Want to dominate your niche, boost sales, maximize profit, and prevent non-moving stock? These sales promotion examples will help you with just that. And not just help with the peak holiday season marketing – but all year round.
The key is ensuring you are not only using the right promotion strategy from the get-go but knowing how to optimize on- and off-site promotions with digital marketing.
In this post, we will take you through everything you need to do just that. How? By highlighting the best promotion types for eCommerce, presenting winning real-life examples for each, and giving you the right PPC tools and tips to optimize performance with digital marketing.
Already know which specific sales promotions examples you’re looking for? You can skip through to the right section here:
Best Promotion Types for eCommerce
Let’s get started.
Seasonal Sales Promotion Examples
The most crucial promotion type for all online retailers are seasonal sales and campaigns. Not just for clearing older inventory before changing seasons but boosting sales and increasing revenue.
Yes, tailoring campaigns to the specific season is a no-brainer. To really drive sales promotion activity and conversions and to meet profit goals, seasonal campaigns need to be adjusted and tweaked to match specific segments with the best promotional type for conversion success.
Pro Tip: To ensure maximum success for holiday sales promotions, you will want to make sure you are using the right sales promotion tool or techniques. These include:
- Product sampling or free samples
- Free gifts
- Reward points
Let’s look at some successful examples of seasonal sales and campaigns and dive into insights on how eCommerce brands can optimize them to peak performance.
1. Sitewide Black Friday Flash Sales
One of the most important times of the year for having the right sales promotion and PPC optimization strategy is over Black Friday. This can either be in the form of an on-site coupon deal, or a specific discount applied to the entire store. The latter is particularly popular for apparel brands.
Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s a study from 2021 that found that sitewide promotions were the most popular, resulting in more sales promotion activity in 2019 and 2020.
Here’s a sitewide Black Friday sales promotion example from ABLE. As you can see, their email highlights sitewide discounts and early access deals for Black Friday.
Another brand that has had a lot of success with sitewide Black Friday sales is the print-on-demand apparel brand, Any Means Necessary. The key to their success is strategic automated PPC campaigns on YouTube, Facebook, Google, and Instagram that target new audiences and previous traffic.
Here are some examples of the ads they ran last Black Friday, with the help of Traffic Booster optimization to maximize their promotions and drive potential shoppers and current customers to their store.
2. Seasonal Countdown Sales Promotions
Combining anticipation with seasonal campaigns can also be used to boost promotion conversions. They are also a great way to increase awareness and reach brand-new shoppers so that you can retarget them closer to the time.
Here’s a Father’s Day sales promotion countdown example from Harber London.
Email is not the only place for sales promotion countdowns. eCommerce stores can also use tools like Drip to create seasonal-theme promotion countdown popups. For example, here’s a countdown to a Halloween collection launch.
And how to optimize these sales promotions with PPC? By taking advantage of PPC automation tools such as Google Ad’s countdown function.
3. Product Categories Sales Promotions
Promoting specific product categories for specific seasons is a great way to streamline your customers’ journeys. Why? It helps them find products best suited for their specific seasonal shopping needs more quickly, while at the same time encouraging the sale with a discount.
The best way to coordinate these sales promotion types is by creating specific promotional landing pages. This can also be in the form of gift idea pages. Here’s a landing page seasonal sales promo example created with ConvertFlow.
This may not seem exciting. But what if you combined this seasonal product promotion page with strategic ads that are actively searching for Mother’s Day gifts? What about a CTA overlay touchpoint journey to turn searchers into fans with additional free gift promotions? This is precisely what Simon & Schuster did.
4. Last-Minute Combined Sales Promotions
eCommerce brands will want to plan various promotions targeting smaller segments — even last-minute shoppers. Here’s a Boxing Day sales promotion example that was run last year by one of our top merchants.
As you can see by their optimized Facebook ads, they not only add a countdown sales promotion with a sitewide discount but include a free shipping threshold promotion to boost value. They have had a lot of success with such campaigns.
In fact, Curl Warehouse is getting an average of 10X ROAS from all its PPC campaigns managed by Traffic Booster.
5. New Year–Themed Sales Promotions
The New Year season is often overlooked by eCommerce brands, but it can be a good time to boost sales before the late January lull. This is the time your marketing should tap into the new beginnings mindset of your shoppers and offer a promotion that will help them boost their New Year’s resolutions.
