21 Ecommerce Discount Strategies That Actually Work (2023)
Ecommerce discount strategies should be used as a tool to solve specific problems within the business.
When done correctly, discounts can be effective in growing your business. However, it should not be the main strategy you rely on to bring in sales.
1. Exit Intent Popup Discount
When a customer attempts to leave your site without making a purchase, an exit intent popup discount can be a good strategy to employ to change their mind and capture lost sales.
You may not be able to convince all site visitors to make a purchase, but if your popup offers something of value, like free shipping or a certain percentage off their first order, it could be enough to gain the sale.
Time a popup to appear when a customer goes to leave the site or is idle too long in order to implement this discount strategy.
2. Abandoned Cart Discount
Over half of online shoppers will abandon a cart during an online shopping session due to hidden costs or shipping fees.
One discount tactic to recoup these lost sales is to offer a discount to these customers.
Your discount could remind them of their initial interest in your products and could drive them to complete the purchase at a lower total cost.
A good way to implement this discount pricing strategy is to send follow-up emails about the abandoned cart reminding them of the products they were interested in.
3. Free Shipping Discount
Shipping costs are one of the main reasons why online shoppers will abandon a cart.
So, a good discounting strategy is to offer free shipping when a customer makes a purchase over a certain amount.
This strategy can boost sales in a few different ways. It may encourage the customer to spend more than they may have to achieve free shipping.
Plus it will get rid of some of the friction they face when shipping costs add to the total value of their purchase.
4. Subscription Discount
Ecommerce stores may provide a discount if customers subscribe to their mailing list or newsletter.
In this way, brands can reward loyal customers who are willing to engage with the brand, normally through a special offer in exchange for their email address.
This will allow stores to target customers in the future and reach them for future campaigns or promotions.
Have a popup appear when someone first visits the site in order to collect their email address, which could help you generate future sales from them over the long run.
5. Bundle Discount
Product bundling can help online stores bring in more sales by offering curated collections of their products at a discount from buying them each individually.
The products bundled together should be complementary to one another, offering good value to the individual.
This discount offering could bring in more revenue from casual browsers who show interest in just one of the products initially but like the idea of the additional discounted products, they’ll receive just from paying a bit more.
So, the store gets more revenue than they would have otherwise, and the customer gets more value than they would have from just buying the single product.
6. Location-Based Discount
Some locations are more expensive than others to ship to, which could discourage consumers in certain regions from purchasing from your brand.
We already know that high shipping costs can turn away potential customers, so ecommerce stores may need to mitigate this issue if they want to do business in certain areas of the country or the globe.
Sellers can offer a discount to people who live in certain areas in order to cut back on the high shipping costs they face, which can drive sales in those regions.
7. Selling at a Loss Discount
Small online stores that already operate with slim margins may not like the idea of selling at a loss.
But, this can be a good way to bring in new customers and generate profit later on in the sales funnel, even if they face a short-term pinch in cash flow.
Offering a steep pricing discount can be an effective way of bringing in sales from new customers who will make repeat purchases in the future at full price.
8. Referral Discount
One of the best discount types that ecommerce stores can utilize is to offer a discount to existing customers who refer someone to the brand.
In this way, you can leverage word-of-mouth marketing efforts from customers who already know and love your products. Essentially, it creates local salespeople out of your customers.
You will only offer a discount if the referred person makes a sale, rewarding the previous customer from spreading the good news about your store.
9. Buy One, Give One
This isn’t necessarily one of the discount pricing strategies online sellers can offer customers.
However, it can be a good way to set them apart from competitors through their involvement in social causes.
Buy one, give one strategies mean that when a customer makes a purchase, the same item or equivalent value will be donated to a worthy cause.
For instance, think of brands that will plant a tree for every shirt purchased from their shop.
Even though this isn’t a customer discount directly, it can still boost sales for ecommerce stores.
10. Future Discount
Another discount offer you can employ is offering customers a future percentage off or free shipping after making a purchase.
This means you are receiving full price on the current sale and are encouraging them to make a repeat purchase in the future.
Even if they don’t ever utilize the discount in the future, it’s a good way to incentivize a full-price purchase that you may not have been able to capture otherwise.
Once a customer makes a purchase, send a follow-up email with details on how they can redeem this offer on future purchases.
11. Free Gift With Purchase
Providing a free gift with purchase is another offer strategy to boost sales for your online store.
