11 Smart E-commerce Promotion Ideas
With each passing day, e-commerce marketing is getting more and more competitive. The war cry can be heard from near and far. Brands are doing everything in their capacity to maximize their revenue and beat their competitors. Some succeed but there are still those who can’t stand straight in the battleground. They are literally just shooting arrows in the dark, hoping perhaps one day they’ll hit their mark.
If you are doing the same then let us tell you that it will get you nowhere. You need to have an e-commerce promotion strategy in place if you want to get somewhere. To help you kickstart, we have compiled a list of 11 e-commerce promotion ideas. So unpretzel your mind and learn all you can.
#1 Cross-Sell and Open-up your Product Inventory
When cross-selling, you’re basically recommending products that although belong to a different category, compliment your customer’s primary purchase. For example, to someone who is buying a bluetooth speaker you can easily cross-sell a case for it or if it’s a camera then recommend a camera bag, battery or lenses. Both situations are cross-selling wins!
Here’s an example of cross-selling on the checkout page of Victoria’s Secret website.
Another website that is excellent at cross-selling is Ikea. They have an inspiration section on their website where they not only recommend decor ideas but also open-up their inventory of related items.
#2 Run Flash Sale Campaigns
Through a flash sale, you can easily create a sense of urgency of time and FOMO (fear of missing out). As a result, you will not only entice bargain hunters but also be able to meet your flash sale goals, such as clearing excess inventory, getting new customers to sample you, luring loyal customers and also retargeting people who’ve already visited your website.
Even your peers agree. Monetate found that about 56% of businesses agree that flash sale campaigns perform better than regular promotion campaigns. If you are convinced on running a flash sale, we recommend you read this guide by Shopify. They list out practical tips which guarantee profitability and not just a momentary increase in sales.
#3 Go Interactive Or Go Home
The solution to eliminating your customer’s boredom is to make your product pages more interactive. When you do that you not only retain their interest throughout the buying process but also encourage a faster checkout. For example, Nike Pro 360 Fit has an interactive tool called ‘Bra Fit Finder’. Apparently, it is built keeping in mind female comfort, both in terms of their shopping experience as well as training. It delivers recommendations just like a helpful in-store salesperson would.
Warby Parker has an interactive quiz on their website that works as an interactive assistant much like how Nike’s fit finder tool.
We have another excellent example of how Brickfielder, a golfing apparel company, uses interactive elements for their products. They explain the technological materials and functional design they use to create perfect golf wear for any kind of weather and wind situations.
In all the three examples above, the one thing that is common is personalization. That is something which every customer craves. Moreover, it educates them about something which they may not have thought about otherwise.
#4 Provide FREE Shipping, Returns or Exchanges
Who will ever agree to pay an additional shipping charge? No one! This is clear from a survey conducted by WalkerSands, where 80% of customers said that they would buy a product from Amazon if they get free shipping.
In fact, in the same study 68% listed free returns and exchanges as another incentive they’d enjoy while shopping online. Here’s an example of how Hugo Boss website uses ‘free returns’ as a means of promoting their merchandise.
But providing free shipping would mean additional cost that you will have to bear. Yes, but you can actually make it profitable by doing the following:
#1 Give it to members only.
#2 Restrict it to an order purchase of a certain amount. It will subtly persuade them to buy more.
#3 Include shipping cost in your product cost.
#4 Offer it only on items where shipping cost is low and affordable.
#5 Think about package box size. Yes! You can really reduce your shipping cost just by picking the right kind of packaging.
Sample the free shipping offer on ASOS website. For only £9.95/year their customers can avail unlimited next-day or a nominated-day delivery with no minimum order value! It is indeed an exciting offer, especially for the website loyalists.
#5 Collaborate with Influencers In your Niche
With the help of influencers, you can expand your reach, increase brand awareness and promote your products. As it is, influencer marketing delivers 11X more ROI than traditional marketing. So, why not give it a fair shot? All you have to do is to decide whether your budget permits you to work with mega and celeb influencers or not. Alternatively, you could work with micro influencers who have niche expertise and are trusted for their knowledge. The next step is picking an influencer who fits your brand. Read this blog to find out how that works.
Next, you can decide on the scope of work. For instance, other than asking them to write posts you can ask them to take over your account, host giveaways and LIVE sessions either on Instagram, YouTube or Facebook etc. or even cover events. You could also ask them to create product reviews or unbox your products on social media.