A great sales promotion example of this in action is from CLOVE + HALLOW.
Their Buy One, Get One campaign proves that even the slightest tweak in ad copy can help you tap into potential shoppers’ desire for change in the new year — and point to your store as a way to help them get there.
And when you boost these campaigns with the right eCommerce ad, they can be very effective. Here is a Facebook sales promo ad that does just that.
[Source: Constant Contact]
6. Holiday Gamification Sales Promotions
Turning your sales promotions into interactive games doesn’t just help you convert; it also allows you to engage directly with your shoppers, which in turn boosts customer loyalty. Easter is an egg-cellent (see what we did there?) season to test gamification on, as it goes so well with the feel of the seasonal event.
Online Easter promotions are something Coop (a European supermarket) have had a lot of success with. Here is their Memory campaign where customers stood the chance of winning gift cards and a minute of free shopping.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be as involved. It can be as simple as planning a social media quiz or running PPC campaigns announcing that there is a hidden promo code on your website. However simple or involved, you will want to make sure you:
- Incorporate on-site, email, and digital marketing
- Start planning as early as possible
- Tie your promotions into how your potential customers plan on celebrating
- Choose products that align with their Easter needs
To get the inspiration flowing, here’s a three-year breakdown of how shoppers were planning to spend their Easter holidays.
7. Holiday Gift-Wrapping Promotions and Incentives
Gift wrapping around the holidays or for products that are aimed at seasonal events such as Mother’s or Father’s Day can be hugely successful. There are a ton of brands offering gift-wrapping or box promotions, ranging from free to fancy.
Some do both all year round. Tiffany.com, for instance, makes sure all purchases arrive in their signature Tiffany Blue Box.
It works because Tiffany is a luxury product that caters specifically to gift buyers. The trick is matching your gift-wrapping promotion to your product. Otherwild, for instance, offers newsprint wrapping, which ties in perfectly with their apparel brand.
On the other hand, your store may just need gift wrapping during the peak holiday season. In this case, there are a number of other ways you can use gift-wrapping incentives on your store. These include:
- Placing it as an upsell in the checkout to increase AOVs
- Adding a seasonal on-store pop-up announcing gift-wrapping services
- Combining gift wrapping with other gift add-ons (as Nordstrom does)
Whether you discount wrapping or add it for free, be sure to include it in your holiday ads.
8. Christmas Bundles
We know that bundling can boost overall revenue and AOVs. In fact, one Shopify study found that as much as 30% of eCommerce revenue comes from product bundles that are used for upselling and cross-selling. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that using bundles for your Christmas sales promotions can be a big conversion driver.
Fresh has a lot of success with bundles when they combine them with themed giveaways. Here’s an example of their Six Days of Surprises Gift Set campaign.
But more on bundles later.
Branded Coupons and Promo Codes Sales Promotion Examples
Branded coupons and promo codes are a popular sales promotion used by online retailers all year round. Why? The right coupon, at the right time, can increase conversion chances while building loyalty with your existing customers.
These types of sales promotions include automatic checkout discounts, strategically placed promo codes — on and off your store — and branded virtual coupons for sign-ups and other offers.
Pro Tip: 12 Popular Types of Coupons for eCommerce
- Automatic coupons added to checkouts
- New-user coupons
- Welcome coupons
- New product launch promo codes
- Free shipping coupons
- Percent-off coupons
- Loyalty-based promo codes
- Gift card coupons with purchases
- Flash sales promotions
- Abandoned cart coupons
- Review or feedback promo codes
- Mystery promo codes and coupons
The secret to success is being able to optimize virtual coupon campaigns to the shoppers’ buying stage and to balance the amount needed to convert, without compromising on profit — something these next sales promotion examples do brilliantly.
9. New Follower Coupon Sales Promotions
A good example of optimizing the value of branded coupons and promo codes is by combining them with new-user growth campaigns. For instance, the Australian-based online store Beginning Boutique used a 15%-off coupon on-site incentive to grow their Facebook followers and email lists.
Not only did this help them boost revenue by $40,000 in just 10 days, but they were able to increase email subscribers by 6% during this time, users they could remarket with email and PPC campaigns. (You can read more about this case study here.)
