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Creative Promotions

Most successful merchants do promotions on their eCommerce storefront to attract customers and increase conversion.   And with Prostores promotion features, you can easily set up coupon codes, buy-one-get-one free specials, and other discounts and events.

Creating the right promotions strategy can take some creativity.  Here are a few ideas that other merchants have found successful:

  • Create a storewide sale or put a whole category on sale.  Try various types of promotions like discounts on multiple-item purchases, percentage off of certain amount of purchase, or a percentage off the whole store.   
  • For holidays, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas, offer digital gift certificates to last-minute shoppers.  
  • Ask customers to fill out a survey to receive a discount.  Featured web store Bubble & Bee Organic calls its promotion “$6 Off for 6 Questions.” Not only does the staff get valuable customer feedback, it also gets customers buying more. 
  • Create a 7-day “progressional” sale.  Offer a 30-percent discount during the sale’s first day, 25-percent off on the second, and so forth for a whole week.  “We did this during Christmas and gave us a record amount of sales,” says Stephanie Greenwood of Bubble & Bee Organic.
  • Offer a variety of specials in one day.  On Black Friday, featured merchant Dog is Good ran four different specials starting as soon as midnight.  "We offered a special and then changed it at 6am, and continued this throughout the day, just as department stores do," says owner Jon Kurtz.  "At times, we just lowered the cost of a product and kept that price up all day."
  • Offer discounts to people who agree to subscribe to your newsletter subscribers or follow you on Facebook or Twitter.  Likewise, give your existing fans an incentive to get their friends to follow you. Wildfire, North Social and Offerpop offer apps that can help you organize these types of online drives.  Use those same email and social media marketing outlets to advertise sales and hot clearance items.  
  • Offer a free gift with purchase.  Consider this old retail trick that brick and mortar stores often use.  For browsing online shoppers, a free gift might encourage them to choose your store if they’ll get a bit more for their money.  You may even be able to incorporate this at little or no cost, especially if your vendors are used to doing promotions and agree to supply the free merchandise.  George Daisey of says his most successful promotion is a “get a free set of towels” campaign.  “One thing I’ve noticed is if you give people a discount code, they don’t use it because they actually have to do something to get the discount,” he says.  “But if you automatically give them something free, they really like it.”
  • Create a Deal of the Day.  Some merchants ask their shoppers to subscribe to an email where they deeply discount one product a day.  Be sure to send the email at a time that your shoppers have enough time to open it and still participate in the sale. 
  • Offer free shipping to make sure customers shop with you, whether it’s for any purchase or for a purchase over a certain amount.  A study by PayPal and comScore found that a large percentage of online shoppers – 46 percent - say high shipping charges were a “very important reason” for abandoning carts. 
  • Give customers a discount if they subscribe with you.  Some cosmetics web stores, for instance, have an auto refill program offering 20 percent off refills, which means subscribers get every sixth purchase free.  Customers choose how often their shipments arrive and can cancel at any time.  It’s a win-win: Subscribers don’t have to think about replenishing daily-use products, and they get discounts on staples they’re going to buy anyway. 
  • Whenever you hold a sale or promotion, always display the regular price and the sale price so people see that they’re getting a good deal.  Shoppers are more likely to purchase when they know they’re saving money. 
  • Be savvy about hot products.  Put popular, hard-to-get products on sale to attract shoppers.  Get rid of your low inventory items by displaying an inventory count, like “only three left in stock,” so people feel they need to purchase right away to get the discount.

Not all promotions work equally for all merchants.  Figure out what promotions work best for you in terms of attracting customers.  Some merchants believe 20 percent is a good call to action because 10 percent is not quite enough to get people buying. Others run buy-one-get-one-free or Dollar Day specials.  One merchant swears that his most effective promotion is $4 off any purchase over $16.99. Experiment with different ideas and track all your promotions so that you know which ones give you the most sales and profits.  

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