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12 Types of Promotion Ideas to Drive Your Sales

sahil bajaj

Sahil Bajaj

Senior Specialist - Marketing @ Shiprocket

February 21, 2024

11 min read

Today, there is intense competition in the eCommerce industry. In such a scenario, the key point to success is differentiating yourself from the competition and grabbing the interest of your target market. There’s an effective marketing method to do so and drive sales. That is a sales promotion!

Well-planned and executed sales promotion activities can help to gain new customers, increase brand awareness, boost sales, and obtain more revenue. According to Aberdeen Group, a market intelligence company, businesses can achieve 38% greater win rates,36% more client retention, and 32% higher revenue by effectively coordinating marketing and sales.

Promotions often help in creating urgency among the audience. Thus, incorporating enticing promotional strategies into your overall marketing plan can be a game-changer. 

Let’s dive into the different types of sales promotion ideas to achieve your sales goals.

Types of Sales Promotion Ideas

The Idea of Sales Promotion

Sales promotion is a marketing activity that can boost sales, enhance customer base, and create brand awareness. Businesses often use this method to generate market demand for a product. The most common way of promoting sales is by offering discounts. This will help businesses attract customers and achieve sales targets. Sales promotion is an effective marketing method in highly competitive retail sectors, where it is difficult to create a customer base.

The main objective is to raise sales and improve market share. Sales promotion also helps in achieving the following goals: 

  • Stock clearance: Giving discounts on old products will help with clearing out excess old inventory.
  • New product launch: Promotions can attract consumers’ attention to your new offerings.
  • Boosting brand awareness: Engaging promotion ideas can put your brand in the spotlight. This will help you reach new audiences.

When you adjust your marketing strategy to your target audience’s requirements and preferences, sales promotions become effective. 

12 Types of Sales Promotion Ideas To Achieve Your Sales Goals (List)

Here are super effective sales promotion ideas to achieve sales growth:

  •  Free samples

Data says that free samples can increase sales by as much as 2,000%. It’s because free samples allow your customers to get to know your product without the commitment of a purchase. Eliminating the financial risk for customers encourages them to try new products. Satisfied customers will likely share their positive experiences, amplifying your brand’s reach.

The famous Indian snacks brand, Haldiram, entered the Maharashtra market by giving free samples of ‘kaju katli’. This sweet was new to the natives, still, they captured the market and gained success through this free sample approach. Following this success, they later introduced many new snacks and were able to generate a 400% sales growth in three years.

To effectively implement this strategy, businesses have to Identify their target audience and distribute samples where they most likely shop. Offering free samples for a limited period will create a sense of urgency and this will prompt quicker purchase by customers.

  •  Buy One, Get One (BOGO) Offers

A good BOGO offer can undeniably increase sales. According to The Hustle, it’s a favourite sales promotion idea for 66% of customers and at least 93% have availed of a BOGO offer. This promotion incentivises immediate purchases and enhances customer satisfaction. It encourages customers to buy more than initially intended, increasing the overall transaction rate. BOGO offer is ideal for selling excess inventory while maintaining a positive customer experience.

The authentic Indian brand, Organic India, wrote a success story with its Tulsi tea BOGO offer. Along with the help of various other marketing strategies, the brand as a whole became the 9th specialty tea brand in the natural channel.

To implement this strategy effectively, bundle complementary products and enhance the perceived value of the offer. Aligning BOGO promotions with holidays or seasons will boost their impact.

  •  Free Shipping

The significance of free shipping cannot be overstated on online sites. 48% of online shoppers abandon their carts due to high shipping costs. So, free shipping is a powerful incentive to reduce cart abandonment rates. It can be tied to loyalty programmes, encouraging repeat business.

Jigsaw Health offers free shipping as a strategy to help the brand with its packaging and delivery costs. Customers who purchase over USD 89 in the US get access to the free shipping benefit. This strategy has helped the brand in reducing costs. It helps them cover the base shipping cost and eliminate the compounding cost of shipping individual products.

You can provide free shipping for orders that exceed a certain value, encouraging customers to add more to their carts. Almost 78% of customers make more purchases to get free shipping. Introduce free shipping as a limited-time promotion to drive immediate sales.

  • Cashback Offers

Cashback is a reward programme that gives back customers a portion of their money spent on a purchase. When customers think of getting back a part of their spending, they will spend more.  80% prefer to shop at a store that offers cashback rewards. This idea is effective in making customers return to the shop for more future purchases.

The ‘Festive Cashback Extravaganza’ campaign launched by Paytm aimed to capture the festive season market. This strategy increased user engagement, brand loyalty, and overall financial gain. 

Mention the terms and conditions of the cashback offer when implementing it. You can promote the cashback offers on your website, social media, and marketing materials. A sense of urgency can be created with time-sensitive cashback promotions.

  • Flash Sales and Discounts

Nothing creates a buzz quite like a flash sale. It engenders a feeling of exclusivity and urgency. Customers are incentivized to respond promptly so as not to lose out on the chance. When a customer has a coupon or discount, over 82% of them are more inclined to finish the transaction. Brands can offer different types of discounts to attract and retain customers. These include welcome discounts, gated discounts, return discounts, seasonal discounts, affiliate discounts, and more. Flipkart, Amazon & Snapdeal usually launch flash sales in India ahead of major festivals like Diwali. The Big Billion Day of Flipkart, Amazon’s  Great India Sale, and Snapdeal’s Unbox Diwali Sale have been the most popular flash sales in the past few years. It is estimated that these sales have helped them gain a 368% increase in monthly market share since 2009.

You can use email marketing to notify your subscribers in advance, creating anticipation for the upcoming flash sale. Emphasise limited stock availability to heighten the sense of exclusivity.

