Using attractive sales promotions to engage and retain customers.
This is one thing that successful ecommerce businesses have in common. Knowing how to create compelling, creative, and engaging sales promotions can make a difference for a business in any market niche.
If you’re here to see how successful businesses promote sales, we’ve got an impressive list of examples for you.
There are lots of interesting sales examples to see, so let’s dive right in.
Jump to content sections:
- Definition of a sales promotion
- 20 examples of sales promotions
What Is a Sales Promotion?
A sales promotion is a marketing technique designed to add value to a product or service to achieve sales or other marketing goals. The key element here is “add value,” which means giving extra benefits such as prizes, discounts, or free shipping to reduce the total cost of an order.
Specific types of sales promotions work better to help achieve different marketing goals. For example, a sitewide sale might help sell excess inventory, while a limited-time sale is good for a quick boost in sales.
Reviewing and choosing promotional ideas is the first step to higher customer engagement and better sales.
20 Sales Promotion Examples
- “Free Gift with Purchase” promotion
- Pre-launch promotion campaign
- Branded bundle offer
- Discount for new customers
- End-of-season sale
- Limited-time promo offer
- Clearance sale
- Newsletter signup discount
- Prized promotion (Spin the wheel)
- Spin-the-wheel promotion
- Limited-time sale
- Holiday sale promotion (4th of July)
- Gift card promotional deal
- Flash sale
- “Buy One, Get One Free” Sale
- Limited-time “Buy Two Get Two” sale
- Limited-time free shipping promotion
- Membership reward promotion
- Birthday sale
- Sitewide sale
1. “Free Gift with Purchase” Promotion
The “free gift with purchase” promotion is simple: a customer spends a requisite amount and gets a gift as a thank-you. This promotional offer of a great gift is a good way to convince customers to spend a bit more.
But what makes such a gift—one that appeals to the customer but is affordable to the business?
Let’s look at this promotion example below from ActiveSkin.
The brand gives away a gel mask, which is a nice addition to the skincare products it sells. Many people would appreciate this offer, as it gives them a little something they can use with other products. Or, shoppers can just enjoy getting a gift.
ActiveSkin used a website popup to share this promotional deal with visitors. The popup worked well to maximize the deal’s reach, since popups could be displayed on most pages.
To make this promotion idea work:
- Choose a valuable gift. It should have enough value for customers to motivate them to make a purchase (like one of the best-selling items).
- Set a reasonable spending limit. If your average order value is around $50, consider setting the limit at around $70 to encourage more spending.
- Keep order weight unaffected by the gift. Large items could require larger boxes, which increase the order’s weight and shipping costs.
How to create this type of sales promotion campaign
You can create similar “free gift with purchase” promotions by using timed website popups. This means you set the time when visitors will see them on a page of your choice. Here’s why popup timing is important for conversions.
2. Pre-Launch Promotion Campaign
Raise product awareness before the product becomes available.
That’s the main goal of this kind of promotional campaign. Online businesses such as retailers use these campaigns to build excitement around new products and secure some pre-orders.
Asphalte uses pre-launch marketing to win customers.
In their promotional message below, the brand does a great job of making an announcement that’s short and sweet. It’s like saying, “Folks, we’ve got something great, and many are signing up. You in?”
Imagine how powerful this message can be in terms of FOMO.
For this promotional campaign, Asphalte used on-site notifications. Website visitors can see them by clicking on a loudspeaker icon located near the main menu items.
Once clicked, the icon shows a small menu of notifications.
An online business can share marketing messages, blog content alerts, policy changes, and other info this way. Viewing on-site messages should be a familiar experience for shoppers, as they look like personalized social media notifications.
How to create this promotional campaign
Sharing product or sale pre-launch messages is easy with on-site notifications. All you need is an app that allows you to share notifications this way. There’s no coding or design experience needed, so you can get a quick start on this one.
|Visitors who click on-site notifications are 3.5 times more likely to convert and 2.5 times more likely to browse other product pages. This is what Asphalte found after using on-site notifications. Details: Asphalte Case Study.|
3. Branded Bundle Offer
This example of product promotion is similar to the “free gift with purchase.”
