Category: Promotions Strategy

6 Easy-to-Implement Strategies for Holiday 2023 Promotions from Thrive Commerce

It may be October, but holiday shopping has already begun. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, 41% of consumers plan to start shopping in October or earlier, with 39% starting in November.  

Not only are consumers starting early, but budgets and deals are top of mind. Ipsos shares that 53% of consumers will only purchase items on sale and that 69% will make a “spur of the moment” purchase this holiday season.

Focusing on your holiday strategies early to capture October shoppers, highlighting deals to sale-focused consumers, and targeting impulse shoppers with best-sellers are key.

Looking for easy-to-implement strategies to help boost your holiday promotions? The Thrive Commerce team has put together five low-lift strategic ideas for Holiday 2023:

Strategic Promotions Play #1: Leverage Holiday Audience Segments to Share Exclusive Targeted Offers

In Fall 2023, Thrive Commerce launched a new way to target Offers throughout a shopper’s journey on-site. We often hear that a shopper’s experience can feel disjointed, with paid, social, affiliate, email, and SMS campaigns not continuing throughout the on-site experience. That’s where session landing page targeting comes into play.

Use targeting for:

  • Loyalty Program Exclusives
  • Holiday Segments Campaigns via Email
  • SMS Campaigns based on past Q4 purchases
  • Location-Based Promotions for In-Store offers
  • New vs. Existing Visitors
  • Traffic from Holiday Paid Media, Social & Affiliate audiences
  • Granting Audiences Early Access

Steps for Using Session Landing Page Targeting: Leverage query parameters to hide or show exclusive offers to specific audiences. Grab a parameter from your landing page (i.e., utm_campaign=blackfriday or source=email) and add it to your exclusive offer. Shoppers that land on a URL with the parameter present, like, will see the hidden offer throughout their 30-minute session on the site, even when they navigate to other pages on the website.

BEST PRACTICE #1: Add the targeted Offer to the Smart Bar, Smart Pages, and Smart Button for maximum impact.

BEST PRACTICE #2: Be sure to pin any targeted offers to the first spot on your Smart Bar, Smart Button, and Smart Pages. To do so, go to Offers > Set Order.

Strategic Promotions Play #2: Using Hidden Landing Pages to Grant Early Access (while growing your email list!)

Start by creating a landing page for early access sign-ups for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Promote the early access Offer on your Smart Bar, driving traffic to sign up for an email notification when access starts.

In tandem, create a Hidden Category within Smart Pages. Assign all early access offers to the hidden category.

Two weeks out from Black Friday/Cyber Monday, send an email blast out to those who signed up with a link to the Hidden Landing Page, granting them early access to the deals. Only traffic with the direct link can access the hidden Smart Page category.

Try using a “5 Days of Deals” campaign to encourage early-access shoppers to return multiple times to unlock different deals.

Once Black Friday/Cyber Monday is in full swing, unhide the category page to make it visible to all shoppers. Use offer tags or countdown timers to customize the promotions and drive urgency.

Strategic Promotions Play #3: Increase Shopper Engagement Through the Holidays with Frequent Offer Changes

Thrive’s Promotion Manager makes it easy to schedule or upload new Offers in minutes, making your offer content dynamic throughout the holiday season to give shoppers a reason to continue returning to the site.

Offer Scheduling
Save time by uploading Offers in bulk. You can schedule promotions in advance by leveraging the Offer start and end dates.

Low Stock or Back In Stock Custom Offer Tags
Add custom Offer tags to drive urgency around products with limited stock or favorites that are ready to ship. Labels like “Act Fast – Expected to Sell Out,” “Low Stock,” “Hot Buy, Going Fast,” and “In Stock & Ready-to-Ship” can all create positive urgency.

Offer Title: ACT FAST!
CTA: Shop Now
Custom Text Offer Tag: In Stock Ships Today
Landing Page: Product or Category URL

Promotions Manager also has a set of easy-to-use preset tags like “Exclusive,” “Featured,” or “Trending.”

Countdown Timers
Set up countdown timers during the final hours to call extra attention to the upcoming code or promotion expiration. To do so, edit your offer under Offer > Edit > Appearance and select the Countdown Timer option. Select the start date as one day before the expiration for maximum impact.

Strategic Promotions Play #4: Highlight Price Points or Best Sellers Instead of Sales

In addition to sales or sitewide promotions, drive shoppers to items or products known to convert well. Try leveraging pages by shopping price point tiers such as “Gifts under $25”, “Sneakers starting at $35”, or “Gift Guide for Mom.”

Best Sellers, Fan Favorites, Top Rated, or New Arrivals can also be highlighted in Offers, calling attention to specific items rather than a sale or code.

Strategic Promotions Play #5: Target Organic Keywords

Take advantage of holiday shopper search behavior by using targeted keywords. It’s common for shoppers to look up variations of “Your Brand + Holiday Sales 2023” and “Your Brand + Black Friday Deals” in search engines to determine when, how, and where they shop. Whether you offer a sale or not, adding these keywords to your site will help drive traffic to your site rather than affiliates or competitors.

Create landing pages for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday Promotions. Include the year in all page headers, subheaders, and copy to capture organic traffic. If re-using a Smart Page category from the previous year (recommended), audit all copy on the page to ensure the year is updated. Leverage Smart Page Start and Expiration dates to control when the page becomes visible.

Try using the suggested targeted keywords below:

Black Friday Keywords

  • Black friday deals 2023
  • Best black friday deals 2023
  • Black friday 2023 deals
  • 2023 black friday deals
  • Top black friday deals 2023
  • Black friday ads 2023
  • Black friday sales 2023

Cyber Monday Keywords

  • Cyber monday deals 2023
  • Cyber monday 2023
  • Best cyber monday deals 2023
  • Cyber monday sales 2023
  • Cyber monday deals black friday 2023
  • Cyber monday sale 2023

Holiday Keywords

  • Holiday sales 2023
  • Holiday sale 2023
  • Best holiday presents 2023
  • Holiday deals 2023
  • Best holiday deals 2023
  • Holiday gift card deals 2023
  • After christmas sales deals 2023
  • Christmas deals 2023

Not doing a big sale or code this year for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or the Holiday season? No problem! Try creating informational Offers on your page highlighting Best Sellers, Gifts under $30, or Gifts for Dad to help drive traffic to products or items you know convert well.

Strategic Promotions Play #6: Leverage Your Exit Intent Popup to Direct Shoppers to Thrive’s Holiday Deals Page

Keep shoppers on site by leveraging your exit intent popup to highlight current deals or promotions. Edit your popup to direct traffic to your Thrive Holiday Deals category page within Smart Pages.

Want to share exclusive offers with your exit intent audience? No problem! Just create a hidden category page instead.

To keep shoppers engaged, try making each day different or creating limited-time Offers.

NLC Products Increases Revenue per User with Personalized Promotions


Challenge I thrivecommerce.comNLC Products (“NLC”) owns and operates five popular websites as well as produces 15-20 million catalogs annually collectively. The top two performing online brands, and Creative Irish Gifts, experienced increases in website traffic but shopper monetization didn’t scale proportionally. NLC’s eCommerce and marketing teams identified driving incremental revenue per user as their primary goal and aimed to achieve this by lowering site abandonment from shoppers leaving to search for deals and discounts.




Centralize Sitewide Offers

To increase shopper engagement through data-driven code-based and non-code based offers.

Showcase Personalized Offers

To improve the relevance of the individual shopping experience based on session behavior.

