Promotions are an effective sales tactic. They draw in new and returning customers, increasing sales and revenue. Promotions also encourage customers to connect more with your brand, raising their lifetime value by inciting them to buy more and more often.
While the same promotions that work for brick and mortar stores also work for ecommerce sites, choosing the right promotions for your online business and designing them into your website can mean the difference between success or failure. The most common promotions used by online retailers are listed below. Promotions that will work best for you depend on your business goals and customer preferences.
We’ll go through these promotions one by one, including how you to incorporate them into your ecommerce website design.
The number one promotion retailers offer are percentage-based sales. These range from the deep discounts on Cyber Monday to smaller, weekend only sales. Like in physical retail stores, signage announcing the sale should be highly visible and display all pertinent information, such as the original price, the new price, and the discount percentage.
Sales graphics should appear on the homepage, as prominently as possible, as well as strategically placed on interior pages as a reminder. Additionally, the discounted and new price should be associated with each discounted product along with design elements that clearly mark the product as "On Sale".
Highly motivated shoppers will want to easily browse all products on sale. For this reason, a website's navigation should allow a consumer to easily locate a page displaying all items on sale. Not only does this website design feature make it easy for visitors to discover on sale items, but it also helps with ecommerce search engine optimization. A specific sales page will be indexed by search engine and potentially populate web search results with your sales page.
Buy one, get one free promotions are so common, ads can simply say “BOGO” and shoppers understand. These promotions can also be modified for greater quanitiies, such as 'buy two get and get a third for free", for example. BOGO promotions appeal to cost concious shoppers, who also prefer to buy in bulk.
The key to integrating BOGO promotions into an ecommerce sites is similar to percentage-based offers – make them easy to spot. It is also important that shoppers can graphially see which items are part of a BOGO sales. Graphics should be obvious and make items included in the promotion stand out.
Most promotions are limited time offers, ranging in time from a matter of hours to several days. Limited time offers motivate consumers to buy now and not shop around, increasing a website’s chance of gaining the sale. As most consumers expect a sale to last for a limited period of time, from a design perspective your ecommerce website's design strategy should attempt to elevate any sense of urgency assocaited with the time period. Examples of design elements announcing a limited time offer include accouncing the end of the sale, such as "Sale Ends at Midnight" or declaring the period, such as "1 Day Only".
One highly effective way to promote a limited time offer is using a countdown timer. Countdown timers are often displayed as a banner at the top of a web page or other prominent location. A countdown timer uses motion to attach a shopper’s eyes and reminds them the deal could soon slip through their fingers. Countdown timers can be more difficult to design into a website than other promotional graphics, but the effort can be worth it for the sense of urgency they inspire.
Entire stores have been built on quantity discounts, such as Sam’s Club or Costco. For ecommerce sites, this promotion can be used to reward customers who purchase a large number of products. It works best when used in tiers, with the price per unit decreasing between each one.
Like with other ecommerce website design tips, if you use this pricing strategy make sure your website visitors know it exists. Knowing each tiers’ limits can entice a consumer to buy that extra bit more to get a discount per unit, even if it increases their total bill.
Your product pages should display the different tiers and pricing for each. People who buy in bulk have a lot of money to spend, but they’re also always looking for ways to save. If your ecommerce site clearly provides them a way to do it, they are more likely to make a purchase.
Shoppers aren’t just looking for the cheapest price but rather the cheapest overall cost. Amazon’s free shipping took the ecommerce world by storm, and many other retailers adopted the practice. This means ecommerce sites are competing on total price, shipping included. Offering free shipping, on all purchases or just select ones, is more likely to get you a sale.
Free shipping is nearly a commodity for online shoppers. They expect it to be offered, but they also understand it can be conditional. Thus, when designing your website, display shipping information everywhere – product pages, shopping carts, and the checkout process.
For example, a free shipping promotion strategy could declare every product as eligible for free shipping along with any criteria to receive free shipping. Adding a product to the cart announces whether the threshold or criteria have been met. Once the shopper has met or exceeded the criteria the order shipping amount is displayed along with the free shipping discount amount.
A website is the only part of your business an ecommerce shopper sees. As such, it needs to clearly promote any offers you are running, allow visitors to find and understand those offers, and all of its functions need to work together seamlessly. A bad experience doesn’t only prevent a sale; it encourages the shopper to warn others away. Make your percentage-off sales easy to understand, your BOGO promotions easy to find, and your limited time offers clearly stated. Offer free shipping and have a rewards program. Then you truly will have a well-designed ecommerce website.