While customers won’t receive discount pricing, they’re still getting more value included with their purchase at no additional cost.
This helps stores bring in more revenue without cutting into the margins too much on their sales.
The free gifts offered should be enough value to bring in more sales, though not enough that it creates a loss for the business.
12. First-Time Customer Discount
Consider employing a new customer discount to entice people to make their initial purchase with your ecommerce store.
This may even help your brand stand out from competitors with potential customers.
When shopping online, it can be difficult to convince new customers to make their first purchase because they can’t test out the products beforehand in person.
Thus, lowering the barriers by offering a good discount could be all they need to take the leap and complete the purchase.
So, consider offering free shipping, a discount, or a free gift to customers who make their first purchase from your store.
13. Buy One, Get One Free
With a buy one, get one free strategy, customers will make a full-price purchase of an item, making them eligible to get another product for free.
This can either be two identical products, complementary products, or items of a lower value.
This is a promotional pricing strategy that’s highly effective because customers like the idea of perceived value for getting something for free.
Plus, it provides urgency to the customer to buy before they won’t be able to get two items for the value of one.
14. Pre-Order Discount
When online stores run a pre-order, they are doing so to forecast the stock more accurately they’ll need for a launch and order inventory accordingly.
Ordering too much or too little stock on a product launch can be frustrating both for the business and its customers. So in this case, they may offer an early-bird pricing strategy.
To reward customers to take part in a pre-order, they’ll often provide pricing discounts in return. This early-bird discount can help stores generate more sales before a particular item is even available.
15. Event-Based Discount
Many online stores will host event-based sales to encourage increased spending around certain holidays or events.
For stores that experience high levels of seasonality, like around the holidays, these events can be a way to generate higher sales during historical slow periods.
Black Friday events, Valentine’s Day specials, and summer sales are all examples of these types of discounts.
Stores may offer a certain percentage off of sales during this time, or offer products that are heavily discounted.
16. Tiered Spending Discount
A common discount offered on ecommerce sites is a tiered spending offering based on how much a customer spends.
The discount offered should increase based on the dollar amount the customer spends to push them to make larger purchases.
For instance, you may offer a 10% discount on purchases over $50, a 15% discount on purchases over $75, and a 20% purchase when customers spend more than $100.
These discounts can encourage already-interested customers to spend more than they would have in order to receive the larger discount.
17. Personalized Discount
Having customer data at your disposal is a great marketing resource to target sales in the future and offer more personalized products to your customer base.
To gather this data, you can incentivize customers with a discount to fill out a quiz where they provide you with their preferences, demographics, and other details that can help you serve them better in the future.
You can send such quizzes to customers’ emails and send a follow-up with details on how to redeem the discount type once they’ve completed it.
18. Flash Sale Discount
Flash sales can cause a lot of urgency to buy for customers who don’t want to miss out on a great deal. Stores can accomplish this through a limited-time sale, which will bring about more impulse buys from customers in a short period of time.
This is one of the most effective discount strategies, and can allow stores to make a lot of sales in a small time frame by offering wide discounts on their goods.
19. Loyalty Discount
It’s much cheaper to generate sales from repeat customers than it is to acquire new customers, which is why online sellers need to reward loyal customers.
You can offer loyalty discounts as a thank you to repeat customers who have shown brand appreciation and given you consistent business and revenue.
Loyalty programs come in many forms, with some ecommerce stores offering a point system based on their purchases, a discount on the anniversary of their first purchase, or other strategies to continue promoting continued business from a customer.
20. Volume Discount
When a customer makes a bulk order, it’s cheaper for the business, given that they’re only shipping to one location and dealing with one buyer to fulfill the order.
Thus, many ecommerce stores will offer price discounting on volume orders as an incentive for them to buy more. This type of pricing strategy can help online sellers bring in more sales with better margins, which is why it can be so useful.
If you adopt this strategy, you can offer a certain percentage off of the purchase total when they buy over a certain number of units.
21. Stock Clearance Discount
When an online store is trying to close out a certain outdated product or clear inventory for new stock, they may host a clearance event to accomplish this.
Oftentimes, this means the discounted product will be offered with a large percentage off. However, it’s a good way to generate sales from older products that wouldn’t bring in revenue otherwise.
The goal here is to sell as much of the product as possible to get rid of the stock. So, customers will likely need a large discount in return to purchase the unwanted product.