7 Powerful Ecommerce Promotion Ideas to Boost Your Strategy

With the rising hype around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, promotions are no longer a weekend affair. Black Friday has evolved into one of the busiest shopping times of the year, with sales lasting throughout the month of November. Some brands even start as early as October. Amazon launched its Prime Day campaign on October 11th to get ahead of the Black Friday competition, leading to over $3.5 million in sales.

With nearly every retailer looking to cash in on the approaching Black Friday sales, it is becoming increasingly difficult to capture shopper interest. The average consumer’s attention span is only 8 seconds, and you can expect an even shorter span when customers are bombarded with countless promotional campaigns. In order to stand out, you have to get creative instead of using age-old templates.

Here is our last-minute round-up of 7 refreshing examples to help you enrich your promotions:

1. Non-Monetary Incentives

Whilst most brands resort to price promotions during this period, non-monetary incentives might just be the thing to outshine your competition. Fast shipping is an example of such incentives on top of free shipping which has become the norm for the majority of ecommerce websites. For some customers, quickly receiving their online orders is even more important than free shipping. According to our global BFCM survey last year, 64% of consumers value shipping incentives when choosing an ecommerce retailer − 26% want their delivery fast, 25% want it free, and 13% want both. As shipping periods take a toll during busy times, Adidas emphasizes its expedited delivery offer throughout various ads as a key differentiator. If same or next-day delivery is possible for certain items, it’s important to highlight that in every way you can.

Sustainability is also another concern that more and more shoppers are becoming conscious of. Some brands are choosing to put their own twist on Black Friday, keeping sustainability in mind. Allbirds, a brand known for its environmentally friendly stance, developed a brand-new shoe style that was only sold for a limited time in 2021 rather than offering discounts. Back in 2020, they increased all prices by $1 as a contribution to the fight against climate change. Raeburn also addressed sustainability concerns by closing its online store during BFCM to sell and repair second-hand items in-store. Conscious brand Amour Vert, among many others, pledges to plant a tree with every purchase in an effort to give back to the environment.

Non-Monetary Incentives — Adidas and Amour Vert Examples

2. Mystery Deals & Wheels

What could be more fun than getting a surprise in your inbox every now and then? While offers on holidays are one approach to keep your customers anticipating, mystery deals can further boost engagement and create excitement toward your brand. Your promotions may be more captivating if they create a high level of anticipation.

Gamification initiatives such as spin the wheel can offer a great opportunity for your brand to connect with customers and encourage them to complete a purchase. 60% of consumers state they would spend more money if the brand offered a fun game. You can derive inspiration from video games to evoke curiosity, introduce “levels” and create a solid sense of achievement. Gamified elements can come in many different and creative forms. Loft offered its customers mysterious deals through a slot machine that provided different types of offers such as discounts and cashback. Stylewe surprised their customers with scratch cards that revealed special deals. Moreover, Bobbi Brown creates a spin-the-wheel experience with a variety of offers such as 20% off and a free gift.

Mystery Deals & Wheels — Loft, Stylewe and Bobbi Brown Examples

3. Gift Guides & Curations

The holiday season is just around the corner, and your customers might be in desperate need of guidance. Gift guides are an easy way for customers to get an idea of what your brand has in store for them during special periods. Narrowing down options to more relevant items accelerate purchasing decisions, rather than just letting them browse through products blindly and hoping something catches their eye. Since gift-giving is not only limited to holiday seasons, whether for birthdays or other special celebrations, the guides don’t have to be limited to this time of year. Helping your customers master the art of gift-giving by building promotions that address special events and provide relevant suggestions is guaranteed to create a positive impact. You can also leverage curated guides to highlight your slow-moving inventory among bestsellers.

It is best to design curations around themes that will best attract your shopper base’s attention. Everlane creates guides centered around product themes such as “grade A cashmere” or “super easy gifts”. Design Within Reach provides suggestions around personas such as “the life of the party”, “tastemaker” and “gamer”. P&Co includes recommendations for different budgets, such as “$35 and under”. Creating price range categories doesn’t always have to be for the budget-conscious, it can help lead shoppers toward your target price range as well. All in all, this is a chance to show that you understand your customer base and what they are shopping for.