This time, though, the business promises a branded product bundle composed of two items for orders over €100. With this type of promotion, the seller is trying to get people talking about the deal and encouraging visitors to browse the product range.
Once again, this brand is using a website popup to share this sales promotion example. Popups are great for this kind of promo because you can choose to display them in a specific timeframe (the duration of the promo, for example).
How to create a similar promo campaign
Having this type of sales promo campaign up and running on your website can take less than 30 minutes. All that’s required is creating a mobile-optimized website popup that shows visitors the discount message. Just add the text, an image, a discount, and activate.
|No experience creating popups? Check out a simple guide to making popups to promote sales and special deals: How to Create Popups for a Shopify Store.|
4. Discount Coupon for First-Time Customers
A customer is searching for a product. They visited a few websites and noticed one thing.
“Okay, so this store has a discount; this one doesn’t…
I’ll use the one with the discount!”
Research shows that a discount makes 41% of online shoppers buy. Many of them are first-time customers, which suggests that discounts as sales promotions can help you build a customer base.
This is exactly what Alaska Northern Lights is doing.
The ecommerce store uses an exit popup to share discounts with visitors. It looks like this—simple and to-the-point.
What we like about this promotion idea is how the popup conveys the information. The main message, the discount amount, and the discount code are bolded, so visitors are likely to understand the message without reading the whole thing.
How to create this campaign
Make a website exit-intent popup and show it only to new visitors. In Wisepops, this is super easy—just choose “new visitors” in the “display frequency” settings. When activated, the popup will offer a discount to all potential customers visiting your store for the first time.
|Let more potential customers know that your store offers a discount and drive more conversions with exit-intent popups. Here are 5 Tips to Get More Sales with Exit-Intent Popups.|
5. End-of-Season Sale
“Looking to get your wardrobe refreshed for the summer? Now’s the time!”
This is what our next sales promotion example is all about. It announces an end-of-season sale, which is a way to make space in inventory for new products.
Atterley uses a website popup to share the promotion. Note the two buttons leading to women’s and men’s products—a great decision to make product exploration easier.
Since end-of-season sales are typically held on the biggest sale days of the year, start to promote it at least a week before. This way, you’ll raise awareness and build some anticipation.
Also, use all available channels to spread the word: email, website popups, advertising, text messages, etc. In Atterley’s case, the brand’s marketing team used a website popup—it’s safe to assume it was displayed to every new visitor for maximum exposure.
6. Limited-Time Promo Offer
In this sales promotion example, ActiveSkin tries to capitalize on the expertise of its founder. The brand offers to save 15% on select products, and entices viewers by specifying that the sale is time-limited. This helps drive urgency.
Note that the message says “Limited time only,” without mentioning the specific timeframe. This could be yet another way to grab customers’ interest and have them consider learning about the offer.
If a business’s owner is an influencer, or it uses influencers to promote products, such a strategy could attract conversions.
Creating a similar promotional deal is super easy: the important thing is to remember to add the expiration date.
7. Clearance Sale Promotion
Need to get rid of excess inventory?
How about doing that + increasing your store’s traffic?
If that sounds good, consider a clearance sale. This promotion involves selling excess inventory at reduced prices. A carefully planned and promoted clearance sale can boost traffic at your store by attracting bargain hunters.
Here’s an example:
Lulu Guinness announced a clearance sale with this promotional message example. The brand’s website used it as a banner to attract visitors’ attention.
Something eye-catching about this sale promotion example is the creative usage of fonts. The main message is displayed in bigger fonts to convey the main point effectively. Some of the extra info uses different fonts. Altogether, the font style and sizing are pretty effective at attracting attention.
Another way to grab visitors’ attention and make a clearance sale promotion better is by adding numbers. For example, you can mention how many products are actually on sale (which could be a lot). This technique could make the message more interesting.
