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29 Sales Promotion Ideas: Stand Out From The Competition

Published June 13, 2022
/ Updated April 17, 2024

A sales promotion is an incentive offered by a company to encourage consumers to buy a product or service. They’re a great way to drive new and recurring purchases, although sometimes it can be challenging to develop novel ideas that will excite your customers.

In this article, we’ll cover 29 sales promotion ideas that will help you stand out from the competition and drive more revenue.

Sales Promotion Basics

1. Discounts

Discounts are one of the most common and effective sales promotion ideas. You can offer them in various ways, such as a percentage or dollar amount off of the purchase price. Discounts are popular with customers because they provide a good value.

Sumo even has a case study showing how one company made 6,573 sales by using a simple 10% discount popup.

2. Coupons

Coupons give customers the feeling of exclusivity since they receive an offer that not all shoppers can access. Unlike discounts that are typically accessible to anybody purchasing the product, coupons can be given to customers as a thank you for purchasing, as a birthday reward, or as an incentive to sign up for a newsletter.

Coupons are so popular that a 2020 survey found that 88 percent of respondents stated that they used coupons for shopping.

3. Rebates

Rebates offer customers a refund or credit on their purchase price in the form of a coupon, voucher, or cash. Rebates are a popular incentive because they give customers money back, which can be used to buy more products or services.

Menards, for example, offers a wide variety of rebates on their products whenever you complete and mail in a rebate form.

4. Vouchers

A voucher is a certificate or document that can be exchanged for a product or service. They’re often used as a promotional incentive, as customers can redeem them for discounts or free products and services in the future.

For example, during the pandemic, many airline companies like Delta Airlines offered vouchers to customers who had to re-book their travel plans.

5. Cashback

Cashback is a reward that gives customers a percentage of their purchase price back in the form of “cash” that entices them to return to purchase another item at the same company. An example of this is the Kohl’s Cash program which gives you $10 in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 you spend at their store.

It’s a popular incentive because it allows customers to get money back, which can be later used to buy more products or services from the same company.

6. Free (Samples & Trials)

Whether you’re selling dog treats or enterprise software, offering free samples and trials is a great way to introduce customers to your product or service. They allow customers to try out a product or service before buying it.

Companies like Sephora offer free samples of their products, allowing customers to try them before they commit to purchasing a larger quantity.

7. Bundles

Bundles are a great way to offer customers a discount on multiple products. They’re popular with customers because they provide good value, and you can either promote a bundle of the same or different products.

The Shopify bundle app, WideBundle, tweeted that they estimate in April 2022, their users generated an extra 28.9% in revenue on Shopify by using their app to bundle products together and increase shopper AOV.

8. Terms

You can also implement sales promotion ideas in terms of your product. These terms could involve an extended payment term in which customers can pay for a product or service over an extended period.

According to the ‘buy now, pay later’ platform Afterpay, “the buy now, pay later approach maximizes customer purchasing power: their retailers report as much as a 50% increase in average order value, and 2-3x more units per transaction.”

Alternatively, you could also offer an extended use promotion in which customers can use a product or service for an extended time at a discount or for free. Some companies implement this strategy by offering customers a discounted rate when they attempt to cancel a subscription. This provides an extra incentive for the customer to stay subscribed longer.

Sales Promotion Theories

9. “Buy One Get One” (BOGO)

Buy one get one, also known as BOGO, is a sales promotion tactic in which customers purchase one item and are offered a percent off or a free product for their second item. This promotion is typically used to upsell more of the same product; however, it can also be used as a cross-sell promotion for a related product.

According to a study by AMG, 66% of respondents say that they like BOGO promotions more than other popular promotions.

10. “But Wait! There’s More…”

The “But wait! There’s more…” sales promotion tactic is often used in informercials to increase the product’s perceived value. This statement is usually followed by offering a second product free of charge, faster shipping, or a free related product.

Take the Billy Mays OxiClean infomercial, for instance. Near the end of the infomercial, he sweetens the deal with additional products and a larger tub of OxiClean.

11. “Don’t Delay, Act Fast”

The “don’t delay, act fast” statement implies that there’s only a limited time before the offer sells out or the sale is over. This sales promotion theory prompts customers to purchase items sooner rather than later over the fear of missing out.

You’ll also see the “don’t delay, act fast” statement used in many infomercials like the one mentioned above or even with e-commerce stores that implement a countdown timer. According to Shopify, an A/B test done by WhichTestWon showed that a webpage with a countdown timer converted 9% better than one without.

12. “Exclusive Offer Only For…”

The “exclusive offer only for…” sales promotion theory helps your business market to specific segments of your audience. For example, if you have a part of your email list of top purchasers of your product, you can send them an exclusive offer for being loyal supporters of your products.

Alternatively, you can also offer customers exclusive discounts or benefits like Target does for their Red Card members.

Sales Promotion Programs

13. Lifestyle Discount Programs

Lifestyle discount programs offer customers discounts on products and services related to their lifestyles. For example, a health-conscious person might receive discounts on gym memberships and healthy foods, while a nature lover might get deals on outdoor equipment and trips.

The insurance company, Vitality, rewards customers who live a healthy lifestyle by allowing them to earn Vitality points which they can then redeem for rewards.