#6 Hit the Bull’s Eye With Personalized Targeting
The promotion offers that are mapped to a buyer’s persona as well as the funnel stage are highly effective. According to Janrain, “74% of people get frustrated with websites when content, offers, ads, promotions, etc. that have nothing to do with their interest appear.” So, start segmenting your leads and send them offers that correspond to their demography, income group, preferences, past purchases and on-site behavior.
Let’s say a new lead signed up for a discount code. After adding a couple of items they abandoned the cart. How do you recover this lost lead?
You send them a reminder email or show them display or social media ads to encourage them to return and complete their purchase. We’d say go beyond the standard emails and take inspiration from the 14 abandoned cart email examples. One of them is right below.
#7 Reward Brand Loyalists
An academic research suggests that customers are more loyal to sales promotions than brands. Does that mean you should stop thinking about your existing customer base? ABSOLUTELY NOT! You already know, acquiring a new customer can cost up to five times more than retain one. So, instead of forgetting about them, we recommend you incentivize them with offers that are exclusively for them. We had discussed one of it earlier (free shipping) but you can do a lot more. For example, give them free goodies that correspond to their previous purchases or please them with an additional discount on already discounted products etc. You can also give them early access to new products or send special event invites. Naturally, they will talk about you in their circle. And this is a win because your loyalists are also your brand ambassadors, promoting you whenever they get a chance.
#8 Get As Many Reviews Up On Your Website
According to a survey conducted by Podium, 93% of consumers say that online reviews affect their purchasing decisions. Moreover, 82% read reviews before finally buying something and about two-thirds of consumers say they are willing to pay up to 15% more if they are assured (read: online reviews) they will have a better experience. Clearly, you should have as many reviews on your website as possible It is an excellent social proof. Besides, customers spend 31% more with a business that has “excellent” reviews.
Sample the reviews of a notebook on Etsy below.
But how do you get people to write product reviews for you? Easy.
#1 Send a simple, straightforward email asking to review the purchased product. Etsy does that and as a result, 25% of purchases on their websites get reviewed.
#2 Ask for it through an interactive email where they review the product without having to go to the website. Here’s how MailChimp’s doubled product reviews for one of their clients doing exactly that.
#3 Reward them with some points or a coupon or a mystery offer.
#4 Ask for reviews on platforms other than your website. That’s because people assess your brand actively on social platforms too.
#5 Get lazy customers to fill surveys. You can then publish the results on your blog or social media platforms. Both ways it works as a social proof that makes people take that leap of faith and buy from you!
#9 Surprise Them With Discount and Offers
People love using purchase incentives. In fact, according to a survey, up to 50% of consumers make a purchase only with a promotion. So, if you aren’t already offering people discounts then you must start right away.
Use them as a bait to increase your email subscriber database just as west elm does (see below).
In order to make sure you don’t hurt your business giving away discounts you should try bundling products. The reason it will work is that you create a perception that buying a mix of products is cost-saving. Remember: your strategy should be such that you ultimately (even after a discount) bring up the average value of products.
You can also give your customers a discount in form of ‘buy more save more’ offer. For instance, on a purchase of more than $250 they get a 25% discount.
A limited-time discount is another brilliant way of creating a fear of missing out and getting people to claim this offer.
By the way, we also found this mystery offer on Puravida’s site quite interesting.
#10 Leverage Referral Programs
Puravida has another interesting e-commerce promotion strategy. They use ‘refer-a-friend’ scheme to create brand awareness and drive traffic to their e-shop. On the surface, it is word-of-mouth marketing. Just make sure this program link is easy to spot on your website. You can add the link to your navigation, as an exit-intent pop-up or even on hello bar. Furthermore, make sure you explain the program in simple terms so that people actually sign-up for it.
Back in 2012, even Dollar Shave Club used referral marketing to launch their business. Within 48 hours of having published their video ad, 12000 people signed up for their service and by the end of the week, the number reached 25K mark!
#11 Run Contests
Contests are a brilliant way to get a word out about your brand. Not only does it excite your existing customers but also others who hear about you through social media or their friends. To further expand your reach you can partner with other brands and leave no stone unturned to get maximum people to know about it.
From soliciting photo caption ideas, a selfie with your products and trivias to naming your yet-to-launch product, the sky's the limit. Just make sure that wherever you host the contest, whether on social media or website, you clearly specify the rules and regulations and also consider the laws applicable in your country or state.
What now, guys? Which of these e-commerce promotion ideas appealed to you the most? Do let us know. We would also love to hear if it worked for you. Even if not, we would like to read your experience and keep the discussion alive.
Until then, keep experimenting!