Enhance CRM

To enrich NLC’s customer database to increase Shopper lifetime value (LTV), feature a variety of offers which require contact information to qualify for an incentive.

“Thrive’s Smart Bar provided an immediate injection of personalized content onto the site, which translated into more engaged shoppers. The Thrive team made smart, data driven recommendations of what promotions to test and optimize with, and we were able to accomplish our goal of increasing sitewide revenue per user by 6.6% and 10.4% for Creative Irish Gifts and respectively.”

Want to see the full results? Download the complete story.




Holiday 2021 Promotions Playbook from Thrive Commerce

2021 is shaping up to be unlike any other year in recent memory. The unpredictability of product availability levels and fulfillment has left merchants scrambling to formulate a plan heading into the Black Friday – Cyber Monday Shopping Season. We’ve heard three consistent themes from clients over the past few weeks. 

Theme 1 – The Holiday Shopping Season is Already Underway

Merchants and suppliers alike have been advising shoppers to shop early. The 2021 Shopping Season started early and will be an elongated shopping season where shoppers aren’t necessarily waiting for a big bang event to kick off seasonal buying.

Theme 2 – Shorter or Non-Existent Data Runway

Typically, merchants use the months and weeks leading up to the Q4 shopping season to identify buying trends and establish a promotional strategy in advance. We’ve heard from quite a few merchants that this year’s plan looks more like walking to the loading dock to see what items arrived in this week’s shipment.

Theme 3 – Fewer Juicy Promotions for Pre-Holiday List Building Requires More Rigor and Intention Behind Promotion Strategies

Many merchants start offering juicy incentives around September and October to plump their Email and SMS list sizes heading into the Flash Sales, Cyber Sales, and Black Friday Deal announcements they intend to send in November and December. However, with fewer products on hand and increased shipping costs (and in some cases, higher return rates), merchants are forced to be more creative and intentional about how and where they can offer discounts or deals.

With these three themes in mind, we’ve created this playbook of nine ideas you can use to increase conversion rates and engage shoppers this holiday season.


Strategic Promotions Play #1: Use Product Stock Levels to Drive Buzz

Low Stock
Instead of seeing low stock as a negative product attribute, use limited stock as a marketing mechanism to drive conversion. Labels like “Act Fast – Expected to Sell Out” , “Low Stock, Only 3 Remaining In-Stock,” “Hot Buy, Going Fast” can all create positive urgency. Using low stock messaging is especially helpful when paired with your existing omnichannel automation messages such as Browse or Cart Abandonment user journeys. Instead of hiding product stock information, proudly display this as an attribute when an abandoned item is of low stock to drive positive urgency.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Check to see if any of your Most Popular or Gateway Items are in low stock. (Gateway Items are the items most frequently purchased by first-time buyers). Create an Informational Promotion in the Smart Bar to highlight the product’s low stock status. Use the product page as the Offer Landing Page to guide shoppers to drive traffic to the product or category page for low-stock items.

Raise Awareness of Back-In-Stock Items 
Many merchants already use back-in-stock alerts to strategically notify specific shoppers when an item they recently browsed, carted, or paid attention to came back in stock.  However, right now, shoppers see their favorite things out-of-stock across several websites. Instead of targeting back-in-stock notices only to a subset of customers, and/or when they are not in an active shopping session on your site, you should proactively highlight when your Most Popular or Gateway Items are back-in-stock during the actual shopping session.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
When high-priority items are back in stock after a low or no inventory period, add an Informational Promotion to your Smart Bar to highlight the product or category’s return.

Offer Title: IT’S BACK!
CTA: Shop Now
Landing Page: Product or Category URL

Leverage “In Stock & Ready-to-Ship” or “Buy Online Pickup In-Store” Product Attributes 
Shoppers quickly become banner-blind to notices at the top of eCommerce websites and cart pages announcing product shortages and delays. You can use this to your advantage by showing the inverse. Instead of highlighting delays of anticipated shipments, highlight items in stock and ready to ship or items currently available in store. Even if your company only shows in-stock items on your website, it’s worth adding a product attribute to hot sellers or gateway items to drive home the point to consumers that you have things ready for purchase.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Use your product view filters to show a listing of products with a product recommendation recipe of “For You” or similar (or Most Popular if personalized recommendations aren’t available) and filter out-of-stock items out of this view. Then, use an Informational Offer to drive traffic to this URL.

Offer Title “In Stock & Ready to Ship”
CTA: Shop “Get it Fast”
Landing Page: In-Stock Recommended Products URL (For example,

Highlight What’s New
Merchants often use Product Recommendations to highlight new items on their websites. With shipping delays throwing off intended product launch dates, it’s essential to make shoppers aware of what’s new to your site since their last visit. If you don’t already have a page on your site or a filter on your product listing page dedicated to new items, consider adding it now.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Use your product view filters to create a view of New Items. Make note of the filter’s URL. Create an Informational Offer to drive traffic to your What’s New view.

Offer Title “Just Arrived”
CTA: Shop “Shop New Items”
Landing Page: New Item Filtered View URL (For example,

Recommend Swaps
Consider proactively putting together product substitutions for the products that are likely to be out-of-stock during the peak season.

Suggesting product swaps for out-of-stock items can be accomplished by product recommendation recipes such as “Viewed This, Bought That” or by using custom content containers. If your most popular Nike shoe is out-of-stock, have a product swap content block on the Nike category page for organic search traffic to rapidly identify a replacement.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
If one of your tried-and-true fan favorites is out of stock, proactively make shoppers aware of a swap by adding an Informational Offer to your Smart Bar.

Strategic Promotions Play #2: Lean Into Loyalty

Now is a great time to introduce signup incentives for your loyalty program. For example, you can offer bonus point incentives for a shopper’s first purchase after joining your program.

You can also let stock levels guide which items to offer double or triple points on. Instead of limiting loyalty incentives to popular items which may be in low stock, you can use double or triple points to move overstock items that are on hand and ready to ship.

As you focus on building your loyalty program, you should also keep in mind that roughly 50% of the loyalty signups you gather this time of the year will go dark after December if they don’t continue to be engaged beyond the end of the year. Start thinking about your post-holiday reactivation strategy now to keep this newly acquired group engaged beyond Q4. 

Strategic Promotions Play #3: Highlight Price Points Instead of Sales

Instead of talking about what is going on sale, lean on promotions to drive product discovery. Gift shopping by price point is prevalent this time of year. Instead of highlighting discounts, drive shoppers to your product view pages bucketed by shopping price tiers such as “Gifts under $20,” “Gifts Under $30,” etc.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Instead of a dollar or percent off a category, try highlighting a price point in your next Offer. For example, instead of offering “15% off Sweaters” use an Offer such as “Sweaters for Her Starting at $49.” This will work especially well in tandem with our machine learning, which will reorder offers based on browsing.

Strategic Promotions Play #4: Build your SMS & Email Lists with Early Access Offers

Many times merchants think that in order to acquire new SMS or email subscribers they have to give something away such as a percent off or dollar off a purchase. However, Early Access Offers perform especially well this time of year. In an Early Access Offer, you can grant shoppers early access to existing pre-sales and other deal announcements in exchange for joining your list(s).

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Pair a Data Required Promotion with a Hidden Smart Pages Category Page. First, create a Hidden Category Page with Flash Sale Offers. Next, create a Data Required Promotion to drive traffic to the page.

Offer Title: Snag Early Access
Offer Type: Deal
Landing Page: Thrive Hidden Landing Page of Offers

Strategic Promotions Play #5: Don’t Fight with Rising Shipping Costs

Shipping costs into and out of fulfillment centers will inevitably increase this holiday shopping season. You can head off these costs by encouraging shoppers to Buy Online and Pickup in Store with increasing focus on BOPIS options as you near your shipping cutoff dates.