This type of sales promotion example can only be successful if you are able to consistently drive traffic to your store. Not just any traffic, but highly targeted traffic from digital ads. Here are the top ways successful online retailers can drive more targeted traffic to their store:
- Advanced eCommerce PPC strategy
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Influencer marketing
10. Unique Promo Codes for Seasonal Campaigns
Another way to get branded coupons to work for you is to create a unique attention-grabbing promo code that connects them with a seasonal campaign. A simple example would be using the promo code “HappyHalloween” in your Halloween PPC campaigns and on-site promotions.
Here’s another example from Forever 21, where they use a unique promo code for their online summer sales promo that offers 30%-off purchases over $85.
For an email promo code promotion to be fruitful, brands need to have a good email marketing list size. And the best way for eCommerce brands to drive email sign-ups is through PPC advertising. One strategy to do this would be to create separate landing pages (with email sign-up CTAs) for different buying segments and then run targeted campaigns that send new target audiences to these landing pages.
New Subscriber Discounts and Sales Promotion Examples
New subscriber discounts are a popular sales promotion example for a reason. Brands want to be sure they balance enough incentives to entice a new subscriber, without compromising on margins or cheapening their brand (eCommerce brand equity).
Whether it’s to grow email lists or increase social media followers, you want to reward new subscribers with a sales promotion to drive conversions. Let’s look at a few successful sales promotions that do just that.
11. New Subscriber Discount Codes
The simplest new subscriber sale promotion example is discount codes. Usually in the form of an on-site pop-up or banner, they are a great way to increase your email marketing lists, while also boosting sales, by creating that extra sense of value and incentive that a new customer may need.
Here’s a new subscriber discount promotion that was used by a top Shopify example store, Mented Cosmetics.
Another way you can use discounts to get email sign-ups is by offering a dollar-amount savings for an email address. This is what Out of Print does.
However, in today’s climate, on-site pop-ups are not enough: you need PPC. For instance, Facebook lead ads for eCommerce offers all the benefits of Facebook targeting and brand awareness reach so you can grow your subscribers off-site.
Important: Don’t forget to have past email subscribers Lookalike Audiences (to find new subscribers) and email subscriber Custom Audiences (and corresponding campaigns) set up on Facebook first.
This way, you target more like-minded potential customers with awareness campaigns and retarget new subscribers with the right sales promotion to push sales on auto-pilot. You can read more about this strategy in our Winning eCommerce Facebook Strategy for 7-Figure Stores post.
12. Personalized Welcome Email Sales Promotions
Another way you can turn potential customers into loyal shoppers is with a well-timed sales promotion. The best place to do this is in your new subscriber welcome email, when your brand is super fresh in their mind.
And it can work even better if you combine a welcome promotional discount with a breakdown of your brand’s value to build trust, something that Cozy Earth does perfectly.
Note: Of course, if you have already offered a discount to get them to sign up, you will want to exclude them from general welcome emails and instead use this time to remind them of the discount they are eligible for.
Now, if you want to take this email marketing to pro level, you will also want to personalize your welcome emails. This can mean optimizing or personalizing any of the following:
- The specific discount amount
- Which products, if any, you highlight in the email
- Customer name
- The email subject text
- Email content or copy
This is easier to do if you are using a robust eCommerce email marketing platform such as Campaign Monitor that allows for customized personalization.
[Source: Campaign Monitor]
Bundled Deals and Cross-Sell Sales Promotion Examples
The next couple of sales promotion examples highlight the value of bundling and cross-selling. Not just in terms of AOVs, but building brand value while boosting loyalty. The trick is running the right promotions at the right point in the shopping journey to boost customer experience.
You also want to make sure you balance creativity with logic in terms of your bundling while still maintaining brand value. Let’s look at some good examples.
13. Limited All-Inclusive Bundle Promotions
Bundles are a balancing act. You want to incentivize with an offer without undervaluing your products or your brand in the eyes of the shopper. A good way to do this is by ensuring your bundled products are promoted with a single price. This is something that subscription stores are experts on: one box of goodies for one monthly price.
By pushing limited-edition bundling, you get all the benefits mentioned above, while also creating a sense of urgency. This is exactly what the Sephora makeup brand does.
But it doesn’t stop there. They also have a lot of backend collaboration with big markup brand names to create branded limited-edition bundles. Here is some recent Instagram marketing they did showing just one of these collaborations.
As you can see, it is not enough to just have these limited edition product bundles on your store; you need to drive awareness to these product pages with the right ads. Not just Facebook, but Google Performance Max (Google Shopping) as well. To do that, you will want to add the “is_bundle identifier” to your product data feeds.
