11+ Best Sales Promotion Tools For eCommerce Businesses in 2021

Categories: Tools software
Updated: May 31, 2021

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Here are a few letters that consumers love. S A L E.

Successful eCommerce companies know that sales promotions are one of the most effective methods to increase revenue, boost customer satisfaction, and heighten brand awareness. Sales promotion tools have been used for decades to earn great success and, no matter the size of the product of your business, there are existing sales promotion techniques that can work well for you too.

If you know many ways to promote your online business with or without money, you won’t need to suffer from sluggish sales ever again. And I’ve created this guide to help you with that. In the article, we’re going to cover:

  • What you need to know about sales promotions tools.

  • How your online business (and customers) can benefit from sales promotion tools.

  • The different sales promotion tools with real examples for each.

You will see from classic percent-off discounts to VIP-only specials to joint promotions with other complementary businesses; there’s something for every business. So read on if you’re willing to learn how to attract more customers and earn more revenue for your eCommerce business using creative and attractive promotions.

Table of contents:

What is a sales promotion tool?

A sales promotion tool is any tactic used by an organization to increase sales or encourage the usage level of a product or service. Sales promotion tools take many different forms, but they have the same goal - persuading the target audience to become paying customers of an eCommerce business.

There are many free channels to use sales promotion tools like social media, email marketing, or your website; or you can promote them as the focal point of a paid advertising campaign. An effective sales promotion tool uses imagery, attractive copy, and logic to appeal to the values, needs, and emotions of your target customers, and invites them to buy your products or services using an incentivizing offer.

Why do you need sales promotion tools?

At first, many online businesses hesitate in offering promos and deals. They think they can shortchange the product’s quality or even self-harm the business. That would be terrible but it is not true. In reality, though, your eCommerce business definitely benefits from sales promotion tools just as much as your customers, such as:

  • Make a profit: Short-term offers create a sense of urgency and desire among consumers so your sales can increase significantly. You can end up making much more profit with sales promotion tools than you would if you were just doing business as usual.

  • Minimize risk: A balanced usage of sales promotion tools minimizes risk to your eCommerce company. As long as you’re not offering outrageous or endless deals that are not sustainable for your business, your promo tools are likely to create a win-win situation.

  • Retain customers: Sales promotion tools can also act as a long-term customer retention strategy.

  • Speed up your sales cycle: Sales promotion tools are fantastic top-of-funnel offers that can lead prospects down your customer nurture path.

11+ best sales promotion tools for your business

To get you started with promoting your products, here are x+ best sales promotion tools accompanied by real-life examples. I will also show you the business goals these tools can help you achieve. We’ll see tools that can encourage repeat purchases, boost brand awareness, and increase sales.

1. Coupons

AVADA Coupons

This tool is definitely very familiar for eCommerce businesses. A coupon is a certificate that can fetch shoppers a saving when they purchase a certain product. Coupons are often issued along with your product, entitling the holder to have a specified saving or a cash refund on an item.

Coupons are used for:

  • Promoting the sale of a product or service

  • Selling a product in large sizes

  • Introducing a new product

  • Stimulating customers to switch brands

  • Encouraging repeat purchases

There are many ways to distribute a coupon, such as door to door, inside packages, mail, or for many eCommerce sites, emails. You can also offer coupons on print materials such as catalogs, magazines, and so on.

To succeed with coupons, try to capitalize on every sales opportunity with a multi-channel marketing campaign and strategically-created landing pages. After the customer clicks through an email to find out their coupons, continue to advertise your sale items or popular products to further entice shoppers to cash in on their coupon.

Coupons are also highly effective to recover potential sales from customers who’ve abandoned their carts. Sending cart abandonment emails with our app AVADA Email Marketing may be the nudge your customers need to complete their purchases.

Explore:

2. Buy one, get one

Buy one, get one deals are among the most popular tools of sales promotions. Offering two in-demand products at a price for one and for a limited time can create a sense of urgency that is effective in boosting sales. It can also help clear stock, which is why, for businesses, this tactic is often referred to as “self-liquidating”.

The fantastic part of this is that this tool rarely costs you anything. In fact, this type of promotion is designed to increase sales.

For example, you pay $5 for a product that you sell for $20. If you offer a 50% discount, you will make only $5 from selling one product at the discounted price. However, if you offer a buy one get one promo, you can sell one item at full price. So, in the end, minus the cost for two products, you’d earn $10.