You can also avoid a one-size-fits-all free shipping threshold. Instead, strategically increase your free shipping threshold minimums as you approach the holiday peak.

Lastly, you can use Promotions to highlight in-store experiences you’ve recreated online. Online experiences are one area of your business that won’t see an increase in shipping costs this season.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Use Informational Offers to drive traffic to your online experiences. If you offer Virtual Try-Ons, Personal Shopping Appointments, or Virtual Styling Assistants, use Thrive Offers to help your shoppers discover these experience-based services.

Or, Thrive Customers, Try This Play: Use In-Store Offers with Apple Wallet to drive traffic back to your brick-and-mortar locations.

Strategic Promotions Play #6: Talk Up Your Product’s Durability & Sustainability

For certain items, reduced stock levels are causing shoppers to consider factors such as durability and sustainability before making a purchase. You can satisfy their need to feel like they are making a lasting purchase by bubbling up product attributes about how long-lasting your product is or about the importance of sustainable sourcing.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Use your product view filters to highlight sale items with 4-5 stars based on product ratings. Then, use that URL to create an Informational Offer driving shoppers to “Shop Sale on Top-Rated Items.”

Also, consider pulling quotes from customer reviews to highlight product durability. Voicing your durability and sustainable sourcing principles are great to include in Offer content.

Strategic Promotions Play #7: Always Protect Your Codes

We wouldn’t be experts in Promotions if we didn’t take this time to remind you always to protect your coupon codes from unscrupulous affiliates. Whether you use code gating in your eCommerce shopping platform, single-use codes, or limit when and where codes are displayed, Q4 is not the time to let your guard down on protecting your codes.

In particular, we highly recommend you pair Thrive with your SMS and Email platforms to prevent code gaming in acquisition campaigns.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Pair Single Use Codes with Hidden Category Smart Pages for extreme code protection. Whether you are using email to surprise and delight your most loyal segment or are sending an SMS reactivation campaign, use Hidden Category Pages and Single-Use Codes to ensure your juiciest Offers don’t get into the wrong hands.

Strategic Promotions Play #8: Pay Attention to Organic Keyword Strategy Even if You Aren’t Being Overtly Promotional This Holiday Season

Even if you don’t put a single deal, coupon, or offer on your website this holiday season, shoppers will inevitably type variations of “Your Brand + Black Friday Deals“ or “Your Brand + Cyber Monday Deals” into search engines to determine when, where, and how they shop. If you don’t have content on your site for these search terms, your shoppers may end up on affiliate websites claiming to have coupons, deals, and offers for your brand. In some cases, these affiliate sites might direct the traffic to your website (for affiliate credit) or, even worse, to a competitor website (to get commissions).

We recommend that even if you don’t have specific Black Friday deals or Cyber Monday discounts, you create a better user experience for the deal-hunting segment of your audience by creating Informational Promotions (such as “Gifts Starting at $15, or other Informational Promotions listed above) content for these key shopping periods on your site.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Use Smart Pages to create a dedicated landing page for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Then, add keyword rich content and Offers to these pages. Search engines will then be able to show your Offer and Deal count for these key shopping periods in a format shoppers have grown accustomed to seeing when hunting deal sites for deals.

Strategic Promotions Play #9: Get Creative with Content

Lastly, pop-up shops may be one way to highlight the urgency of limited-time-only offerings without having to offer an outright sale.

Just like store layouts move and change, so too can your website content. Adding a pop-up-themed collection of products can give you something to talk about without being directly promotional.

Create a dedicated pop-up shop page (such as Cozy Sweaters), or play around with the filters on your product view page. Then, add navigation to this limited duration pop-up shop.

Thrive Customers, Try This Play:
Driving traffic to pop-up shops are great for Informational Offer content (“Shop the Cozy Sweater Shop.”). Pop-up shops are also great for gathering data that can inform your other marketing efforts. Try packaging your product offerings into a collection (such as Gifts for Her) and use an Informational Offer in your Smart Bar to drive traffic to the collection. You will quickly see what catches your shoppers’ attention, and you can use this data to adjust your upcoming email and SMS messaging based on what’s resonating with your shoppers in real-time on your website.

If you are looking at the calendar with disbelief because you still can’t lock in your promotional strategy for Q4 due to stock shortages and fulfillment issues, know that you are not alone. Many merchants are in similar shoes zigging and zagging their way through a complicated season. Hopefully, some of the above plays will give you something to talk about with sale-hungry shoppers this holiday season, even if you’ve tightened the reins on outright deals and sales.

If you’d like more information about any of the Thrive Customer Plays listed above, contact your Customer Success Manager or email to learn more about becoming a Thrive Customer.

Average Revenue Per User: Everything You Need to Know About This Crucial Metric

When running an eCommerce site, many merchants focus on driving traffic to increase sales and revenue growth. We all know that it’s a bit of a numbers game — more users equal more revenue — so if you can increase those numbers, you undoubtedly have a greater pool of buyers. But what about maximizing the revenue you get from each of those users you’re investing so heavily in to get to your site?

While businesses understand the importance of website optimization to attract more visitors, many are stumped when it comes to optimizing their current users’ potential. Understanding your users’ revenue potential is critical to assessing your success and spotting opportunities for improvement. If you’re increasing users on the site, surely you also want to increase the potential purchasing value of each of those customers, both new and existing.

To that end, it’s time to get familiar with your average revenue per user metric.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) defined

ARPU stands for average revenue per user. In some organizations, it is called ARPC, for average revenue per customer, but both virtually have the same definition.

As the name suggests, average revenue per user is a metric that eCommerce merchants (and anyone selling online) use to identify the average customer spend, based on historical figures.

Identifying your average revenue per user is simple. You can calculate for the month, year, quarter, or whatever timeframe you want by taking your revenue for that period and dividing it by the number of unique users you had on your website for the same time period.

For example, let’s say you had 10,000 users last month, and your total revenue was $300,000. Your ARPU calculation would then be: $300,000/10,000 = $30 is the average revenue you make per user.

ARPU is also a factor of average order value (AOV), so the higher your price points are or the more each shopper spends during their visits, the higher your ARPU will be.

Like all metrics, it’s an indicator that can help build a bigger picture of how your business is doing. If your ARPU is low, it’s an indication that you’re not effectively engaging your users once they are on your site. If it’s a higher ARPU, you can investigate what may be leading to these results so that you can continue to perform at a high level.

Knowing your ARPU can also help you determine how profitable you are. By measuring your ARPU against your customer acquisition costs (CAC), you can figure out if your CAC is “worth it.”

For instance, if it costs you $50 to acquire a new customer, and you have an ARPU of $100, then you know that your CAC efforts are profitable.

ARPU vs. LTV vs. MRR metrics

There are many marketing metrics to keep track of, and understandably, some of them can get confused with others. In particular, it’s common that some people confuse average revenue per user with monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and customer lifetime value (LTV).

While they are related, they are all quite different. Here’s a quick look at all of them and how they differ:

Lifetime value measures how profitable each customer is across the duration of their relationship with your business. While it is used in eCommerce, LTV is also applicable to subscription services that have customers sign up for monthly/annual access to services. This metric calculates the lifetime value, including variable costs like support, refunds, and transaction fees. LTV is about projections for long-term customers, while ARPU measures your business’s overall health on an ongoing basis.

