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8 ways to jumpstart your promotions strategy using Commerce Layer.

October 23, 2023 Seth Bindernagel

SunGod is on a mission to help everyone see better. They’re really cool shades are worn by athletes around the world, whether it's Welsh super cyclist Geraint Thomas or F1 racer Lando Norris. But another part of SunGod’s mission states that “our planet is our playground”. The SunGod team (our customer, btw) is serious about getting people outside and into the gear they need to be most comfortable when performing at their best.

So, it made a lot of sense when SunGod partnered this past summer with Strava on a creative promotion that drove some serious brand awarness and sold a lot of sunglasses. Strava is the largest sports community in the world, with over 100 million athletes in 195 countries. They’ve done an amazing job creating a “niche community” that is a brand new channel for sports-gear marketers. SunGod took notice, launching “The Design Your SunGods Challenge.” Any Strava athlete who completed 60 minutes of a qualifying activity between July 15th through July 23rd would receive a 20% discount on their next purchase. Plus, they entered a chance to win £500/$650 voucher and receive a bespoke, hand-painted SunGod design. (I did the challenge. Pics below.)

The Design Your SunGods Strava Challenge

When this promotion ended, SunGod had amassed 25,875 athletes as part of their Strava Community, a high-intent audience in a new channel. While SunGod does not share numbers publicly, they assured me that is was a very successful effort. They set their promotion‘s rules within the Commerce Layer promotions engine, an enterprise-grade API that businesses can use to power all types of promotions. (We’ll talk more about what’s to come from us a little bit later in this post.)

Why should you consider promotions

Brands use promotions for a number of reasons:

  • Drive traffic
  • Attract new customers
  • Retain customers for repeat purchases
  • Boost sales
  • Build brand
  • Expand their touchpoints and channels

In this clearly evolving landscape of online retail, standing out requires more than just a great product. Ecommerce promotions and discounts have become essential. Creative ecommerce promotions and discount ideas will help not only increase revenue, but also build a loyal customer base.

8 types of creative promotions to consider and how Commerce Layer solves for them

According to Forbes, 77 million people shopped online for Cyber Monday in 2022. Because promotions are core to nearly every brand doing business online, we’ve created a list that presents the most common promotion types and how Commerce Layer might help you build and support each of them.

  • Flash Sales and Limited-Time Offers

Creating a sense of urgency is a powerful psychological trigger. It prompts customers to take immediate action before a deal disappears. Brands often present significant discounts on selected products for a short period, promoting them prominently on a website and through email marketing.

Our promotions engine offers several attributes to help define a time-spefic promotion, such as an activation time (based on the starts_at attribute) and an end time (expires_at). The example is simple, yet there is much so more to explore.

  • Tiered Discounts

Incentivize customers to spend more to unlock higher discounts. This not only encourages larger purchases, but also provides a feeling of accomplishment as customers move up the tiers.

Our Buy X, Pay Y API resource is the key to offering tiered discounts. For instance, you might create an offer for a customer to order three items to unlock a discount. Tiers can be calculated on the order amount however you choose.

  • Bundle Deals

Create value-packed bundles by grouping related products together at a discounted price. Bundle deals not only help increase the average order value, but also introduce customers to new products they might not have considered before.

The SKU List promotion rules can power this use case. Let’s say you're selling skincare products, you might offer a "Complete Skincare Set" (aka "bundle) with a cleanser, a moisturizer, and a serum at a discounted rate compared to buying them individually.

  • Loyalty Programs

Reward your repeat customers with loyalty programs that offer exclusive discounts, early access to sales, or points that can be redeemed for future purchases. Loyalty programs not only encourage customer retention but also foster a sense of community and belonging among your shoppers.

Use Commerce Layer to manage loyalty programs using the Tags and Customer Groups resources with the Customers App. Watch this video to get a primer. In it, we reference both our Tags functionality and managing customer groups.

  • Abandoned Cart Discounts

Combat cart abandonment by sending targeted emails to customers who left items in their cart without completing the purchase. Include a personalized discount to incentivize them to finalize their order. This can be a gentle nudge that converts potential lost sales into successful transactions.

We’ve prepared a how-to blog post that shows exactly how you might create an abandon cart email. Using this guide, you can inject any number of promotions that might fit. Consider A|B testing promotions across segments.

  • Social Media Contests and Giveaways

Engage your audience on social media platforms by hosting contests and giveaways that require participants to like, share, comment, or in the case of Strava, complete a challenge. This not only increases your brand's visibility but also encourages user-generated content and interactions.

Use our free gift resource to differentiate your promotion.

  • Holiday and Seasonal Promotions

Align your promotions with major holidays and seasons to tap into the festive spirit and capitalize on increased consumer spending.

Our Fixed Price, Fixed Amount, and Percentage Discount promotion types are all available for seasonal promotion. Use any of these for times like Black Friday when your biggest special discounts will attract attention and encourage purchases.

  • Refer-a-Friend Discounts

Harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing by offering discounts to customers who refer friends to your store. When their friends make a purchase, both the referrer and the new customer can receive a discount. This not only expands your customer base but also cultivates a sense of community around your brand.

Our Fixed Price, Fixed Amount, Free Gift, and Percentage Discount promotions can all be tied to referral campaigns. Or, leverage our external promotions resource to do even more. This blog post illustrates a great example on how to use our external promotions resource.

What promotions functionality is coming from Commerce Layer?

The Commerce Layer promotional engine is already rock solid and does a lot. And there’s even more great stuff to come. Let's preview what you can expect from us in the near-term to round out how we solve for all edge cases. Here’s a peak at the roadmap:

  • A dedicated Promotions App

We’re shipping a dedicated promotions app for your entire team to use. Your marketers will soon be able to use a UI designed for building promotion rules and applying them to promotions.

  • Product-level promotions

Your business will be able to group discounts by sets of SKUs, or even customers, using our Tags functionality. For example, let’s say your business is a large shoe retailer. You might want to offer a discount on all running shoes for Global Running Day. Tags will expose discounts for the groups of products specified.

  • Easy retrieval of promotional prices

Currently, we apply a total discount as a line item in the cart if a promotion was applied. Going forward, we will offer line-item promotions, making it easier to see which discounts are applied to which prices.

  • Expanding our shipping promotions

We plan to expand the free shipping promotion to offer your customers more granularity. Coming soon, you will be able to offer free shipping by methods listed in your checkout.

Wrapping it up

In the world of ecommerce, creativity and innovation are key to staying ahead of the curve. SunGod typified this with their Design Your SunGods Challenge. By implementing a creative ecommerce promotion, they enhanced customer engagement on a new channel with Strava. They also drove mega sales and further exstablished their strong and loyal customer base. Just look at that 25,000 athlete community they built! The future is bright. The key for SunGod, and something everyone should take into account, is that they understood where their audience is and what would motivate them. They experimented with a new channel to stay ahead of the curve and outshine their competition.

Ping me if you want to learn more about the SunGod challenge. I actually used to work at Strava, so I can speak about both.

Want to see it in action? Request a demo.