14. Referral Discount Programs

Salespeople are always looking for new leads, and a referral discount program is a great way to incentivize customers to refer their friends and family. When someone refers a new customer, they can receive a discount on their next purchase, or even a gift card or other prize.

Uber implemented a referral program to help grow its user base, and according to Viral-loops, the referral program has around a 12x ROI.

15. Review Discount Programs

In a review discount program, customers are rewarded with a discount or bonus for writing a product or service review. These reviews can be a great way to increase customer loyalty and build trust.

Jasper.ai is an AI writing software tool that uses a review discount program to encourage users to leave a review on popular platforms like Trustpilot, where they’ve amassed over 2,500 reviews.

16. Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are a great way to reward your customers for their loyalty and increase customer retention. You can stand out from the competition and boost your sales by providing your customers with incentives to keep coming back.

Fast-food companies like Mcdonald’s will sometimes implement these programs by providing you with stickers where if you purchase seven hot beverages, your eight one is free.

17. Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs allow content creators, influencers, and other businesses to earn a commission on every purchase they refer. By partnering with others and leveraging their audience, you can reach more people and drive more traffic to your site without increasing marketing costs.

In fact, by implementing and building quality affiliate program partnerships, Bespoke grew its partner revenue by 296%.

Timed Promotion Ideas

18. Flash Sales

A flash sale is a sale that either lasts a limited amount of time or where a limited quantity of products is offered at a discount. Flash sales are popular because they provide an incentive for customers to purchase items quickly.

Bed Bath and Beyond runs flash sales frequently and alerts customers via their website and email newsletter.

19. Recurring Sales

Recurring Sales are a great way to stand out from the competition and build anticipation. Amazon Prime Day is an excellent example of a recurring sales promotion that generates a lot of buzz each year.

You can also implement a recurring sale for your brand, whether once every three months, six months, or yearly.

20. Seasonal Sales

Seasonal sales offer customers discounts on products or services specifically related to the current or upcoming season. This can be a great way to encourage customers to buy items they may not have considered otherwise.

Take ‘Home Depot’s Spring it On’ event, which features sales revolving around everything you need for spring and summer.

21. Off-Season & Closeout Sales

During off-season & closeout sales, businesses offer discounts on seasonal items that are no longer in demand. Offering a lower price is a great way to clear out inventory and make room for new products.

Rona, for example, frequently runs off-season & closeout sales for things like snowblowers once the winter season ends.

22. Abandoned Cart Promotions

An abandoned cart is a shopping cart left inactive, usually because the customer has either changed their mind or become distracted by something else. Abandoned cart promotions are a great way to recover sales from potential customers who are still on the fence about whether or not to purchase.

According to a case study by OptiMonk, Bullets2Bandages reduced their abandonment rate by 31%, recapturing what otherwise would have been lost revenue.

Additional Sales Promotion Ideas

23. Gift Cards

Gift cards are a tangible reminder of your company and conveniently allow customers to purchase your products or services. Additionally, gift cards make for a great gift idea during holidays like Christmas, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s Day, etc.

According to Research Dive, the global gift cards market size expects to garner revenue of $1,396.01 billion in the 2021-2028 timeframe. Right now, businesses have a fantastic opportunity to generate extra revenue through gift card sales.

24. Charitable Causes & Donations

Being a company that cares about important causes and makes charitable donations can help instill trust in your customers and make them feel good about supporting your business. You can use this to your advantage by promoting your charitable giving on your website and social media platforms. Doing so can help increase brand awareness and create a positive image for your business.

TenTree plants ten trees every time you make a purchase, which has helped them raise awareness for both their brand and cause.

25. Free Shipping & Returns

Free shipping and returns are a great way to entice customers to shop with you. It’s also an excellent way to show your customers that you’re confident in the quality of your products and that you’re willing to back them up with a hassle-free return policy.

According to a tweet by Redde Payments, nearly half of all shoppers won’t add an item to their cart if shipping isn’t included, so it’s a good idea to at least try offering free shipping.

26. Joint Co-Marketing

Joint co-marketing is an excellent way for businesses to promote their products or services together. Businesses can pool their resources and reach a larger audience by working together. Companies can utilize this marketing strategy in various ways, such as co-branded advertisements, joint marketing campaigns, or even product collaborations.

There are many examples of companies collaborating and successfully promoting their products to each other’s audiences. Just take the Yeezy and Adidas collaboration, for example.

27. Contests

Contests can be an exciting way to get people interested in a product or service. Your business can also use them to generate leads, increase brand awareness, and even have the potential to go viral on social media if the prize is good enough.

Potato chip brand Pringles, for example, ran a contest asking people to guess the chip flavor for a chance to win $10,000.

28. Giveaways

Businesses can use giveaways to attract new customers or to reward loyal ones. Giveaways can be in the form of discounts, free products, or even experiences.

Try CoSchedule’s Marketing Giveaway Generator to boost interactions in seconds!

Many brands, like Curver, run giveaways on their social media platforms where you can enter by doing things such as following their page, inviting a friend, or liking a post.

29. Branded Gifts

Last but not least, giving away branded gifts is another great sales promotion idea. People feel like they’ve been rewarded with a free gift, and it also indirectly creates brand awareness for your company whenever they wear a branded t-shirt or ball cap out in public.

Nordstrom, for instance, provides a free cosmetic bag and body balm with the purchase of Yves Saint Laurent fragrance.