Gift Guides & Curations — Everlane, Design Within Reach and P&Co Examples

4. Exclusive Special Offers

Exclusive offers can make your customers feel special by showing them you recognize their value and contribution to your brand. This usually means providing unique offers to your most loyal customers. Pioneer does this by limiting its Black Friday Sale to members only. Many brands apply the common practice of offering additional discounts based on various tiers.

Apart from customer loyalty applications, you can structure exclusive offers around any form of behavior you want to reward. Behaviors can vary from completing profile information to social activity or sending referrals. Thrive Market rewards first orders by providing a variety of free gifts such as cooking staples and supplement bundle for customers to choose from. To gain points and unlock new/exclusive perks, Native asks customers to complete tasks such as “5 points follow us on Instagram” and “5 points on your first subscription”. Such tasks and offers can stimulate additional purchases by encouraging customers to reach the next level/status and earn special perks. Providing exclusive offers can help you create that personal connection with your customers that is going to differentiate your brand from the competition.

Exclusive Special Offers — Pioneer, Thrive Market and Native Examples

5. Limited-time Flash Sales

Limited-time offers and flash sales are classic promotions used throughout the year, but also a must-have. Building anticipation beforehand and creating a now-or-never type of urgency can keep your customers on their toes and result in a successful campaign. Such sales are primarily designed to entice consumers into making impulsive purchases out of a sense of not wanting to miss out on a fantastic, one-time, temporary deal.

Puma offered customers an additional 30% off sale items that expired the next day to stimulate rapid purchases and clear out the previous season’s inventory. Harry’s creates a sense of urgency by including a countdown timer with similarly selected wording in order to nudge customers to act fast. ColourPop combines exclusive and limited-time offers by providing a flash sale to coupon-holders only, who in this case are its SuperVIP segment. Flash sales can increase transaction rates by an average of 35%, and 56% of retailers see higher click-through rates from emails promoting flash sales. Turning your promotions into a ticking bomb can help you capture your customers’ attention during the busy BFCM period.

Limited-time Flash Sales — Puma, Harry’s and ColourPop Examples

6. Early Access to Deals

Another common, yet effective staple is providing early access to offers. Offering loyal customers early access to Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals before the general public is a great strategy for increasing sales and loyalty since customers adore special treatment from the brands they support. You can leverage such deals to target your VIPs, influencers, loyalty program members, or any other priority group you want to reward.

When providing early access, it is important to include some of your highly coveted products to create a sense of exclusivityNike’s Member Days campaign offers members early access to its members-only store where new products are released before mass launch. Nike includes exclusive products such as its Air Jordan sneakers in its member store to make customers feel special. Baublebar provides 12-hour early access to VIP customers by sharing a coupon. Withings also rewards its VIP customers by offering one day before access with a VIP pass during massive campaign periods like Black Friday.

Early Access to Deals — Baublebar, Withings and Bellroy Examples

7. Next Order Benefits

Wait a minute, your big BFCM event does not have to end just yet. To continue the hype and build on the enthusiasm, you can design offers that encourage future purchases. There are many ways you can re-engage your customers, such as by providing coupons and gift cards to be applied on the next purchase, typically within a specific timeframe. During promotions, some customers may go through an elimination process, removing items to decrease their cart value. Providing next-order benefits will give such customers the nudge they need to come back for items they left behind.

Zalando offers cashback on the next orders for all new customers following their first purchase, encouraging them to come back. Doordash extends a % discount to the next two orders to urge customers to continue purchasing, as it is a high-frequency business offering food delivery. Finally, Etsy follows up on purchases with discount coupons, inspiring customers to continue browsing and to buy what they might have missed out on during the promotions campaign. Offering next-order benefits drives continuous engagement to increase the retention of customers who converted during your BFCM campaign.

Next Order Benefits — Zalando, Doordash and Etsy Examples

Final Thoughts

During November, customers are bombarded with discounts and promotions flying in every direction. Since all ecommerce players want to get a piece of the pie during this time, you must continuously hunt for new and unique ways to stand out from the competition. Understanding your customer’s needs and connecting with them through engaging and innovative offers are critical.

In a sea of offers, only well-thought-out promotions are sure to drive traffic and conversions. You need to make sure your technology is adaptive enough to handle these surges in traffic and any other unexpected circumstances. If not, even with the best promotion strategy in place, you may not be able to reap the full rewards.

Key Topics
Promotion Strategies
Gift Guides
Exclusive Promotions
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