Similarly to customer lifetime value, monthly recurring revenue is suitable for SaaS companies or those with subscription models that are more definitively able to predict their monthly recurring revenue. As the name suggests, MRR measures your customer retention to indicate the monthly recurring revenue that you can expect from customers and active users.

What’s the average revenue per user benchmark for eCommerce?

Now that we understand the difference between our metrics, it’s important to know what the ARPU benchmarks are in the eCommerce space to ensure your business is aiming for the right level.

Littledata, an analytics platform for eCommerce, surveyed 1,930 stores in May 2020 and found that the average revenue per user was $100. According to the site, an ARPU north of $252 puts you in the top 20% of stores, and an ARPU of $476 would put you in the top 10%. Meanwhile, if your ARPU is less than $50 then you’d be at the bottom 20% of stores.

While it’s interesting to look at general ARPU data from other stores, we need to remember that a “good” ARPU is relative. Whether or not your store is doing well in terms of average user revenue depends on several factors including your price point and the number of customers you have.

For instance, if you sell a $15 product, an ARPU of $50 is amazing because it means that shoppers are spending way more than what your items typically cost. That same ARPU of $50 would be considered mediocre if you’re a retailer that sells $50+ products, because it could mean that you aren’t maximizing the value of each customer.

The size of your customer base also matters a great deal when determining if you have a great ARPU. If your ARPU per month is $50, but you only have 100 customers, then your monthly revenue $5,000. But if you have an ARPU of $50 and have 1,000 customers, that gives you a monthly revenue of $50,000.

The bottom line is it’s difficult to benchmark the average revenue per user without proper context. ARPU shouldn’t be looked at in isolation, and if you want to see how your ARPU compares to others, make sure you’re looking at merchants that are in the same industry and who sell similar products to yours.

How to improve your ARPU metric

There are plenty of avenues to explore to improve your ARPU figure. Check out the following.

Focus on users that convert

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is one of the biggest expenditures for online merchants. If you’re investing in marketing to attract customers, you want to make sure you’re getting people who have the highest probability of purchasing from your store.

While high new user numbers can be validating, it’s critical to look at these numbers alongside your ARPU. If your new users aren’t converting, you’re not getting value from your acquisition efforts.

Look into your acquisition channels and campaigns. Identify the high-value users on your site and explore where they come from. Try to adopt a more targeted approach, focusing on buyer personas that you know buy your products.

Never miss a chance to upsell or cross-sell

Don’t miss out on opportunities to sell more to users who are already on your website. Look at your site navigation and checkout experience and find opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, or offer attractive promotions.

Sgt Grit Marine Specialties ( does this really well. The site uses Thrive’s Smart Bar, which displays data-driven code-based and non-code-based offers. These offers are designed to drive conversions and increase LTV by requiring shoppers to provide their contact details to qualify for the incentive.

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“Thrive’s Smart Bar provided an immediate injection of personalized content onto the site, which translated into more engaged shoppers,” says Tim Mariani, President/CEO at NLC Products, the company that owns

“The Thrive team made smart, data driven recommendations of what promotions to test and optimize with, and we were able to accomplish our goal of increasing sitewide revenue per user by 6.6% and 10.4% for Creative Irish Gifts and respectively.”

Carefully manage discounts and promotions

Another common reason for low ARPU metrics is the mismanagement of discounts and promotions. When merchants don’t monitor discounts and promotions carefully, they can risk giving away too much, putting their bottom line in an unhealthy position.

Promos and discounts are fantastic tools that help you appeal to customers, compete with other stores, and generate extra revenue, but there has to be a discount “sweet spot.” The goal is to implement an offer that’s generous enough to generate sales, but not too much that it diminishes your profitability.

To that end, keep testing different tactics and carefully monitor the performance of your promotions. What types of offers convert best? Which promotions are driving sales and profits? What types of promotions work on different types of pages on your eCommerce site? Pay attention to your promotions data and make sure you’re always running high-converting and profitable offers.

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Thrive’s promotions suite offers insights and analytics that can inform your sales and marketing offerings.

Our dashboard and professional services enable you to:

  • Review the performances of all KPIs
  • See performance detail down to the individual promotion
  • Optimize promotions strategy, effectiveness and best practices

Use your customer data

As an online business, you have the ability to capture valuable data with every click and movement of your users. These insights are gold when collected and used correctly. With your customer data, you can create segments of users and design special offers to appeal to each of those segments.

Simply identifying which of your customers are more likely to respond to particular product upsells or promotions is a super-powered insight that can help you significantly increase your ARPU by targeting users on-site with deals that match their interests.

Nordstrom, for example, pays close attention to the products that each shopper buys. Did you buy designer items? You’ll likely get alerts and offers for those products. Bought something from the beauty and cosmetics department? Nordstrom may send you and similar subscribers offers for makeup and skincare products.

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One of the keys to running data-backed offers is to ensure that you’re collecting the right information. An effective tactic is to “gate” your offers by requiring shoppers to enter certain details to access an online and/or in-store offer code.

Thrive can help you do this using our Data Require Promotions (DRP).

For example, if you know that having an email address and zip code is valuable to your marketing efforts, you can use a DRP where you’re giving a promotion away in order to get important shopper data that will pay you back in the long run.

Using promotions to enhance CRM is a very smart move, but requires knowing what pieces of shopper data are important and doing something with that data once you get it. When you have the right shopper information, you can use it to launch and fine-tune your digital promotions strategy and ultimately increase your AOV and ARPU.

Run A/B tests to see which factors influence ARPU

Constant testing and optimization are important. If you’re looking to improve your average revenue per customer, run different experiments on your website to see which initiatives work best. You could test everything from offer types, placements, copy, etc., then take note of the results.

Google Optimize is an excellent tool for doing this. It’s a free solution that lets you test changes to your site with no coding required.


Your ARPU may be one metric in the overall marketing mix, but it’s a powerfully insightful one. With just a simple equation, you can learn how you measure up against your competitors, whether your pricing model benefits your business, and whether your customers are really engaging with you as they should be.

Tracking your ARPU can help you optimize your efforts, improve your customer experience, and boost your sales — results that every eCommerce merchant can certainly do with some more of.

9 Retail SEO Tips for Increasing Organic Search Traffic to Your Ecommerce Website

As an eCommerce merchant, it’s very easy to get stuck focusing your digital marketing campaigns on channels like social media or email. And while these channels can certainly drive traffic and sales, SEO is still king. Organic search traffic is responsible for driving 50+% of all website traffic and 40% of a company’s revenue on average. Majority of marketers even report that organic search provides the highest ROI, even over PPC advertising.

The goal of SEO is to increase your web pages’ search engine rankings, aiming for the first page of the search engine results, as 75% of people never go past the first page. Ideally, you want to rank in the first three positions, because those positions have the highest click-through rate. Industry data shows that on average, the #1 search result on Google has a CTR of 31.73% while the second and third results have a CTR of 24.71% and 18.66% respectively. Unsurprisingly, CTRs diminish the lower you get on the search results page. The fourth search result has a CTR of just 13.6% and the succeeding search results get single-digit CTRs. So let’s talk about how you can do just that. Follow these retail SEO tips to help your ecommerce site hit the first page of the search engine results for the keywords you want to rank for.

