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6 Effective “Buy One, Get One Free” Promotions for an Online Store

12 min read

One of the most effective ways to market your store is the “Buy One Get One Free” deal. These are your slick, versatile sales boosters to charm customers and boost sales.

BOGO promotions are popular with both customers and sellers for a reason. Customers benefit from exceptional value for their money, while sellers gain a compelling incentive to drive purchases.

In this blog post, we will discuss what makes a successful “Buy One Get One Free” offer and whether it will work for your business. We will also break down different types of BOGO promotions that you can use to increase sales in your online store.

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What Does BOGO Sale Mean?

BOGO (or BOGOF) stands for “Buy One Get One Free.” It’s a type of sales promotion in which customers get a free or discounted product when they purchase another product.

BOGO promotions are popular among retailers because they can increase sales of promoted products. Plus, it will attract attention to other items in the store, which is excellent when you need to move dead stock or boost sales.

Barnes & Noble runs a BOGO promotion on workbooks and flashcards

“Buy One Get One Free” promotions are also popular with customers because such deals are perceived as a great value. Some shoppers even search for BOGO coupons online before they make a big purchase!

Important note: you should run a BOGOF promo only during specific periods to avoid devaluing your products. These deals create a sense of urgency, pushing customers to purchase. A flash sale also doesn’t let customers get used to discounted prices. For example, holidays or back-to-school season are great times to run BOGO promotions.

6 Types of “Buy One Get One Free” Promotions

Now let’s discuss the different kinds of “Buy One Get One Free” offers that attract customers.

BOGO promotions can be very flexible. We are going to break down five different types of BOGO promotions that you can use to increase sales in your online store and share some BOGO examples for inspiration.

Buy One Get One Half Price

This tactic will work great if you have a bestseller in your store. A “Buy One Get One 50 Off” deal will attract those hesitating to try it. With BOGO Half-Off deals, customers will buy more of your legendary product, love it, and come back again soon.

Barnes & Noble’s “BOGO 50% Off” offer for kids books

Buy One from Category A and Get One from Category B for Free

Pairing products from different categories is an excellent deal for seasonal products and targeted audiences. For example, students and their parents (Back to School BOGO).

The only condition to remember is that the second item must be of equal or lesser value. That way, you will make more than your profit margin.

Beauty Bay offers a free product when customers buy an item from a certain category

Buy One and Get Free Samples

By giving away free samples, you allow your customers to test full-size products. Samples look like gifts, but you should also consider them investments: they create a potential future demand for your products.

For example, you can include exclusive samples of your new product line to introduce it to your customers.

Sephora offers free samples for orders over $35

This doesn’t just apply to physical goods: a great way to get more reads of your ebooks is to provide short samples. Samples are much less likely to be stolen, copied, or distributed illegally. Then if your customers love the content, they’ll return to buy the whole book.

Also read: How to Create and Sell an Ebook

Buy Three for the Price of Two

This is one of the most common variations of the “Buy One Get One Free” promotion. It works for many product types and looks like a terrific deal. Remember to keep the terms simple: include items with similar prices—it will simplify perception and prevent hesitation.

Cult Beauty runs the “3 for 2” deal on products from a certain category

Buy Item X and Get % Off on Item Y

This is an easy-to-implement tactic for industries with complementary products, sports, beauty, or electronics.

For example, you could sell a pair of sneakers and give a 30% discount on shoe cleaners. This type of promotion helps you sell accessories and complementary products.

Cupshe offers ​​40% discount on the cheaper item when customers buy two items

Buy Five Get One Free

We’ve described the most popular types of BOGO promotions, but you can tweak them as you like to create the best BOGO deals for your store. Here’s an easy one: “Buy Five Get One Free,” i.e., offer your customers the chance to buy six products at the cost of five.

This BOGOF promotion is most effective with items that are priced equally or similarly. It should also be a product that customers frequently need to replenish or use regularly, prompting a higher demand.

For example, purchasing six identical dresses may not be practical, while buying six pairs of socks, underwear, or toothbrushes presents a compelling offer for customers.

GoRaw Honey provides a Buy Five, Get One Free offer on frequently repurchased items

Of course, you can adjust this type of BOGO to fit your offering, for example, “buy three, get one free” or “buy two, get 50% off the third.” This type of promotion is practical for customers who regularly purchase specific items and want to save money in the long run.

Is a BOGO Promotion Right for Your Store?

“Buy One Get One Free” promotions are a great way to increase sales and customer loyalty. However, they’re not suitable for every store.

Here are the products that make the best BOGO offers:

  • Items that need to be replenished. If customers like your product (like body cream), they’ll buy more at once to stock up.
  • Products that complement each other. For example, you could do a BOGO deal on shirts and pants if you sell clothes.
  • Products that are sold in sets. You don’t want to offer two identical jackets, do you? Two pairs of socks for the price of one is more likely to sell.
  • Items with at least a 50% margin. A margin is your profit after accounting for costs. If your product’s margin is 50%, your sale is break-even. Try to include at least one product with a higher margin to come out ahead.

The total price of the deal should be the amount that customers are ready to pay. To be on the safe side, you can check out your average order value and aim for a little bit more.

How to Run a BOGO Promotion in an Online Store

Now that you know what “Buy One Get One Free” is and how to best use it, it’s time for the practical part.

To set up a successful BOGO promotion in your online store, you need to make sure your ecommerce platform allows you to offer these kinds of discounts.

Ecwid by Lightspeed, for example, lets you run the most common types of BOGO promotions. Using flexible settings, you can create various BOGOF offers that follow the same idea: if a customer buys X units of some product, they can get one unit of a product (same kind, different kind, or any product in a category/categories) with Y% off.

The BOGO offer applied at checkout in an Ecwid store

To run a BOGO promotion in your Ecwid store, you’ll need to install the Buy One Get One Free: Sales Promotions app from the Ecwid App Market. The app offers a free trial, so you can give it a run and see if BOGO offers are right for your store.

Ready to set up your BOGO promotion? Follow these instructions to set up the app and create your first BOGOF deal in just a few clicks.

Ecwid by Lightspeed also offers many other promotional tools, such as automated marketing emails, discount coupons, social media advertising, and more.

Sign up for Ecwid by Lightspeed and get an online store that makes running any kind of ecommerce venture simple and enjoyable.

Best Practices for BOGO Promotions

Keep in mind the following practices to get the most out of your “Buy One Get One Free” deals:

  • Time your BOGO promotions strategically. For example, run them during the holiday season or before significant events like Black Friday.
  • Inform your customers about the conditions of your BOGOF deals in advance.
  • Choose the products carefully. Make sure they complement each other and appeal to your target audience.
  • Don’t run too many BOGO promotions simultaneously, or your customers could get confused.
  • Monitor your sales data and adjust your deals accordingly. For example, there is no need to constantly run BOGO offers for products that are selling well on their own.

Run Your First BOGO Promotion

“Buy One Get One Free” promotions are a great way to increase sales, get rid of excess inventory, increase the number of items per order, and attract new customers. When used correctly, BOGO deals can help you reach your business goals and boost your bottom line.

Now you have everything you need to know about BOGO promotions, including easy-to-use tools to run your promotions smoothly. Use your newfound knowledge and take the Buy One Get One Free: Sales Promotions app for a spin!


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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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