Marketing your business can be a challenge, especially as competition in the digital space grows. On Shopify alone, the number of ecommerce stores that use the hosting service has nearly doubled in the last year. To keep up, every ecommerce brand needs to try a variety of marketing tactics to find new customers and keep existing ones.

Here are a few ecommerce promotion ideas worth trying this year. Bookmark it for later so you can come back when you're ready to try a new tactic.

1. Free samples or gifts

Incentivize customers to shop with you by offering freebies. This could be a physical product, digital download, or even just a coupon code for their next purchase. These gifts can be promoted on product pages if they come with a specific item.

You can offer them in the shopping cart to encourage customers to reach a certain cart value. Or you could offer time-based freebies across your site to encourage people to buy now.

2. At-home try ons

If you sell apparel or other products that require sizing, consider an at-home try-on program. This lets customers order a few items to try at home without the sinking feeling of charging hundreds of dollars to their credit card. Not only does this improve the customer experience, but it also helps boost sales because there's less perceived risk in trying a new product.

Offer to send a few items for free or allow customers to choose a second size without paying extra.

3. Bundle products

Bundle together items that complement each other or are often purchased together to increase average order value. For example, if you're a skincare brand, you could create a bundle of products by skin type so that customers can get everything they need at once.

This makes it easier for customers to find what they're looking for and encourages them to add more items to their cart.

4. Subscriptions

You can offer subscriptions for replenishable items like contact lenses or coffee. It's a great way to encourage customers to keep coming back. Or, if you're like MeUndies and release new prints, colors, or versions of a product regularly, you can offer subscriptions on these items, too.

With subscriptions, customers can save money and time, and ecommerce shops can automate re-purchases.

5. Product recommendation quizzes

Product recommendation quizzes are a fun way to engage potential customers and help them find the perfect product for their needs. Especially if you have lots of similar products, like false lash brand Doe Beauty, a quiz on your website can help shoppers sift through the options and make it easier to purchase.

6. Upselling offers

Upselling offers are a great way to encourage customers to spend more by promoting products similar to the ones they're about to buy. For example, if someone's about to purchase a lower-end digital camera, you might suggest a slightly more expensive one with advanced features. It's an easy way to target customers with a product they're probably interested in and increase average order value.

7. Bulk discounts

Offering discounts on multi-item purchases is a great way to encourage customers to stock up on products they know they'll need. This could be anything from garbage bags to shampoo. By offering a discount for purchasing in bulk, you can move inventory, increase ecommerce sales, and solidify a customer's habit of using your products so they'll come back for more.

8. Checkout promotions

Checkout promotions are a great way to increase cart values by encouraging customers to buy more before or after purchasing. For example, you could offer limited-time discounts on bestselling items at the checkout. Or after a customer has purchased, you can suggest adding products to their order with a deep discount that's only available to them right now.

9. Abandoned cart messages

Adding abandoned cart sequences to your email and SMS marketing strategy is a great way to recover lost sales and boost revenue. You can set up automated messages that go out to customers with items in their cart but didn't complete the purchase. These messages often include a discount or other incentive to encourage them to return and finish their order.

10. Winback flows

Winback flows are a great way to engage customers that haven't shopped in a while. You can set up automated messages that go out to customers who haven't visited your online store in a set time period. In those messages, you can recommend new products, offer a discount or incentive to return, or update customers on any company news that might bring them back, like more sustainable fabrics in your products, and help them fall in love with your brand all over again.

11. Free shipping and returns

Free shipping and returns mean less friction for prospective customers to buy. Free shipping and returns can increase conversion rates by assuring customers that there's no investment on their side to try a product they're not totally sure about. Depending on your product margins, you might want to offer a free shipping promotion when customers spend a minimum amount. That can also help boost cart value.

12. New subscriber benefits

When someone subscribes to your email or SMS list, they're already interested in your brand. So you can encourage them to make their first purchase by offering discounts or other benefits, like free shipping. You can promote this offer in your welcome flow, on social media, and on specific pages of your ecommerce store where you collect their contact info.

13. Loyalty programs

A customer loyalty or rewards program helps you incentivize customers to shop with you again. Often, these programs work by giving loyal customers points for every purchase. Those can be redeemed for discounts or other benefits, like free shipping, gifts, or access to special events like sales and product launches.