1. Conduct keyword research to build your SEO strategy.

Keyword research is the foundation of all good SEO strategies. This step is all about figuring out what relevant keywords your various web pages should be ranking for so you can accurately optimize each of your pages to those keywords. Effective keyword research isn’t just about determining which keywords you should be ranking for, but also which ones provide the best opportunities. Certain keywords will have a huge amount of competition on them, while others will have less. Generally, the ones with less competition get less traffic, but if you can knit together several number one rankings on smaller keywords, it can often be just as effective. As a bonus, the less competitive keywords are often much more specific phrases, known as long-tail keywords. These long-tail keywords tend to have a much higher conversion rate, averaging 36%, according to Neil Patel. To perform keyword research, you’ll want to blend two techniques:

  • See which search terms your pages are currently ranking for. These keywords will help you determine opportunities, as well as bringing up some keywords you may not have thought of. You can use a tool like Google Analytics or Google Search Console to discover which keywords you’re already ranking for.
  • Use a keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, or SEMRush to discover related relevant keywords, as well as their monthly search volume and competitiveness.
  • If you have a dedicated SEO team, there are enterprise SEO analytics platforms that can provide even more detailed metrics, analytics, and performance tracking. Thrive’s clients benefit from these powerful SEO tools through our partnership with Conductor, a company that offers an organic marketing platform along with digital strategic services for enterprises.

Once you’ve created a list of target keywords, you can optimize your pages and content marketing for them.

2. Optimize your product descriptions.

It’s important to get your keywords into your page copy, but it’s even more important to write your copy for humans, particularly when it comes to your product descriptions.

Product descriptions are an easy way to set your site apart from others to search crawlers. They’re also one of the main ingredients in getting visitors to stay on your site, rather than hopping back to the results page, which the algorithm sees as a huge mark in your favor. Google’s algorithm favors an excellent user experience. When users spend more time on your page and don’t hit the back button to look at other search results, Google sees that as a positive ranking signal, which may ultimately help improve your position in SERPs.

Search engine optimization tips for writing product descriptions:
  • Write a unique description for each product. Duplicate content on your website or from other websites will always get you dinged by the algorithm, even when it’s high-quality content.
  • Clayton Nichols, ecommerce SEO expert, recommends writing descriptions over between 300 and 500 words.
  • Do utilize your keywords. If you can work them in naturally, they not only serve to tell the crawlers where to rank the page, but they act as a sign to visitors that they’ve found the page they were searching for.

A great example of well-optimized product descriptions can be found on BuyDig, an electronics and appliance e-tailer. In addition to being incredibly detailed and informative, their product descriptions include the keywords they’re targeting and are highly engaging pieces of copy that not only describe the product but describe how it fits into the customer’s life.

3. Optimize your structured data for ecommerce SEO

Structured data is essentially a set of data that doesn’t appear on your page, but provides a way for search engine crawlers to understand the page. The crawlers may also choose to pull some of your meta tagsto create the snippet for the results page. As a result, structured data plays an important role in both your rankings and your click-through rates.

Search engines can use structured data in rich snippets, which act as a preview of your page within the search results and can take a variety of forms.

In the realm of retail and ecommerce SEO, rich snippets can display product info, ratings and reviews, pricing, and more. The screenshot below shows structured data for Shoe Carnival’s coupon codes and offers.

With the right structure data, you may get featured as a rich snippet, which according to Moz, can increase your CTR from the SERP by 677%.

SEO tips for structured data:
  • Be as specific, accurate, and complete as possible. It’s better to have fewer properties if they’re completed and accurate than to have all properties filled in partially.
  • Use JSON-LD format if possible.
  • Don’t bother providing structured data for your homepage as Google officially ignores it.
  • If you’re not a coding expert, use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to get started.

4. Optimize your ecommerce site pages for mobile devices

Mobile optimization and page load speed are crucial, not only to improve your conversion rates but also to improve your SEO. Google’s algorithm favors websites that are optimized for mobile devices.

Having a quick load time is especially crucial for mobile users (although it shouldn’t be ignored for desktop users, either). The longer your load time, the higher your bounce rate. Research by Pingdom found that the average bounce rate for a page that loads within 2 seconds is 9%. The bounce rate increases for every second that a page loads, and it soars to 38% once a page’s load time hits 5 seconds.

You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to get some ideas on how to improve your load speed. The tool scores you on both mobile and desktop and provides separate recommendations for both.

5. Target coupon-related keywords with multiple landing pages.

Coupon keywords are highly valuable. Why? For starters, branded discount keywords (e.g, “company name + coupon” or “company name + discount”) are almost always the number one branded search category for EVERY retail brand.

Clearly, shoppers are actively searching for product deals and brand discounts, and they’re using Google as their first stop when looking for promotions.

Consider the fact that billion-dollar company, RetailMeNot, makes most of its revenue from Google searches for coupon codes. Thrive clients also find that customers from these keywords have a higher conversion rate and often a higher average order value. Because the keywords have high search volumes and are so successful, they’re also highly competitive. Every online store in your space, as well as plenty of RetailMeNot competitors, are trying to rank for these keywords.

It should be noted that people will search for deals both specifically for your products (branded keywords) and more generally for your product types (non-branded keywords). That is, someone might search “Anna’s Bakery coupon codes” or “Cake coupon codes,” and Anna’s bakery wants to appear on both.

One strategy to succeed is to create a variety of landing pages meant to target these keywords separately. Take this list of keywords:

  • Anna’s bakery coupon codes
  • Cake coupon codes
  • Anna’s bakery’s deals
  • Cake deals
  • Cheap cakes
  • Anna’s bakery sale

Anna’s Bakery would then want to create a landing page for each of these keywords (some of them may work together, like the coupon codes keywords). Each landing page can then be optimized specifically for that keyword and related keywords, resulting in better rankings for the single keyword, rather than ok ratings across a few keywords.

6. Don’t forget about internal link building

We’ve all heard about backlinks and how they’re great for SEO. But did you know that internal links — i.e., links to the same domain — are also really important?

Ninja Outreach discovered that internal links boosted their organic traffic by a whopping 40%. The reason is that Google can only discover new pages when it follows a link from a known page to a new page. Thus, linking to the page somewhere else on your site tells Google to index the page.

Additionally, internal links help Google’s crawlers move around your site, figuring out which one of your pages are more important than others.

You can indicate a page’s authority to the crawlers by placing that page at the top of a content silo. A silo is when you have a hub page that’s linked into the rest of your website, and links out to other, less authoritative pages that only link back to the hub. The crawlers then understand that the hub page is the most important.

For ecommerce merchants, siloing often looks like using category pages as the hub page and product pages as the less authoritative pages.

You may need to limit the depth of your categories as a merchant. The more subcategories you have, the harder it will be for Google to determine which of your pages is the hub, resulting in poor ranking for all pages.
It’s also important to note that the internal links from your blog, sales pages, and header/footer not only create SEO equity, they also lead a better user experience. For instance, when our client Advance Auto Parts started linking their car battery promotions pages from their blog, that category page began ranking higher for keywords like “car battery coupons”.

See if you can implement a similar practice. Identify the pages that you want to rank on search results, then find internal opportunities within your site.

7. Update promotions pages frequently for fresh content

Content freshness is generally assumed to be an important part of Google’s algorithm. While product pages can easily add fresh content if you enable search engines to read your product reviews, many merchants overlook the importance of updating their promotions or coupon page.
Don’t make the same mistake. Regularly refresh the page’s content either manually or with an automatic solution like our Intelligent Promotions Solution, which Advance Auto Parts has used to great effect. It resulted in a huge lift in organic traffic within just a single month. By the end of 2019, three years after implementation, AAP was ranking in the top 3 for 196 non-branded search terms. They previously had not ranked in the top three at all.

8. Don’t remove discontinued and out of stock products

It is the nature of ecommerce that some products sell out or get discontinued. How your store handles those specific product pages is crucial to SEO. Removing the item from your site causes a 401 redirect that is neither a good customer experience nor a search engine friendly strategy.