14. BOGO Promotions and Deals
BOGO (Buy One, Get One) deals are a regular eCommerce promotion type, both on- and off-site. They can appear in ads or on-site to target potential customers at varying buying stages and include a number of different promotion structures. Some BOGO deals include:
- Buy item X and get item Y for free
- Buy one, get another one at half price
- Buy one from category A and get free samples from category B (product sampling)
- Buy three for the price of two
- Buy item X and get —% off item Y
A brand that is having a lot of success with a BOGO as an upselling tool is Agogie, offering a shopper a 20% discount to their total when buying suggested frequently-bought-together products.
The secret to their success is ensuring they have the right ads to bring the right traffic to their store. In fact, they have been seeing 5X ROAS from their eCommerce ads. Here’s how:
Tip: BOGO doesn’t always mean giving more to the consumer. There are brands that, instead of offering consumers a “free one,” include the incentive to “give one.” Bombas, for instance, donate one pair of socks for every paid consumer purchase.
15. Up-Sell Bundles and New User Promotions
Don’t underestimate the power of using up-sell bundle sales promotions to drive ROAS. Online store giants Dollar Shave Club are all about bundled upselling and have included inexpensive once-offers to boost AOVs for some time now.
They also use these types of bundles for their new shopper sales promo. Here’s an example of their Facebook ads they use to push users to these strategic bundle landing pages.
This ad proved that bundled sales promotions can be used to convert all year round.
Product Bundling Tips for Sales Promotions
- Prevent dead stock while capitalizing on profits by pairing best-selling products with slow-moving inventory.
- Emphasize the value of the bundle. Not just in price, but in how the combination makes a customer’s life better.
- Consider using your checkout up-sell bundling promotions to boost sales and raise AOVs.
- Personalize on-site bundles as much as possible to specific shoppers’ behavior.
- Keep bundled products related to each other. No matter how many products you put together, make sure that they make sense.
Free Shipping Sales Promotion Examples
Free shipping sales promotions are a great way to incentivize shoppers all year round. Targeting both new potential shoppers and existing customers, there is a lot of wiggle room on how stores can use this type of promotion, whether it’s a homepage banner, checkout promotion, or a hook you use in your eCommerce Google Ads.
Here are some of the most-used free shipping sales promotion types:
- Free shipping when buying specific products
- Sitewide and product-wide free shipping on all orders
- Free shipping when buying X amount of items/products
- Limited-time (24/48 hours) free shipping on all products
- Free shipping when spending over a certain threshold amount
- Location-specific free shipping
- Free shipping as a first-time shopper incentive
Now let’s look at some specific sales promotions examples that use free shipping incentives.
16. Free Shipping Cart Abandonment Sales Promotions
Free shipping promotions can really work when they are strategically used at the right touchpoint. A good example of that in action would be including it in your cart abandonment sales promotion strategy, just as the example below is done.
Here’s an example of a cart abandonment promotion pop-up that offers three types of sales promotions in one: percentage discount, free shipping, and limited-time incentives.
Here’s another cart abandonment marketing example from Peel. In the email, they remind customers what products they were interested in and display how much they need to spend to get the free shipping incentive.
17. Threshold Free Shipping Discounts
Another popular way stores use free shipping promotions to drive sales is with threshold incentives. This is where a brand includes free shipping on orders over a certain spend amount. Here’s a free shipping sales promotion example from online merchants Indie Vinyl Den. Here they offer free shipping on all US orders over $79.
The biggest advantage of this type of shipping promotion is that it boosts AOVs. The trick is to compare it with well-optimized remarketing campaigns to get middle-of-sales-funnel shoppers back to your site. In fact, this is precisely what Indie Vinyl Den have done, where they now see a 5.2 ROAS.
Clearance and Flash Sales Promotion Examples
Flash and clearance sales promotions are another widely used incentive, specifically for seasonal products or items with a short shelf life.
The trick is finding the right balance between offering high-value deals without compromising too much on margins. And when used incorrectly, it can be a huge drain on a brand’s profitability. It can also affect brand reputation and equity, especially if you’re running flash or clearance sales too often.
So, what makes a good clearance or flash sale promotion? Scarcity! Let’s look at some high-performing examples to see why.