14. Referral programs

Shoppers rely on friends and family as their  #1 source for product recommendations. So encourage more of this behavior by incentivizing referrals. Dish out loyalty points or discounts to customers who recommend your brand.

15. Perks for customer reviews

Customer reviews are help you drive sales because they're a valuable source of social proof for your ecommerce business. Incentivize customers to leave reviews by offering loyalty points, discounts, or other benefits. Then you can use reviews on product pages, in paid ads, or email and text campaigns.

16. Contests and giveaways

Generate buzz and excitement around your brand through contests and giveaways. You can use social media, email marketing, and paid ads to promote your contest or giveaway and offer relevant prizes to your products or target market.

17. Review sites

Product review sites like The Wirecutter or Thingtesting can help shoppers with a high intent to purchase find your brand. Reach out to these sites to get your brand featured.

18. Partnerships with other brands

Partner with other brands your target audience is likely to shop with to promote each other's products. You can do this through social media takeovers, co-branded content, or joint giveaways and contests.

19. Influencers

Influencers have put in the work to build up a following that trusts their recommendations. So launch influencer marketing campaigns to spread brand awareness with content creators who can speak directly to your target audience. You can find relevant influencers in your industry or niche using platforms like Aspire or Grin.

20. PR publications

PR publications in your industry can help get your brand in front of a new audience. Reach out to these publications with unique stories to get your brand featured. Think things like product innovation, a unique founder story, or causes your products support that make your brand stand out.

21. Blogging

Start a blog to support your site's SEO (search engine optimization) strategy. A blog can help increase brand awareness that could eventually turn readers into customers. Share your brand story, product news, and content that would be helpful to your target audience. Optimize all your articles for search to help with discoverability.

22. Podcasts

Podcasts can help you reach new audiences and build brand awareness. You can be a guest on relevant shows or sponsor podcasts to spread the word. Offer exclusive discounts to listeners to encourage sales and help you track impact.

23. Flash sales promotion

A flash sale can help you drive traffic to your site and generate excitement around your products. Offer discounts on select products for a limited time only to create a sense of urgency. You can promote your flash sale through social media, email, text, and paid ads.

24. Discounts in line with the calendar

Holidays are an ideal time to offer discounts on your products, especially if your products are giftable! Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, and Christmas are some of the most popular gift-giving holidays in the US. You can also take advantage of graduations in May and June and wedding season in the summer.

Depending on your products and your audience, use the calendar to inspire shoppers to buy when they're likely to make purchases anyways.

25. Pro deals

Many brands offer "pro deals" to other professionals in the industry. For example, workers in the outdoors industry can shop gear on Outdoor Pro Link for deep discounts that can't be found anywhere else. You can run a program like this on your own website for other professionals in your industry.

26. Special discount programs

Special discount programs for groups like the military, veterans, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, students, teachers, first responders, and more can help you reach new audiences while supporting the causes your brand cares about.

27. Limited edition products

Release limited edition products to create excitement and encourage customers to buy before they're gone. Revamp old products with a new design or flavor and tell shoppers you won't be restocking them. So now is the only time to buy!

28. Omnichannel selling

Did you know? If you sell on three or more marketplaces, you can sell five times as much than if you sell on just one. So go beyond your website and make it easy for customers to discover and buy your products no matter where they are. In addition to your website, sell on popular marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. You can also reach shoppers through social media platforms with social commerce features like Instagram and Facebook.

Bolster your marketing strategy with SMS

There you have it! 28 ecommerce promotion ideas to help drive online sales. Which ones will you try first?

Remember, the key to success is to mix and match different promotion ideas to find what works best for your business. Track your campaign results to see what's working and adjust accordingly.

As you test out different ecommerce promotion ideas, you'll want to make a seamless customer experience along the way. One way to do that is by using SMS marketing.

With SMS, you can build relationships with your subscribers, promote sales, connect your loyalty program, recommend products, run abandoned cart flows, help customers with customer service issues, and more. It really ties together the entire customer experience.

Emotive's best-in-class SMS marketing platform even enables product purchases in the text thread. What's more, our white glove services help you write copy for your campaigns, respond to customer inquiries, and craft your SMS strategy.

Sign up for a demo to discover how SMS can be your next best revenue stream with Emotive.