Ways for online retailers to handle discontinued or out-of-stock products:
  • Add a 301-redirect to a new page. The 301 simply forwards the visitor onto another page of your choosing. It has the added benefit of transferring your SEO over to a new page. 301s are a good idea for discontinued products. You can send the visitor to a similar item or a category page listing several similar items.
  • Push the out-of-stock product to the bottom of your catalog and place an email form on it so visitors can be notified when the product is restocked.
  • Place a clear label at the top of the page indicating that the product is discontinued or out-of-stock, and prominently display recommendations for similar products.

Organic search traffic is the lifeblood of many ecommerce retailers, especially as paid traffic becomes more and more competitive and expensive. However, with Google constantly making quiet changes to the algorithm, it takes a constantly creative mind to keep an ecommerce site’s web pages ranking well. A retail SEO expert must constantly be trying new things, like optimizing for local searches or trying new landing page content.

Offering Seasonal Discounts? Here How to Do It Right

When we think of a seasonal discount, our thoughts usually jump ​straight to Black Friday or other times of the year where we see seasonal sales​. It’s certainly no secret that these holidays bring retailers a substantial amount of their annual revenue.

However, seasonal discounts can accomplish far more than just boosting sales. It can also help to drive brand awareness, foster customer loyalty, and build a healthier cash flow for slack periods of consumer demand.

For this reason, it’s important to understand how to maximize the benefits of seasonal price reductions for your business and how to avoid their drawbacks.

Let’s dive in.

What is a seasonal discount?

A seasonal discount refers to special offers that are tied to key events or holidays. These are used by retailers to drive sales with the overall goal of increasing traffic and revenue.

Seasonal discounts are used by a wide variety of businesses, including big box retailers,department stores, and local high-street stores, though their discounting methods and celebrated seasons will vary.

Why seasonal discounts should be part of your ecommerce strategy

Many retailers leverage seasonal discounts for a number of reasons, including:

Leveraging periods of peak spending

Even with the disruption caused by COVID-19, the upcoming holiday season is still going to be a key seasonal event. According to Visa’s 2020 ​Back to Business study​, 76% of small to medium-sized businesses see the festive season as a major sales opportunity.

For example, it’s common knowledge that consumers are chasing steep discounts on normally full-price products during ​Black Friday and Cyber Monday​. By contrast, Small Business Saturday is focused on supporting local retailers, where consumers are often willing to spend more.

Targeting different consumer priorities in this way enables your business to better capitalize on seasonal opportunities.

Promote new seasonal product lines

Seasonal promotions are also commonly leveraged to drive sales for new or “in season”products. These types of offers don’t usually come in the form of seasonal discounts; instead,brands use a “first look” or “first to know” type of promotion to market and sell new seasonal items.

Clearing last season’s inventory

You can also use seasonal sales as an opportunity to clear out last season’s merchandise. By having a discount on these slow-movers or using them as freebies or gifts, you could drive sales while making room for fresh and in-season merch in the process.

Engage customers over the short- and long-term

Seasonal holidays and events provoke a range of emotions — excitement, joy, celebration, and yes, sometimes stress and anxiety. As a retailer, empathizing with your customer is the key to attracting shoppers in a very crowded marketplace.

Discounting techniques, especially when paired with compelling seasonal messaging, allows your brand to better resonate with the mood of your customer base.

It’s also important to note that these discounts can drive sales and engagement long after the season is over. Seasonal discounts can reel shoppers in, but they also pave the way for continuous engagement over the long term

When implemented correctly, discounts can drive future purchases. ​Research by Optimove found that the likelihood of developing brand loyalty and getting subsequent orders from newly acquired customers “is significantly higher when the discount claimed on the first offer is between 5% and 20%.”

How to implement seasonal discounts

Now that we’ve covered the basics of seasonal discounts, let’s look at the best practices to implement when running these promotions.

Know what holidays,seasons, and periodic events are best suited to your business

Fact: ​not all holidays are alike.​ While some occur on a fixed day each year (such as Fourth of July, Halloween, or Labor Day), others revolve around annual seasonal events (such as the back-to-school season where student discounts are eagerly sought after).

As a business, it’s important to know which holidays are worth tailoring seasonal discounts for and which are not.

For example, Valentine’s Day is easily going to be one of your biggest sales opportunities if you’re a florist or jeweler — but not so much for a sporting goods store. Similarly, anyone selling confectionery is going to do well during Easter or Halloween, but their sales may be relatively slower during Cyber Monday.

You should also be mindful of public events in the realm of sports (Olympics, World Cup),politics (elections), or pop culture (blockbuster movies, entertainer tours). These events can influence your sales and discounting strategy.

For instance, if you’re a casual apparel retailer and sell team shirts, you could run a seasonal promotion or discount on those select items.

To effectively keep track of all relevant holidays and events, be sure to create a seasonal discount calendar based on your industry.

Think about which seasonal discounts are appropriate

While discounts help to drive interest in your offerings, they can reap lackluster results if you don’t have the right products on sale or don’t come up with a relevant (e.g., seasonal) hook.

For example, store wide percentage discounts are easy to implement and result in high conversions, but they may not have as big of an impact as seasonal offers. Why? Because they aren’t targeted at consumers’ seasonal purchasing decisions.

It’s for this reason that we see deals on grills or outdoor furniture in stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot in the lead-up to Memorial Day. This holiday is seen as the start of summer, and so is a great time to prime consumers for summer retail spending — especially when there are personal finance options available.

By selecting seasonal items that are likely to perform well, you can boost your revenue without devaluing the rest of your offerings.

Pro tip:​ Use off peak times to test which discounts work the best. Do your customers prefer percentage discounts or free shipping? The best way to find out is to test these offers during slower periods, then implement the winning offers when peak season rolls along.

For best results, use a promotions analytics solution to get the right data. Thrive, for instance,offers capabilities that enable you to test and analyze your discounts and offers to determine the best ones.

Focus on driving customer retention

Seasonal discounts are often viewed as an opportunity to drive sales and spread brand awareness, not necessarily as a time for building customer loyalty. But when the ​probability of selling to an existing customer​ is 60-70%, compared with 20% for new customers, you simply can’t afford to neglect such an important segment. At the end of the day, you won’t just want consumers to buy from you once; you want them to shop with you again and again. By using seasonal discounts that ​incentivize repeat purchases​, you are putting your business in a much more favorable position to grow and thrive in the long term. You could, for example, offer a seasonal discount on the customer’s first purchase, then encourage them to spend more later on. Another approach would be to use their seasonal purchase history to make product recommendations going forward.

Pro tip: ​Use discounts to collect customer data and build your CRM. At Thrive, we let you gate your discounts through “Data Required Promotions”, a feature that requires customers to enter their details (e.g., email, mobile number, birthday, etc.) before they can redeem the offer.

Make sure you market it

Make it a point to build buzz around your seasonal offerings. Have a robust marketing strategy in place to ensure that your customers are in the know. Think:dedicated offer page, banners on your website, email blasts, and regular social media reminders — the more effort you put in, the more likely you are to see a big boost in sales.

Seasonal discount examples

Looking for seasonal discount ideas? Here are a few examples to consider.

Tiered discounting

A tiered seasonal discount is an excellent way to reward members of your loyalty program for their patronage — and to entice new customers to join to receive great rewards. Sephora has long been a master of the tiered loyalty discounting. The company keeps its deals simple and easy for consumers to understand through engaging social media graphics, like this one from its recent Holiday Savings event:

It clearly communicates that Sephora’s Rouge members don’t just get a higher discount; they also get their first pick of the merchandise. It makes it both a strong seasonal promotion and a clever marketing campaign for their Beauty Insiders program.