Examples of ways to include numbers in promotional messages:
- “Clearance sale! Shop 1,000 styles!”
- 5 Days Only: Up to 70% Off Clearance sale”
- Clearance sale: 40% to 70% off 500+ epic items!”
8. Newsletter Signup Discount
We see these promotional offers everywhere.
There’s a good reason for that: they work.
Signing up for an email newsletter doesn’t cost the customer anything, but getting a discount allows them to save money. Simple as that.
That’s why ecommerce brands use newsletter signup promotions to get visitors’ emails with incentives such as early access to sales announcements, special discounts, VIP rewards, and more. Creating such a promotional campaign is pretty straightforward.
May Arts Ribbon offers a 10% discount for newsletter signup. Once again, the brand uses a website email popup to generate leads. The popup has a brief but witty message saying that customers will get only valuable content, not spam.
Consider using a similar promo campaign to show your appreciation when a customer signs up for your newsletter. You might offer a different incentive, too. A common incentive is a promise to send notifications about promotional campaigns, discounts, sales, and other useful things.
|Want tips on how to generate more leads with email popups? These 36 Email Popup Examples and Tips should be helpful.|
9. Prized Promotion (Spin the Wheel)
We know that shoppers like it when businesses “gamify” their experiences. After all, people love anything interactive—games, quizzes, generators, calculators, etc.
No surprise that gamification has made its way to product promotions. Spin-the-wheel popups are one of the best examples of gamified experiences, with many online stores using them to generate leads.
Faguo is one of those brands.
This French clothing company promotes a product contest with a spin-the-wheel popup. Any visitor can enter: all they have to do is type in their name and email.
Faguo did a great job taking care of two critical aspects of contests:
Simple entry and valuable prize.
No surprise that this promotional campaign generates 5,000 leads every month (!) and remains the brand’s main lead generation tool. Even better, Faguo used the wheel to gamify the contest experience—another major reason for the campaign’s success.
The interactive nature makes spin-the-wheel popups a legit way to promote participation in contests, giveaways, sales, and other promotional campaigns.
How to create your own spin-the-wheel campaigns to generate leads
Online stores create similar promotions with spin-the-wheel popups. Creating one is similar to customizing a marketing email: just add content and activate. It’s super simple, and spin-the-wheel popups help many brands generate leads and raise awareness of sales and promos.
Here’s one more example of a brand making good use of a spin-the-wheel popup…
10. Spin-the-Wheel Promotion
A wheel of happiness.
That’s what Cabaia called its spin-the-wheel popup campaign.
This digitally native brand that sells cruelty-free accessories is running a promotional campaign where customers can win free products, credits, free delivery, and other perks.
Unlike Faguo’s, Cabaia’s spin-the-wheel-powered campaign requires only an email to enter. And a unique draw for site visitors is that, it’s possible to win a prize right away!
Here’s how this popup looks.
If you’d like to engage website visitors with a similar promotion, we recommend reading the best practices for creating spin-to-win popups. One practice is to use spin-to-win promotions to increase participation in holiday sales and giveaways.
Want tips from a conversion expert?
Watch this free popup masterclass from Lisa Fockens, our Head of Customer Success, who will show you how to create high-converting popups.
|Cabaia’s effective business model (digitally native brand) secured the company €700,000 in investments. More details about digitally native brands and how they work: Digitally Native Vertical Brands (DNVBs): An Entrepreneur’s Guide.|
11. Limited-Time Sale
Few sales promotion activities are as tried and tested as limited-time offers like sales and discount coupons.
The idea is simple: add a time restriction, which acts as a purchase trigger. Ecommerce brands have used this sales promo idea forever because it appeals to customers’ fear of missing out on a good deal.
Limited-time sale promotion example:
Bobonos used this sales promo below for the 4th of July.
The countdown timer gives a compelling reason to purchase by driving urgency. Note how the two most important elements—the timer and the “Use Code Firework” CTA button—are given a contrasting black color to attract attention.