This type of sales promotion tools work well with more than just product-based eCommerce businesses. You can also use them for service-based businesses. Spas, salons, trainers, fitness centers, etc. can all offer this deal on the classes or training sessions. Since services are more time-related, you would only cost more time to earn more.

Learn more: How to create Buy One Get One Free on Shopify

3. Free samples

Free samples

Samples are one of the most important sales promotion tools. Samples are offered to consumers as a small amount of a product for a free trial. Free samples help generate consumers’ interest in the product and verify the quality of an item.

Although many businesses have to temporarily suspend this promotion tactic during COVID-19, it can still be one of the best sales promotion tools out there. By offering free samples to all in-store shoppers regardless of whether they would purchase something or not, this tactic introduces consumers to items they may not have normally considered, and oftentimes encourages them to purchase.

You can deliver samples at the doors of consumers, send them through mails, or given in person. You can also attach samples to another product. For a small business, creating and distributing samples can be quite expensive, so you should consider the cost before doing.

However, there are some cases that you should not produce samples, which are:

  • A well-established product

  • A product with a slow turnover

  • A product that is not better in some way to competing products

  • A product with a little profit

  • A fragile or bulky product

Free samples often work best with food, makeup, perfumes, and other aromatherapy products. For eCommerce products, you can add a popup on your website to let consumers sign up for free samples sent to their addresses. This is also very effective to gain new subscribers and more sales.

See how SnackNation offers an Amazon gift card with their free sample box to encourage website visitors to check out the deals in the image above.

4. Free shipping and returns

Free shipping and returns

In addition to coupons, which I’ve discussed earlier, there is another cure to reduce a ton of abandoned shopping carts. Which is Free shipping and Free returns. Free shipping helps eliminate one of the last obstacles that can prevent consumers from completing their orders. On the other hand, Free returns make the shoppers more confident in their purchases.

This is key for eCommerce because hesitation can always present, even when the customer has bought from you before and likes the products you offer. By getting rid of both common frictions for online shoppers, you can encourage more repeat purchases and sales for your business.

You can send free shipping and free return offers over email or include a popup on your website to alert visitors about the program. Also, use free shipping as a sales promotion tool to make cart abandoners make up their minds faster.

Learn more:

5. Cash refund offer

Cash refund offers are basically money sent back to the customers, allowed from the product’s price. It is an offer for consumers to receive a part of the purchase price of an item, but only for those who have a proof of purchase for the seller - which is your eCommerce store.

Many consumers don’t feel as bad about spending money on online items if they get some in return. For them, it is paying less from the start and having extra money to buy other products. For your business, it is a small price for promotion and many more customers creating accounts to buy on your eCommerce site.

Plus, refunding money often results in more loyalty and sales from customers. That is a win-win situation and a powerful sales promotion tool to use.

6. Flash sales

A flash sale often ends quickly - which creates a sense of urgency among customers to buy in a hurry. Especially when you are an eCommerce business, a lot of online sales and flash sales are one of the most effective sales strategies since online consumers are already so familiar with them.

There are two ways to try this type of sales promotion tool. First, you can do a flash sale only once or twice a year to make them special. Your deal has to be very special too, like 75% off. Secondly, you can do a flash sale on a set schedule each month so people can anticipate the event and prepare to make purchases on a short notice.

Either way, try to utilize social media and email marketing to announce the time of the flash sales for your customers. You can also create a fun branded hashtag to hype up your audience and get them to buy.

When your company joins for a good cause, such as charity or fair trade, you are using a subtle yet effective sales promotion tool which can also help humanize your brand. These are often not seen as a promotion. But, technically, they are a sales promotion tool that can benefit the business.

You can participate in a cause-related promotion at any size of business. For example, Apple has shown their enthusiasm for their red-branded products - which supports the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Your online business can make use of the same identifier and sales promotion tool. People often seek out and support brands which align with their own values. If something is important to the world and you, it may very well also be important to the customers to use your products.

8. Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs

Loyalty programs and rewards - which don’t necessarily pay off immediately - are a powerful sales promotion tool to motivate customers. You can have many approaches to this tool and make the programs suit your brand and target customers as well.

Punch cards are a famous option, which make buyers eligible for a special discount once they reach a certain number of purchases. Some businesses even offer customers a small discount every time they use the cards. For online business, you can recreate this as a roadmap for users to achieve new prizes with every milestone of purchase points.