Flash sales

If you’re looking to drive a sense of urgency and excitement, offering seasonal discounts via a flash sale is a great strategy. A flash sale is where brands offer discounts or promotions for a limited period of time to entice customers to shop immediately.

Flash sales are particularly valuable when you have excess inventory that you want to off load quickly, such as end-of-season stock from the summer or winter.

Consider this example from Anytime Fitness, which offered a special seasonal deal for new members on the 1st January to celebrate the New Year — just as people typically start making fitness resolutions.

Conditional promotions

A conditional promotion puts an incentive in front of your customers to persuade them to spend more, thus increasing the size of your average transaction.

Conditional promotions are a popular form of discount pricing because they’re so versatile. They work for things like discounts (e.g., “spend X and get X% off”) and they also do well for things like free shipping (e.g. “free shipping on all orders over $100).

The skincare brand Paula’s Choice leverages conditional promotions quite well, and often runs several conditional promotions simultaneously, even allowing customers to redeem multiple offers.

Early Access

Early access sales are exactly what they sound like: these are promotions that give select people a chance to redeem offers and shop the sales before they officially kick off.

Kipling, a retailer that sells bags and accessories, did just that for its Black Friday promotion.Kipling used Thrive’s Data Required Promotions to collect shoppers’ email addresses. Those customers were then given access to a pre-sale prior to Black Friday, and helped Kipling grow its database.

The bottom line

Seasonal discounts are a powerful strategy for retailers, especially as we get closer to the holiday season.

These offers not only provide an immediate revenue boost, but they also allow you to strengthen your ARM — acquisition, retention, and monetization.

That’s why it’s important to be strategic with your seasonal discount offerings. Find ways to engage shoppers in the moment, but don’t forget to think long-term. Remember, when implemented properly, seasonal discounts and benefit your brand even after the season is over.

Good luck, and happy holidays!

NLC Products Increases Revenue per User with Personalized Promotions


Challenge I thrivecommerce.comNLC Products (“NLC”) owns and operates five popular websites as well as produces 15-20 million catalogs annually collectively. The top two performing online brands, and Creative Irish Gifts, experienced increases in website traffic but shopper monetization didn’t scale proportionally. NLC’s eCommerce and marketing teams identified driving incremental revenue per user as their primary goal and aimed to achieve this by lowering site abandonment from shoppers leaving to search for deals and discounts.




Centralize Sitewide Offers

To increase shopper engagement through data-driven code-based and non-code based offers.

Showcase Personalized Offers

To improve the relevance of the individual shopping experience based on session behavior.

Enhance CRM

To enrich NLC’s customer database to increase Shopper lifetime value (LTV), feature a variety of offers which require contact information to qualify for an incentive.

“Thrive’s Smart Bar provided an immediate injection of personalized content onto the site, which translated into more engaged shoppers. The Thrive team made smart, data driven recommendations of what promotions to test and optimize with, and we were able to accomplish our goal of increasing sitewide revenue per user by 6.6% and 10.4% for Creative Irish Gifts and respectively.”

Want to see the full results? Download the complete story.




How to Implement a Digital Promotions Strategy That Drives Sales

Digital promotions are a must for any retailer that wants to connect with modern shoppers.

When implemented correctly, they can increase brand awareness, engage customers, and drive sales.

Going digital with your promotions is more important than ever, mainly because consumers today are increasingly spending time and money on digital platforms, thanks in part to the pandemic. Data from Mastercard shows that in April and May, ecommerce made up 22% of all retail sales, an increase from 11% in 2019, essentially doubling online spending in one year.

Another way to put it: consumers spent more money during April and May of this year than the previous 12 Cyber Mondays combined.

This trend won’t slow down anytime soon. Consumers will continue to spend money online, and one of the best ways to ensure that your brand capitalizes on this growth is to have strong digital promotions. To that end, we’ve put together a quick guide on how to craft and implement a digital promotion strategy for your business. Have a look at the steps below and see how you can apply them to your sales and marketing strategy.

What are digital promotions?

Digital promotions are sales and marketing initiatives implemented by brands using electronic means. Digital promotions can come in various forms, including e-coupons, online giveaways, and social media campaigns, among other things. Unlike traditional promotions, which primarily take place offline (i.e., in-store), digital promos happen on ecommerce sites, social networks and mobile platforms.

How to successfully launch a digital promotion

An excellent digital promotion initiative isn’t just about shiny email campaigns and social media posts. Plenty of work happens behind the scenes, particularly when you’re ideating, planning, and implementing your promos. Here are the steps you should take to ensure that your digital marketing efforts are successful.

Get clear on your objectives

The first step is to iron out the goals and objectives of your digital promotion. Why are you running the initiative? What does success look like? The answers to these questions will help you figure out the right type of promotion to implement. For example, if the goal is to acquire new customers or promote a new product, then a first-time buyer discount could be a great way to go. On the other hand, if you’re looking to re-engage customers who haven’t bought from you in a while, then your digital promotion campaign would go in a different direction. Getting clear on your objectives will also shed light on the metrics and KPIs you need to track. A promotional campaign that’s meant to drive referrals, for example, would have very different KPIs than a customer retention initiative. For this reason, it’s important to figure out the “why” behind your promotional efforts, as this will guide the overall direction of your campaign. For this reason, it’s important to figure out the “why” behind your promotional efforts, as this will guide the overall direction of your campaign.

Know the landscape

Already know what you want your digital promotions to achieve? The next step is to get to know the market.

Get to know your target audience

Zero in on the specific audience you want to target for this particular promotion. If you haven’t done so yet, craft customer profiles or personas that detail things like:

  • Demographics (age, gender, location, etc)
  • Aspirations
  • Pain points
  • Key personality characteristics
  • Price sensitivity
  • Preferred channels

Gaining clarity on your target audience will inform your decisions around what type of promotion to run, what messaging to craft, and which channels or platforms to use in your initiatives.

Research your competition

It also helps to look at what your competitors are doing. Pay attention to the campaigns, offers, and promos they have in the market. Evaluate their efforts, and come up with ways to differentiate yourself and ensure that your digital promotions are more compelling. In addition to looking at your competitors’ website and social media posts, use tools such as SEMRush, SpyFu, and iSpionage to gain intel on their SEO and paid ads strategy.

Spend time on the platforms or channels you’ll be using

At this point, you should have a pretty clear idea of the channels or platforms on which you’ll run your promotions. Take some time to evaluate them and get ideas to apply to your own campaigns.

For instance, if you’re planning to do a big social media push, look at the content types and posts that generate the most engagement. Planning to run an email campaign? Scroll through your own inbox and keep an eye out for messages that stand out.

Decide on the type of digital promotion to run

As mentioned earlier, digital promotions can take many forms, and the best format for your campaign depends on your goals and your audience.

Here’s a quick overview of the most common types of promotions to consider.

Discounts or sales

Running sales and offering discounts allow customers to purchase your products below their usual price point. These promos are great if you want to sell slow-moving products, are looking to engage price-sensitive customers, or simply want to stay relevant.

It’s not uncommon for retailers to launch sales and discount offers during holidays and seasonal events. For example, the protein snack brand think! kicked off the holiday period by offering a 15% discount on seasonal products like its Gingerbread and Chocolate Peppermint protein bars.

