Best Ecommerce Discount Strategies to Know & Use

Amanda AmoreCoupon Experience

Best Ecommerce Discount Strategies to Know & Use

Ecommerce discount strategies are pretty much non-negotiable. In today’s advanced online marketplace, it’s not enough to simply offer discounts. In order for your brand to thrive online, you need to have an intentional plan for how, when, why, and to whom discounts are being offered.

What is an Ecommerce Discount Strategy?

An ecommerce discount strategy is a plan put in place by online retailers to offer various types of discounts and promotions to their customers, for specific reasons. Simply put, an ecommerce discount strategy explains those questions above: How will discounts be offered? At what point in the funnel will discounts appear? What are we hoping to achieve by offering discounts? And finally, which shoppers will receive the discount?  

As with any type of ecommerce strategy, it’s crucial to gather data and analyze the results of your ecommerce discount strategy. Did it accomplish your goal? Did it uncover any additional insights? How can you use this data to adjust and improve your strategy going forward? 

Here are a few of the top-performing ecommerce discount strategies. 

Best Ecommerce Discount Strategies to Use

Free Shipping

Plain and simple, free shipping makes consumers more likely to shop. This incentive improves the online experience and removes the barrier that shipping costs create. Most importantly, shoppers believe free shipping to be convenient, and convenience shapes shoppers’ behavior.

But, it’s actually about more than simply slashing a shipping cost. There’s an entire psychology behind free shipping. To summarize, free shipping often beats out percentage discounts because humans prefer the word “free” and don’t want to invest the brain power of fractions and percentages while shopping. This is great news for businesses because free shipping results in brand loyalty, increased conversion rates, and a boost in average order value

Tiered Incentives

Speaking of boosting average order value, nothing does so quite like a tiered incentive. This is a discount strategy that increases the incentive, each time shoppers meet a certain threshold. For example, you may offer free shipping to all shoppers, but upgrade the incentive to free shipping plus 5% off for shoppers who have $50 or more in their cart. This strategy essentially rewards shoppers for spending more, and gives them the excitement of qualifying for increased rewards.

New Customer Discounts

Not everyone will convert on their first visit to your website. That’s why one very important discount strategy is one that targets first-time shoppers. One way to offer new customers discounts, even after they leave your site, is through a lead capture. This can offer new shoppers a discount in exchange for providing their email address. You can even ask them to sign up for your newsletter in the process. This helps you build your email list, while incentivizing hesitant first-time shoppers to give your brand a chance, and maybe even become loyal repeat customers. 

Email Remarketing Incentives

New customer and newsletter emails are only two of the many forms of email remarketing. Emails can deliver exclusive discounts straight to your shoppers’ inboxes in the crucial hours, days, and weeks after they visit your website. This is the perfect time and place for a special incentive to be offered. 

With highly-relevant remarketing emails, shoppers are given a convenient path to conversion. UpSellit’s emails support online profitability through one-to-one personalization, true-to-brand designs, and dynamic content.


Offering subscriptions or recurring order options is a great way for a business to get repeat purchases. You may be thinking that this isn’t a discount, but you can absolutely position it that way to your shoppers. It’s common for subscriptions to cost less overall, so the key is to put that information front and center. When shoppers are browsing an à la carte item or have it in their cart, you can reiterate the amount they would save by signing up for a subscription instead. 

Cart Rebuilder With Exclusive Discounts

As we mentioned earlier, not everyone will convert  while they are actually on your website for the first time. But that doesn’t mean they are not interested. This is especially true for shoppers who abandon your site with an active cart. 

That’s why one very important discount strategy is one that targets active cart shoppers. One way to give them the little nudge they need, even after they leave your site, is through a cart rebuilder. This targets abandoned active cart shoppers with highly-personalized remarketing emails that include their cart contents and an exclusive discount. This reminds shoppers of the value of their selected items, keeps your brand top of mind, and incentivizes them to complete their purchase. 

Flash Sale Discounts

Inciting urgency can be a very effective ecommerce discount strategy. Flash sales create urgency by placing limited-time discounts on certain items. This entices your shoppers to impulse buy, as well as to check out non-sale items while they browse your site. 

When it comes to flash sales, grabbing attention is key. One great way to do that is through bold designs and alluring messaging. Another way is through exciting and interactive design elements such as timers and gamified campaigns. 

Seasonal Markdowns

If you thought you couldn’t have an ecommerce discount strategy just because your brand prefers not to use coupons, think again. A well-crafted discount strategy can use a variety of tactics to rise to the challenge of meeting performance goals without relying on coupons.

One tactic is leveraging seasonal markdowns. UpSellit’s Price Monitor technology regularly tracks price fluctuations, such as seasonal markdowns. These offers can be reiterated to abandoning shoppers who may have missed them. This can decrease abandonment probability and move shoppers down the conversion path. The best part: this doesn’t require offering any new discount at all. This is simply reiterating an existing offer to the right shoppers at the perfect time. 

Regain Control of Your Discount Strategies

Ecommerce discount strategies are necessary for your brand to thrive online. We would even go as far as to say they are non-negotiable. UpSellit helps you create a personalized and intentional plan for how, when, why, and to whom discounts are being offered. With the right discount strategy in place, your brand can leverage incentives to meet a number of ecommerce goals. 

Looking for More Ways to Increase Your Conversions?

Check out UpSellit’s 15 Ways to Boost Engagement and Acquisition to learn how we help retailers increase conversions. It’s an incredible resource and it’s completely FREE.

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