You can also double or triple the loyalty points for a short period of time, which is fantastic for increasing sales and increasing the number of customers. You may as well offer a certain number of points for signing up for the loyalty program, which can move customers to purchase more than they would normally have.

To make sure this sales promotion tool works, you need to have enough budget to keep a good amount of profit after providing discounts for loyal customers.

In the image example above, you can see how Sephora sets up their loyalty program for both online and offline consumers, clearly stating milestones and benefits a customer can expect with their program.

Learn more: Tool to build Rewards program for Magento 2

9. Contests and giveaways

A contest or giveaway promoted on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, or any of your target audience’s social platform is a fantastic sales promotion tool to get new customers interested in your products and gain more quality followers.

For example, you can run a giveaway and require followers to comment a number and tag a certain number of friends in the comments. Or you can let them post their stories and enter to win a prize.

If you can make your existing audience excited enough about your giveaway or contest, this is basically guaranteed exposure. This tool not only increases your brand’s reach on social media, but also specifically increases awareness of your company among your ideal customer base!

Doing contests right and you can boost meaningful engagement and sales in the future. You can also use email campaigns to increase the number of giveaway’s participants.

10. Gifts or bundles

Additional value can be very enticing, so you can bundle together your closely-related or most popular products for a reduced price. This is a good way to get more people talking about your online business.

Alternatively, you can give branded gifts to existing customers or new buyers. The more loyal a customer is to your brand, the more often they’ll appreciate your branded gifts. Who knows how many prospects will find out about, remember of, and check out your company as a result?

Both branded gifts and bundles can spark a good deal of new interest among customers in your business.

Learn more: Gift & Voucher tool for Magento 2

11. Referrals

Referrals

Gaining new customers should always be on a business owner’s radar. One way to keep new customers rolling in is to give them discounts when existing customers refer a friend or promote your brand on social media. Alternatively, you can give a coupon that can be put toward a shopper’s next purchase.

In either case, you’ll have to decide if the referral is enough to earn a coupon or if the discount should only be applied after the new customer finally makes a purchase. If you want to offer a coupon regardless of whether or not they purchase anything, you should place a threshold on the times of referrals required before the coupon can take effect.

For example, let customers get 25% off their next purchase if they make three referrals. AirBnB is one of the most successful examples of this sales promotion tool, so you can look into their program for inspiration as well.

12. Joint promotions

Joint promotions

Whether your company has several brands or you partner with friendly companies in related or the same industries, you can make use of this sales promotion tool. To do joint promotions, all you have to do is bundle products from two or more brands into a package and promote it via all channels. Your partners can also promote for you, which means free promotion for both companies.

This powerful sales promotion tool can extend the reach of your brand. It increases the likelihood of reaching new potential customers and familiarizing them with your products, enough to convert in the future.

13. Spin to win

Spin to win

One of the most exciting sales promotion tools you can use in your online store is a spin to win contest that gives visitors a chance to win a prize. You can use this tool to let shoppers enter a shopping spree or earn a small reward for giving their email address.

Of course, you will have to be careful not leaving too many rewards up for grabs because that can end up costing you dearly. However, being generous in your prizes can be a powerful word-of-mouth-marketing effect. No doubt, the winner will want to share their good news and show off their goods. This type of user-generated content can put your online store on the radar of more potential customers and encourage them to check out your products and brand.

In the image above, you can see the spin to win feature inside our app - AVADA Marketing Automation. You can edit the prize, wheel design, background, and more to make it suit your eCommerce website the most.

Get Promotions tool for your eCommerce store

Choose the best app to use your sales promotion tool

As mentioned multiple times in this article, email marketing is a great channel to elevate your sales promotion tool and increase the reach to many more audiences. You can use emails to announce the promotions, update information, declare the winner, and send rewards, etc.

The number 1 email marketing app that you should use today is AVADA Email Marketing - which will help you manage all of the promotion campaigns in one place and see the necessary statistics to improve your promotion tools’ performance. Make sure to check the app out, after all, it is free to start using.

As a recap, here are 12 best sales promotion tools that you can implement with a little cost to boost your eCommerce sales:

  1. Coupons
  2. Buy one, get one
  3. Free samples
  4. Free shipping and returns
  5. Cash refund offer
  6. Flash sales
  7. Cause-related promotions
  8. Loyalty programs
  9. Contests and giveaways
  10. Gifts or bundles
  11. Referrals
  12. Joint promotions
  13. Spin to win

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