Sweepstakes or giveaways

Competitions can be an excellent way to get in front of a wider audience. Giveaways — particularly those that incentivize sharing or “tagging” friends — can put your brand on the radar of potential customers.

Giveaways can be used to build your email list, grow your social media presence, or to encourage customers to take a particular call to action. Just make sure that you choose your prizes wisely.

See to it that whatever you put up for grabs is relevant to your brand. Things like cash, Amazon gift cards, or electronics (tablets, laptops) tend to attract people who are only interested in the prize, so stay away from them.

Free products or gift cards that can be redeemed in your store or website are good prizes to consider.

An excellent example of a giveaway in action comes from The Dirty Cookie. The dessert shop holds a monthly cookie giveaway designed to increase user generated content (UGC) and encourage shoppers to talk up the brand on social media.


You could consider freebies — such as trial subscriptions, gifts, or free shipping. Depending on your objectives, this type of promotion can attract first-time shoppers. Many brands, for example, are offering free product trials to entice people to buy.

If your objective is to move slow-selling products, you could give those items away whenever someone purchases above a certain threshold. In the same vein, free shipping or gifts can also be leveraged to increase order values and basket sizes.

For instance, Tommy Hilfiger offers free shipping on orders over $100.

Loyalty program-centric

If your objective is to engage existing customers, consider launching a loyalty-centric promotion. Offer exclusive perks or launch a promotional event that allows members to earn extra points for their purchases.

Starbucks is a master at this tactic. The coffee company regularly holds “Double Star Days” which allow members of its loyalty program to earn twice the number of points on their purchases.

New products

Promotions that center around new arrivals can be very compelling, and can help drive sales for full-priced items. One of the keys to making this work is to promote exclusivity or urgency. You could, for example, send a “New Arrivals” promo to your top shopper segments, and let them know that they can get first dibs on certain items before everyone else.

This is exactly what Nike is doing in the promotion below, which allows customers who have a Nike Membership to access new and never-before-seen styles.

Get the word out

Once your promotion is live, be sure to get the word out. Come up with compelling messaging (taglines, content, etc.) design your assets (graphics, videos, landing pages) then promote them through the appropriate channels. Consider the following:


If you have an existing list and want to make sure your subscribers know about that latest discount you’re running, create messages that put your promotions on their radar. For best results, personalize your offers based on each subscribers’ demographic or purchase history. Bed Bath & Beyond does just that in the following email, which contains coupons alongside items relevant to the customer’s previous purchases.

Social media

Create great content for social media to promote your offers and initiatives.

It’s best to use a combination of organic and paid efforts. In addition to your usual posts on Instagram and Facebook, put some paid spend behind your content to get it in front of more people.

To get the word out about its flash sale, the jewelry retail Alex and Ani promoted the initiative on Instagram.


Optimize your promotional landing pages for search engines. Make sure you optimize your pages for branded keyword searches (e.g., “[YOUR BRAND] coupons”] as well as promotion keywords like “deals on shoes.”

It’s important to note that a brand’s coupon or offer-centric keywords are almost always the #1 most popular branded search category. These searches are conducted by high intent shoppers and not ranking well will likely result in increased affiliate commissions, so it’s critical that you win these searches.

We can see the power of promo SEO in action in Advance Auto Parts (AAP), which implemented Thrive’s Intelligent Promotions Solution to replace their legacy coupon page. With the help of Thrive, AAP implemented a series of SEO and conversion-optimized landing pages with personalized promotions. The effort resulted in AAP securing the #1 spot in search results for 123 new coupon keywords.

Text messaging

If text messages are part of your shopper marketing mix, be sure to utilize it as a channel to promote your offers. Consumers have long been glued to their smartphones, and they are becoming more receptive towards text messages. Industry data shows that 75% of consumers are comfortable receiving text messages from brands and 64% think that companies should contact them via text more often.

Check out this example from Function of Beauty, which texts its SMS subscribers about the brand’s latest offers.

Segment your promos

The effectiveness of your promotions depends on how targeted they are. For best results, leverage your website to show different offers to different types of shoppers based on factors like:

  • The customers’ purchase history
  • The marketing campaign drove them to your site
  • The marketing channel

Segmenting your promotions keeps them relevant, and ultimately increases conversions.

Track results

Be sure to keep an eye on your results throughout your digital promotions and campaigns. The right metrics to track will depend on the promotion. If your campaign’s objective is to drive sales, then that’s naturally the metric you should track.

On the other hand, if the goal is to get new subscribers or customers, then you’ll want to dig into your CRM data to track growth, opt-ins, and more.

The bottom line? You can’t improve what you don’t measure. So know your numbers, track your progress, and use that data to inform your digital promotions going forward.

Interested in supercharging your digital promotions? Thrive gives you the tools you need to publish, control, and personalize your promos. Schedule a free demo today.

Advance Auto Parts Increases Revenue with Targeted Sitewide, Loyalty and Rebates Promotions


Advance Auto Parts (“AAP”), a global leader in the auto parts industry, championed a major site initiative to increase conversion and revenue for its growing online audience. A central part of AAP’s initiative focused on improvements to the digital shopping experience by leveraging more centralized locations to publish targeted promotions . AAP marketing, rebates and loyalty teams operated in silos with respect to promotions management, and suffered from inefficient and costly internal manual processes and resources to manage promotions.


Optimize Promotions Marketing

To drive relevant traffic to these new Promotions Centers on the AAP site, AAP’s merchandising, social, email, loyalty, and rebates teams all supported the new enhanced digital marketing

Launch Targeted Promotions

To showcase sitewide promotions, rebates, and loyalty offers

Simplify Promotions Management

To improve internal communications and avoid inefficient graphics design and IT resources, AAP leveraged Thrive’s Admin Dashboard to easily schedule & publish targeted offers across the website

“Thrive’s Smart Pages has saved us time and internal resources to quickly and easily launch any type of offer to our sitewide, loyalty and rebates audiences, which has proven to be a highly effective strategy in our larger effort to increase conversion and shopper spending.”

Want to see the full results? Download the complete story.





Thrive Helps Improve Revenue per User for Uniform city




Uniform City, a global leader in the uniforms industry, wanted to offer more targeted promotions in order to increase conversion and revenue. Promotions published to the site performed well but Uniform City lacked an efficient way to engage shoppers at various stages of the shopping journey. A static manual coupons page was created to house promotions but it was difficult to keep updated and relied heavily on email marketing. Lack of visibility into offer engagement made promotions testing and optimization difficult and ineffective.



Control and Centralize Promotions

To create a hub for all promotions, Uniform City launched Thrive’s Smart Pages. All marketing teams successfully leveraged Smart Pages to create segmented offers and collect shopper data.

Increase SEO Traffic

To increase SEO traffic and educate shoppers to utilize promotions received directly from them instead of costly 3rd party affiliates, Thrive’s Smart Pages capitalized on their branded coupon keywords.

Improve Promotions Effectiveness

Uniform City kept shoppers more engaged throughout their site experience by leveraging Thrive’s Smart Bar and Smart Button.

Simplify Promotions Management

To avoid time consuming and costly internal graphics design and IT resources, Uniform City leveraged Thrive’s Admin Dashboard to easily schedule & publish offers across the website.

“Thrive’s Promotions Suite makes it incredibly easy to leverage and test promotions throughout the site. Creating a centralized promotional hub of our site has been highly effective in improving site and cart abandonment while simultaneously creating a happier, more loyal customer base. Additionally, my team has been very happy with the level of support we receive from the Thrive team to help drive our business.”


Want to see the full results? Download the complete story.



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