week or month is a great way to put your brand back in the minds of your customers. Even just a small incentive or discount can be enough to encourage your customers to visit your store, and can also increase brand loyalty. 

#10: Cart abandonment promotions

Cart abandonment is a huge problem in e-commerce, and sometimes using a promotion can help curb the issue in your store. For example, offer customers a small incentive to complete their purchase, such as 5% off their order, or free shipping. 

ecommerce sales promotion best practices

What are the advantages of this sales promotion? 

Cart abandonment promotions can be important for converting sales. They are effective both as popups (in the example above) and also when emailed to your customers after a couple of days to remind them of their cart contents. 

4 E-Commerce Promotion Best Practices

Now that we’ve looked at some successful e-commerce sales promotion ideas you can implement, it’s time to start thinking about your own promotion strategy. It takes time and effort to make sure your sales promotion is successful, but it’s worth it when you see the results of your campaigns. 

Here are four tips and e-commerce promotion best practices you can use to get your promotion up and running. 

#1: Plan, plan, plan!

When you fail to plan a sales promotion, you neglect to set up how to run a promotion effectively. Generally speaking, there are three main steps to consider when planning a sales promotion:

1. Set objectives.

2. Determine the type of promotion.

3. Choose when to run the promotion.

In particular, most e-commerce sales promotion ideas are ineffective when they happen too frequently. It’s one thing to run regular promotions such as monthly clearance sales. However, it’s a completely different situation when you run too many daily promotions, such as multiple flash sales. 

#2: Don’t expect your products to sell themselves

Alright, you’ve planned your e-commerce promotion ideas carefully and chosen the right time. So, now it’s time to sit back and wait for the sales to roll in, right?

Well, not so fast.

Even great items at great prices don’t necessarily sell themselves. So, here are three strategies you can use to urge customers to follow through on purchases:

1. Use scarcity

2. Embrace social proof

3. Invest in cross-channel selling

sales promotion ideas for e-commerce

You can see here, Amazon does a great job utilizing social proof (reviews) and scarcity. They encourage the customer to act quickly and make a purchase by showing the customer that there are only 16 products left in stock. This is hugely impactful and is a great tactic when it comes to running your own sales campaigns. 

#3: Make sure you set clear goals

Effective sales promotions begin with clear targets and expectations. Moreover, your targets must be realistic and consistent with your brand’s performance. For instance, ambitious goals such as doubling sales in a moment may be unrealistic.

Typical metrics include:

You can choose to use as many metrics as you wish to measure your promotion’s success. The important thing is to set a baseline and use it to gauge your success. Afterward, you can review where your promotion succeeded or failed. Then, you can determine what tweaks you may need moving forward.

#4: Keep your customers guessing

There is nothing wrong with giving your customers a heads up about future promotions. In fact, there is nothing wrong with running regular promotions. For instance, running a monthly clearance sale is a great way to clear out stock. However, becoming too predictable may take the luster away from your sales.

So, what is the perfect antidote to predictability?

Flash sales!

Flash sales help build anticipation in customers. They help keep your customers on their toes because they never know when to expect them. Specifically, flash sales build anticipation because they leverage the element of surprise.

e-commerce sales promotion ideas often uses flash sales to encourage users to upgrade

Thus, your brand must use the element of surprise whenever possible. Running flash sales depends on using them when customers least expect them. If you run a flash sale every Thursday, customers will quickly get wise to it. Therefore, your flash sales won’t be so surprising.

If you plan on running a weekly flash sale, alter the days in which you run them. For example, your flash sale could happen on a Wednesday one week and then on a Monday the next. Ideally, your flash sales should keep your customers guessing. When done right, a flash sale (i.e., secret discount code, coupon, buy-one-get-one-free) will help you boost your sales significantly.

How Can PickyStory Help You Run a Top Sales Promotion?

PickyStory is the go-to option for complementing your sales promotions. Once you have decided on the best approach for your sales promotions, PickyStory allows you to create product deals like bundles, kits, shoppable galleries, and combo products to suit your customers’ needs and wants. 

sales campaign examples

Create product deals with discounts on specific items, or use PickyStory’s coupons to offer storewide discounts for your customers. Choose where to display your deals and offers (on product pages, in the cart, on your home page, as popups, and more), and track the performance of your deals with PickyStory’s analytics dashboard.

With PickyStory, you can bring the following benefits to your sales promotions:

With a solid sales strategy and PickyStory, you have everything you need to run a successful sales promotion. 

Grow your sales with high-performing deals.


Back to top

Schedule a demo to learn more about PickyStory's e-commerce conversion platform

By entering your email, you agree to receive marketing emails from PickyStory.

Trusted by the fastest-growing
e-commerce brands

vertical logos

Get the Step-by-step Ultimate Guide for Bundles [2023]

Get the Step-by-step Ultimate Guide for Bundles [2023]


Get matched with the right partner. PickyStory will do all the work to connect you with one of our awesome partners.

Trusted by the fastest-growing
e-commerce brands

vertical logos

See PickyStory in Action


Convert more visitors into buyers with PickyStory's e-commerce conversion platform

By entering your email, you agree to receive marketing emails from PickyStory.

Trusted by the fastest-growing e-commerce brands