18. One-Day Double Incentives
Flash and clearance sales don’t just have to be about dollar discounts; they can also mean loyalty incentives. Think gamification.
For example, Starbucks often runs one-day flash sales where users get double their usual points for Starbucks rewards.
The aim of this campaign is to drive traffic to their app and increase sales. This strategy is also often used in eCommerce checkout promotions, as a way to up-sell and increase AOVs.
Regardless of how you use it, it only works if you:
- Have a good high-performing referral or loyalty program set up
- Push your promotions with digital ads and on-site marketing
Both of which are much easier when you’re harnessing the power of machine learning. Referral Shopify apps such as Yotpo, for instance, enable sellers to set a double-points earning rule within a set time frame, while Traffic Booster will ensure you are able to effectively drive traffic for these sales promotions. You can find out more about these apps here.
19. Limited-Time Flash Sales
For clearance sales and flash promotions to work, it’s not enough to make sure you space them out enough to create scarcity. You also want to ensure that these sales have a short window to instill urgency. This is a common tactic used over BFCM; however, they can also be effective throughout the year when planned strategically.
Here’s a clearance sales promotion example from Scout & Co. This promotional email went out at the end of December, giving 30% off on the last of their 2022 apparel designs.
Want to launch a new clothing store, run a promotion for a new product, or need help optimizing flash sales promos? Here are some tips to get you started:
How to Do a Flash Sale in 5 Steps
- Set your sales promotion goals. Is the goal to boost sales? To get rid of the last items from the season while maximizing profit? Both?
- Choose your products or category. You’re looking for products that have a high profit margin so that there is wiggle room for promotional discounts. Or, to move slow-moving or season leftovers.
- Set your time frame. For clearance promotions and flash sales, aim for short sales promotion windows to create urgency and scarcity.
- Prepare the backend. Make sure your backend admin and logistics is set up for increased shipping and delivery needs for your sales promotion window.
- Plan your marketing strategy. Decide which digital ads and on-site marketing you will do to drive traffic to your store during your flash sales promotion.
Surprise Offers and Mystery Discount Sales Promotion Examples
“Surprise and delight” marketing is a strategy that uses surprise gifts, interactive experiences, or mystery discounts to engage existing customers and potential shoppers. Depending on where you place this type of marketing in your sales journey, they can be very effective.
Surprise offers and mystery discount sales promotion examples fall within this marketing category, and when you ensure users are always pleasantly surprised by the result, it can boost conversions in a huge way.
20. Last-Minute Surprise Deals
The first sales promotion example that fits into this category are limited-time mystery surprise deals. Painting mystery with urgency can be very fruitful. Here’s an example from Loft. This is an email they ran around Halloween with the subject: “This may come back to haunt you…”
[Source: Email Design and More]
21. Gamification Discounts
Pairing mystery with other on-site sales promotions can boost results.
A good example of this in action is from West & Willow, an online pet portrait store. With their on-site mystery email subscriber sales promotion, they generated 39k leads and $195,000 in revenue during one month.
Impressive, yes. But if you can, why not go further? In one promotion example, McDonald’s partnered with Monopoly to maximize their online customer and sales promotion engagement and increased their sales by 6%.
Final Thoughts: Optimizing Your Sales Promotions with eCommerce Ads
There you have it: a sales promotion example for any stage on the buying journey. Let’s quickly recap:
Each of these sales promotion ideas could be adapted to drive sales and AOVs all year round. The key is ensuring that the right target audience sees the right sales promotion campaign at the right time. This doesn’t just make sales but helps turn each of your shoppers into a loyal customer.
How? With advanced target audience segmentation and well-optimized PPC campaigns.
Yes, each of these can be effective. If you can get the right eyes on them, of course! No matter what sales promotions you’re planning, it’s vital that you have a PPC marketing strategy in place to ensure you are bringing the right traffic to the right promotion. This means following these five essential steps:
- Laying the foundation for an omnichannel experience
- Choosing your core marketing channels
- Selecting the right eCommerce ad campaigns for key journey touchpoints
- Using real-time automation to manage optimization and drive sales
- Going all-in on personalization
You can read more about these steps here.
Nicole is a content writer at StoreYa with over sixteen years experience and flair for storytelling. She runs on a healthy dose of caffeine and enthusiasm. When she’s not researching the next content trend or creating informative small business content, she’s an avid beachgoer, coffee shop junkie and hangs out on LinkedIn.
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