  • Vouchers and Coupons

Coupons and vouchers are utilised to draw in price-conscious clients. In 2022, almost 770 million coupons were used globally. Providing coupons can increase your sales by 25%.

CashKaro, an Indian cashback and coupon-based eCommerce company offers its users up to 30% cashback and more than 50,000 coupons with up to 75% off across all partner websites. 

When employing this approach, make vouchers that are specifically tailored to target customer segments. Customer engagement will rise as a result. To maximise the reach of the offer, distribute vouchers via email, social media, and physical outlets, among other means. Establish a fair redemption period to encourage customers to take swift action.

  • Loyalty Reward Programmes

Over 83% of customers agree that loyalty programmes influence their buying decisions. So, loyalty reward programmes can be the key to increasing your sales, as they encourage repeat business. Almost 3 out of 5 customers will spend more on your brand after signing up for a paid loyalty programme.  You can also gather valuable customer data through such initiatives and use that to tailor future promotions and offerings. A well-designed loyalty programme can make 59% of paid loyalty programme members choose your brand over your competitors.

The Body Shop offers a mission-driven loyalty programme for its customers. The brand allows customers to earn access to exclusive events, birthday gifts, and other loyalty perks. Moreover, it also gives customers the option to donate rewards to charities when they have earned 100 loyalty points worth USD10.

While implementing this strategy keep your loyalty programme easy to understand, introduce tiers to reward different levels of customer loyalty, and offer exclusive perks such as early access to sales, personalised recommendations, and birthday rewards. This will enhance the customer experience.

  •  Bundles and Add-ons

Selling products in bundles or adding another item to them as an addition is a way to enhance the perceived value of your goods. Customers consider these as valued products and are thus encouraged to purchase more. This also helps to cross-sell related products, maximising the value of each trade. You can bundle slower-moving items with popular products to boost sales and clear inventory.

The most popular types of eCommerce product bundles are mixed bundles. Skinny & Co’s offers its customers a mixed bundle of 100% organic products. Product bundles are a life-saver when it comes to choosing gifts, as these are less time-consuming. 

Introducing limited-time bundles can stimulate immediate action. You must ensure that bundles align with customer preferences and market demand. Remember, you have to clearly communicate the cost savings of purchasing a bundle.

  • Limited-Time Offers

These are short-term promotions that are intended to instill a sense of urgency among consumers to create sales. The time constraint encourages swift action, whether it’s a discount, special bundle, or exclusive deal. 56% of customers say limited-time offers encourage them to shop more often. 

Some of the eCommerce sites like Amazon, Meesho, Flipkart, etc, feature 24-hour deals of the day at the top of the website with a timer.

When running a limited-time offer, highlight it on your website and social media platforms. 

  • Same-Day Delivery

Same-day delivery involves delivering products on the same day they are ordered. This helps increase customer satisfaction. Almost 46% of online shoppers abandon carts if they see the delivery time is long, while 34% of customers prefer shopping in stores because of long delivery times. A survey report says that 41% of customers are ready to pay additional charges for same-day delivery

Many eCommerce sites nowadays promise same-day delivery to customers and this plays a critical role in establishing them as trusted stores. 

To effectively carry out the same-day delivery promise, you need to establish a robust logistics network for quick deliveries.

  • Referral Discounts

Referral discounts leverage your existing customer base to bring in new ones. Customers are incentivised to refer your products or services to others. You can grow your customer base with 54% better marketing efforts through word-of-mouth.

 For instance, Airbnb’s referral programme offers the referrer USD 18 per qualifying stay and USD 10 per qualifying experience. Its referee rewards are up to USD 46 for account credit. Their referral programme increased bookings by more than 25%.

Offer compelling discounts for both referrer and referee and use multiple channels to promote the referral programme.

  • Subscription Programmes

For this sales promotion strategy, you ask your customers to sign up for regular deliveries of products or services. This model offers predictability for your business numbers and convenience for your customers as they won’t have to buy things or services from you every time they are out of it. With subscription programmes, your business can have a consistent income stream and long-term relationships with customers. This allows you to personalise your offerings based on specific customer preferences and include exclusive perks or discounts for your subscribers.

For example, Netmeds’ subscription programme offers auto-refill convenience to subscribers when they are about to run out of stock of their regular medicines. 

One thing you need to take care of while executing strategies like these is to clearly communicate the benefits and terms of the subscription.

Conclusion

To stay ahead of the competition in the Commerce market, you should adapt strategically to the changing customer preferences and demands. This will help to drive more sales. You can tailor your approach to suit your target audience and industry by understanding in detail the different types of sales promotion ideas. Choose the one that fits your business model after experimenting. Ensure the type of sales promotion idea you choose is cost-effective, viable, and works for both your brand and customers. The perfect sales promotion idea is the one that aligns with your overall marketing objective and helps you create urgency with flash sales, lure customers with discounts, or engage customers for the long term with subscription plans. While sales promotions can help grow sales for the short term, you’ll need to consider the wider picture to succeed in the long run.

What are the different types of promotion?

There are seven different types of promotions including advertising, personal selling, sales promotions, public relations, direct marketing, word-of-mouth marketing, and sponsorship.

What is the difference between marketing and promotion?

Marketing is a broader concept that focuses on increasing brand awareness and getting your products in front of your target audience. Promotion is a part and the final stage of marketing, incorporating techniques to convert visitors into customers.

How does sales promotion benefit marketing?

Sales promotion helps businesses generate brand awareness, attract new customers, retain old customers, boost sales, increase engagement, and enhance brand loyalty.

What are some of the drawbacks of sales promotion?

Sales promotion might be overly focused on the short-term goal of increasing sales. It neglects the overall growth objective. The customers may eventually become price-sensitive and look for other brands once your sales promotion offers have ended.

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