One piece of advice to maximize profits from this sale idea:
Run your time-limited promo for a shorter duration (24 or 48 hours) if you have over 1,000 monthly website visitors. If you’re a new brand, consider using promos of longer durations (over 48 hours).
Research on coupons found this technique to be effective because it gives customers of less-known brands more time for consideration.
12. Holiday Sale Promotion (4th of July)
Taking a smart approach to sales promotions means having different promotional deals up your sleeve, ready to be used when needed. Holidays are the time when sales are called for, so your brand should be ready.
Independence Day, for one, is a great opportunity to let your customers snag discounts. Making a sale promotion for this holiday, just like for any other holiday, requires a concise message and interesting visual.
Here’s a 4th of July creative sales promotion example from Pura Vida. The brand uses an awesome visual to share the sale info and attract attention.
Want to maximize sales from holiday sale campaigns?
Run an ad campaign to drive traffic to your website. Then, use website popups and banners to share the news and generate leads.
Since many visitors won’t be ready to buy right away (some are just browsing, others compare costs or look for discounts, etc), website popups could share awareness of the sale and put your brand among those considered for purchase.
|Have a high shopping cart abandonment rate during holidays? Consider these 3 Simple Checkout Fixes to Reduce Shopping Cart Abandonment.|
13. Gift Card Promotional Deal
Selling gift cards?
If yes, then this promotional offer example should be useful for you.
Consider offering a discount for a gift card purchase between April and June. This specific period saw the most orders in 2020 and was partially driven by many customers avoiding in-store shopping.
Here’s an example of such a promotional message.
H&M sent this promo campaign via email, offering a 10% discount for gift cards. The message offers a simple explanation for customers—another best practice in creating effective sales campaigns.
What’s also smart about this promotional offer is that the brand gives ideas for potential recipients of gift cards (“Think grads, dads and Geminis.”) Another thing to note is that this sales promotion example is also timed.
Tips to increase sales of gift cards:
- Launch sales campaigns around holidays.
- Use onsite marketing tools (embeds, popups, notification feed, etc.).
- Share sales announcements via emails.
- Talk about gift card promotions on social media.
14. Flash Sale
A flash sale is another type of promotional deal that focuses on a sense of urgency. It’s a perfect sales promotion idea for retailers selling hundreds of items because it could help sell faster.
Swanson Vitamins offers up to 50% off deals—but only for 24 hours. It’s a great promo to attract both new and existing customers.
Flash sales could work well if done on a set schedule. For example, your online store can have a flash sale once every one or two months depending on your preferences.
However they are used, the effectiveness of these sales campaign ideas relies on marketing. Use every available marketing channel to spread the word, as even regular customers need a reminder once in a while.
15. “Buy One, Get One Free” Sale Promotion
This promotional deal offers a free product if a customer buys one item. Brands use these campaigns to create a sense of urgency, generate sales, or clear inventory.
Here’s an example of this type of sale promotion:
Flat Tummy Co. advertises a “buy one, get one free” offer with this message. The main value proposition is written in the biggest font to convey the meaning, and a compelling text motivates customers to act.
Note that the brand uses a countdown timer to increase customer engagement with this promotional offer. If you’d like to add one, too, consider creating a popup with a timer for product pages to drive urgency.
Here’s what this popup might look like.
And here’s the best part:
Such popups can generate up to 226% more sales than versions without the countdown timer. That’s how powerful the sense of urgency can be when applied appropriately.
Most popup software allows adding countdown timers to popups to create timed sales of all kinds. Find more info about how you can use them for sales: 11 top-rated popup apps for ecommerce websites.
16. Limited-Time “Buy Two Get Two” Promotion
“Let’s take the ‘buy one get one’ sale one step further!”
That’s what marketing folks at Girls in Logos probably thought when making their next storewide sale. Instead of giving away one free product, they’re giving two.
The result is this sales promotion example.
