Effective sales promotions for e-commerce


Sales promotions can be very effective when it comes to increasing sales and customer engagement in your online store. However, as always, you should start with a well-thought-out strategy. What should you remember about when it comes to sales promotions? What techniques can you use? And what mistakes should you avoid? That’s what we are going to talk about today.

If you run an online store, sales promotions are one of the most straightforward ways of increasing:

  • Sales volume
  • Average order value (AOV)
  • Customer engagement (people browse your website for the best deals, meaning they spend more time on it and interact with it more actively than usual)

You can use them to achieve several goals when it comes to your business. Thanks to promotions, you can attract new customers, introduce a new product in your offer, sell-out excess inventory (promotions help you deal with the so-called dead stock issue), encourage customers to buy more, and even increase sales during low seasons.

The e-commerce promised land? To some extent, yes. But there is always the other side of the coin.

How to prepare e-commerce sales promotions

You can’t just decide, “today we’re going to offer product X with a 10% discount!”. Well, you can, but it would be counterproductive. You need a strategy that will allow you to make the most of your promotions. What should such a strategy include?


First off, you should be aware of what your competitors are planning and doing promotion-wise. Knowing when your competitors will most likely launch another promotion will allow you to plan a counteroffer or simply take this factor into account when devising the form of your promotion.

Now, how can you monitor your competitors’ activity? There are two ways:

  • You can analyze historical data and assume that this/next year, similar promotions should be launched around the same time
  • You can use Dealavo’s platform to monitor changes in prices at indicated online stores. This way, when one of your competitors lowers their prices – you will immediately know about that.

You can learn more about price and promotion management from a free ebook:


The more you know about your current customers, the better. If you run an e-commerce business, you simply have to have a decent analytics module in place. This way, you will discover what your customers are interested in, what products they buy, and when. With this knowledge, coming up with an engaging promotion is a breeze!


Promotion should always serve a specific purpose. This means that you shouldn’t lower the price of a random product. It could end up with something called revenue cannibalization – a situation where the growth of sales created by your promotion happens at the expense of your revenue. This way, you won’t get far.

When deciding which products should be discounted, take several factors into account:

  • Would customers have bought the discounted product without the promotion? If your product is popular either way, lowering its price doesn’t seem reasonable, correct?
  • What’s your margin for each product sold (i.e., can you afford to use this product for promotion?)
  • How will this promotion affect other, non-discounted products? It can turn out that purchases of your regular products will significantly drop due to your recent promotion. Can you afford that?


There are several types of sales promotion. Each one has pros and cons. Some of them are riskier, and some less. Let’s take a look at your options:

  • Flash sale: You offer a discount but only for a very short period. Here, it’s important to build interest before launching such an offer.
  • Discount sales: You offer your inventory (all of it or just selected products) at lowered prices. In some stores, discount sales are available all year round.
  • Product bundles: You join several products into one product set and offer it as one item at a slightly discounted price.
  • Free shipping/freebies: The product’s price stays the same, but you offer additional incentives – free shipping or freebies (free accessories/complementary products added to a parcel).
  • BOGO: Buy one get one free, also frequently referred to as two for the price of one. You encourage users to buy more products by giving them one more for free or at a lowered price. This strategy is popular in the FMCG world.
  • Coupons and vouchers: You can encourage users to place an order by offering them a coupon/voucher for their next purchase. Frequently, that’s how loyalty programs work, but you can use this strategy even if you don’t have one.

Make sure your sales promotion is effective!

Lastly, let’s talk for a moment about how to increase your sales promotions’ efficiency. In order to get customers’ attention, you should:

  • Communicate special offers everywhere you can: Create a large banner on the home page, put this information on your social media channels, send a newsletter inviting customers to participate in your new offer.
  • Make your promotion attractive from the customer’s point of view: Give your customers something that has real value. If you offer a discount, let it be for example 10% so that they can really feel like they save some money.
  • Timing is of paramount importance: The majority of stores offer promotions during other holidays like Christmas and Black Friday. And this approach proves to be effective! Make sure you pick the best time for your promotion.
  • Create a sense of urgency: This technique is always effective. When customers feel like they can miss the opportunity of a lifetime, they will surely go to any length to avoid this scenario.
  • Think about loyalty programs: Although it’s a history for another article, loyalty programs help you engage your customers and encourage them to buy more, especially during sales promotions.

If you’re thinking about conducting a sales promotion, think about using our help. Here’s what we have in store for you:

And if you want to know more – feel free to drop us a line!