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How to use traditional promotional marketing to boost e-commerce brand equity

Example of the "signature black Chanel dress" that's endured the test of time

That signature little black dress. Chanel No.5. The Aston Martin DB5. Some things just endure.

Just like these classics, not everything ‘traditional’ in promotional marketing is outdated – it simply comes and goes out of fashion.

Some traditional marketing mechanics are undoubtedly suitable for an e-commerce environment – so bring them on over! They’re more than capable of becoming a trend that sticks around.

Retail marketing tactics in e-commerce

Even though it’s around 40 years old, e-commerce is still the new kid on the block when compared to retail.

While it’s performed well (certainly in the last 12 months), e-commerce has failed to adopt some traditional methods of customer engagement that could help it do better.

Discounting does not add brand value

E-commerce is obsessed with discounts. If something isn’t selling, the price drops down until it does. It works for a strategy that’s focused on short-termism.

But, like the famous quote from Oscar Wilde about the ‘man who knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing’, discounting does absolutely nothing for your brand equity.

On the other hand, in- store, the savvy retail marketeer will use:

  • POS
  • Promotions on pack


  • Encourage a sale (differentiating over competitor brands)
  • Boost brand perception (eg as generous, high quality, good value, exclusive)

The benefits of brand value (brand equity)

  • Front of mind
  • Trust
  • Loyalty
  • Desirability
  • Advocacy
  • Profit

What can e-commerce use?

  • Free prize draws
  • Cashback / Try me free
  • Gift with purchase
  • Collectors schemes
  • Scratch cards
  • Free personalisation with every purchase

Example of traditional promotional marketing in e-commerce


Brewdog is well known for its innovative marketing strategies. Recently,  the ‘punk marketing’ brand combined new with old by refreshing the old favourite ‘golden ticket’ retail marketing tactic.

(Their promotions campaign has been likened so often to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ that it’s probably one of the core messages the company put out itself.)

This time though, customers have a chance of finding a 24 karat gold can in a crate of their favourite IPA, plus other lucrative prizes including an exclusive trip to the brewery.

The prizes themselves provide motivation to buy the product, as they are unique and valuable – so eye-catching that people who have never even tried Brewdog will be more likely to purchase a crate the next time they see it on the shelf.

However, the gold cans are rare and will appeal to dedicated Brewdog drinkers especially; there are only 10 in existence, making it a collectors’ piece.

Gold can winners were instructed to redeem their purchase online (probably with an app like our market-leading SwiftReciept) and verify their age.


The “They Score – You Win” promotion ran for 16 weeks and offered consumers the chance to win prizes by predicting when a goal will be scored during a UCL football match.

If they guessed the correct minute for a goal in the match of their choice, they won £10. All entrants also stand a chance of winning a pair of tickets to the UCL Final in Madrid.

The promotion was open to consumers aged 18 or older. To enter, they must have bought a promotional Walkers packs of Walkers, each of which contained an entry code. Entrants used the code to enter the online competition portal and select a UEFA Champions League match and minute.

Walkers said the promotion aimed to help increase sales of single and sharing packs of crisps, as “football fans stock up ahead the matches”.

Disclaimer: Granby is not involved in these particular campaigns.

How the promotional mechanics work in e-commerce

As an example, you decide on a free prize draw with every purchase. Your promotion will be all over your social media channels, email marketing and on banners and hero images throughout your website.

1. Campaign set-up

Using SCOPe, our fulfilment system, we can keep track of your inventory, making sure we have all the components and packaging to cope with demand.

And the great news is, you have access to exactly the same information we have through your dashboard, so you can get updates as and when you need them.

2. In production

The mechanics of a promotional marketing campaign are many and varied. You’ve decided on a ‘golden ticket’ with a redemption code that will be placed in 5% of products sold within a two-month period. Your creative agency has designed the ticket and we can print it out at our end.

We guarantee security around your campaign with compliant handling. One of the ways we do this is by tracking ticket insertion through SCOPe – how many have been inserted into products, how many have been despatched and redeemed, and how many we have remaining in secure storage.

3. Gift redemption

Your lucky winners can visit your website – or a microsite that we can set up specifically for your campaign – and input their code to claim their prize. (Another mechanic might have been to receive the news of the win via SMS and go from there.)

Data protection and security is also a priority for us. We gather customer details in accordance with GDPR. This is part of the usual process for us – we have our Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation too.

When it comes to gift fulfilment, we have the facilities to personalise the gifts too. It’s a nice touch. (It’s also possible to use free personalisation as the ‘prize’ in some cases, meaning the item is bought at full purchase price without the need for a discount.)

Great results

In the hypothetical scenario, your campaign was designed to boost sales and elicit a sense of delight and excitement among your customers with a prize.

Winners will come back and shop with you again. They’ll show their friends what they won, in ‘real life’ and on social media. Their friends will come too.

With decades of promotions experience behind us and an innovative digital team on hand, Granby can help you invigorate your promotions strategy. Get in touch and talk to us about your ideas.

Photo by iam_os on Unsplash

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