One thing customers like about this promotional deal: it’s a better value for the money.
Paying a lower price is one of the most important things when it comes to getting the best value, so many customers could be enticed to buy.
Once again, this brand uses “social media-like” on-site notifications to spread the word about the promotion. If you’d like to try the same technique, create a free notification and add it to your store.
17. Limited-Time Free Shipping
Free shipping is a great way to increase sales.
Here’s why: 53% of online shoppers say that free delivery is the top reason why they decide to buy. That’s why customers see examples of sale promotions involving free shipping almost everywhere these days.
Here’s one of them:
EnChroma announces a free shipping promotion in this message. The brand also adds a sense of urgency by incorporating two fear factors: a 2-day deadline and a text reminding customers that Father’s Day is approaching fast.
Ecommerce brands often use free shipping to increase sales and reduce shopping cart abandonment around holidays. Common places where they mention free shipping include abandoned shopping cart subject lines, email messages, website banners, and ads.
18. Membership Reward Promotion
What keeps shoppers loyal to brands?
Value for money.
Research shows that this is true for 66% of customers. Makes sense, right? Customers want the best possible deals, so businesses try to show that they have them.
Here’s how they are doing it.
In this sales promotion example, YakGrills uses a loyalty program to show how to get the best value.
One impressive thing about this promotional campaign example is the description.
The text is super concise, benefit-oriented, and well-organized thanks to the bullet list structure, so customers can learn about the advantages in seconds.
19. Birthday Sale
Birthdays are an excellent reason to send a special discount coupon and help customers celebrate with some shopping.
Many ecommerce sellers share such coupons via emails. Birthday emails perform amazingly well, generating 481% higher transaction rates and 342% higher revenues per message. That’s why many brands include birthday emails in their marketing campaigns.
Spalding, for example, shares this birthday sale promotion with 20% off any time. A nice bonus for a birthday, indeed.
So, a birthday sale promotion can be a nice treat for both the customer and the business. Try this technique, too, and share birthday discount coupons with customers to increase their engagement.
|Birthday emails, welcome emails, promo emails…. Email marketing offers countless opportunities for promotional activities to increase sales. Get tips to build your own strategy: Guide to eCommerce Email Marketing.|
20. Sitewide Sale
A sitewide sale promotion advertises a sale that includes all (or most) products in an online store. Businesses hold sitewide sales between seasons to sell out inventory or simply to increase their sales.
Here’s how Helm Boots informed customers about its sitewide sale. This promotion sample effectively conveys the message and encourages shopping by mentioning free shipping and returns.
What’s also intriguing about this sales promotional message example is the question.
The last sentence of the text below the visuals asks customers: “What are you waiting for?” which encourages them to check out the deals.
Sales Promotion Tips for Online Businesses
The sales promotion examples we’ve reviewed gave us practical tips on how to market deals.
Let’s summarize these tips and best practices:
- Offer real value. The value added to a product or service should be valuable enough to motivate and encourage customers to convert.
- Try free shipping. As mentioned, research shows that 53% of customers consider free delivery to be the top reason to buy.
- Define a goal for each promotion. Every sales promotion must be related to one or more marketing goals. A discount-based promotion, for example, can help increase short-term sales but undermines brand value if used long term.
- Create a sense of urgency or scarcity. These are two powerful techniques to increase customer engagement and conversions, so try them in promotional deals.
- Test different ways of presenting sales promotions. Consider sharing sales promotions with popups, on-site notifications, emails, text messages, and other marketing channels to see what customers respond to best.
Sales Promotion Examples: Over to You
Sales promotions can be powerful short-term tactical weapons for online businesses. Applying appropriate promotions to achieve marketing goals is an important consideration to make them generate conversions.
We hope these examples of successful sales promotions will give you a much better idea of how to use them effectively for your own business. No one says today’s market is easy—but that doesn’t mean that your marketing can’t be.
Pick a couple of ideas that complement your business style and put them to work for you. Good luck!