Running an online store doesn’t need to be complicated. Some of the best tactics that top online retailers have are the easiest to execute. We’ve compiled the ultimate ecommerce lessons online retailers have taught us, and how you can copy their exact strategies in minutes. If you’re trying to automate more of your business, then you definitely need to keep reading.

1. Sephora Does Freebies

What’s more exciting than finding an amazing product? Getting to checkout and realizing you get to add freebies to your cart.

If you’ve ever bought beauty products on Sephora’s website, you know that Sephora loves treating their customers to samples, birthday gifts, and loyalty bonus packs. It actually makes the unboxing experience even more exhilarating. SO. MUCH. STUFF. But Sephora isn’t simply being charitable. Customers fall in love with the trial-sized freebies and come back to buy the full-sized version. I can confirm this happens. A lot. And mostly from me.


But can giving away freebies really work for a dropshipper? Yup! On one of my stores we sold beach blankets and gave away meditation bracelets with bundle deals. The cost was so low that price-wise it was like giving a small discount. People wanted the free product so they’d buy bundle deals with three blankets just to get it. How did we do it? Free Gifts by Secomapp would automatically add the free gift to the cart when people bought the three products, so we didn’t have to do any manual work. But don’t worry – you can customize your bundles anyway you want to.

If you’re not a fashion superstar, it might be difficult to know how to layer your clothing to create an outfit. Fortunately, Dynamite solves this problem by creating trending outfits with their clothing. But they also allow you to add all those items to your cart so customers can wear the same look. This helps customers create outfits they love. However, it helps Dynamite increase their average order value by bundling products. So instead of just buying a t-shirt, they’re also buying the pants and the shoes allowing Dynamite to make more money.


How can you create a similar page to Dynamite? You can take your own product photos with the complete look for your products and create a product page for specific outfits under an “Outfit” collection. Then, you can install Infinite Options, which allows you to create bundles on your product page without needing a developer. You can even choose to offer a discount for bundled products if you really want to entice customers into buying. 

3. Fabletics Does Personalization Quizzes

Before you can even glance at the Fabletics collection, you’re required to complete a personalization quiz. They position it as a “Lifestyle Quiz” but the questions are created in order to learn more about what type of fitness clothing customers need: yoga, run, gym, and cycle and other questions about color preferences and body type. They also ask for contact details and birthday so that they can remarket and re-engage you.


You can use a Shopify app like Product Recommendation Quizzes to create quizzes on your online store that help customers find the right product. This works particularly well with stores that have an extensive product inventory to sort through. For example, over 1,000 dresses. You can divide your product collections into themes to help customers find the product they’re looking for but in a fun, engaging way.

4. Hudson’s Bay Does Retargeting

The Hudson’s Bay invests in retargeting ads. Retargeting allows you to win back customers after they’ve left your website. For example, if a customer added an item to their cart and then left your site, you might never see them again. However, with a retargeting ad, you can reach them on a website with Google Ads, or on Facebook and Instagram. Thus, giving you a second chance at getting the sale. Retargeting ads are especially effective because visitors are already familiar with your brand since they’ve already visited your website.

the bay

There’s good news for you if running retargeting ads seems too complicated. Shoelace, a retargeting app on the Shopify App Store, will create and run your retargeting ads for you. This automation gives you more time to focus on bringing in traffic to your store and optimizing your landing pages to increase conversion.

5. 100% Pure Does Loyalty Programs

100% Pure has a Purist Perks rewards program that offers customers points for every dollar they spend online. They also have three levels based on how loyal of a customer you are. The more loyal a customer is, the better the perks they receive. Perks include free shipping, exclusive offers, discount vouchers, and more.

100% pure

Want to cash in on loyal customers too? Fortunately, Loyalty Lion, a popular loyalty program app for online retailers, allows you to create a unique loyalty program for your customers. Online retailers are able to offer points for birthdays, purchases, social media engagement, and more. And customers can redeem their points on your online store. The best part? This loyalty app is free for merchants with under 400 orders. In only a few minutes, you can have a loyalty program up and running faster than you can say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

6. Aveda Does Birthday Gifts

The most important day in your life is your birthday. It’s literally a whole day devoted to you and you’re awesomeness. Plus, there’s cake! Aveda knows how important your special day is to you and offers customers a nice, little treat. By signing up for their loyalty program and getting points throughout the year, you can redeem some pretty cool prizes throughout your birthday month. You can either get an aromatic oil for massages, a discount for a spa service, or a spa set with a bath robe and some Aveda goodies. Some pretty cool freebies if you ask me!


If you’d love to wish your customers a happy birthday, there’s an easy way to do that. Happy Birthday Email collects customers email addresses and birthdate. On their special day, an automated email will be sent out to customers to offer them a birthday treat. You can set up a special discount code for shopping. Or you can add a free gift with a special code with purchase. So, your customer gets a birthday bonus and you get a few extra sales that day.

7. MVMT Does Affiliate Marketing

Recently acquired for $100 million, millennial watch brand MVMT Watches has an ambassador and affiliate program to maximize their viral reach. Their ambassador program is built for influencers who share their love of MVMT to their social networks in return for a commission, gift card, or points. Their affiliate program is built for affiliates who promote the brand with content marketing, paid ads, email newsletters, and more for a commission. This helps offset some of the brand’s marketing costs as they only need to pay the commission if sales come through. By working with top affiliates and influencers, the brand’s popularity skyrocketed online, which likely helped them get acquired.


Those of you looking to start affiliate programs might want to check out the Refersion app on the Shopify App Store. You can automate your affiliate program by tracking referrals and pay commissions directly in the app. By using this app, you can get new affiliates from the Refersion marketplace so that you don’t have to hunt to find affiliates on your own. You can also reach out to your own customers who could become your very own brand ambassadors.

8. Drake Does Email Marketing

At the top of Drake’s Scorpion tour website, you’ll notice that there’s an opt-in form to collect emails. Since it’s above the fold, meaning you see it without needing to scroll down, it’s one of the first things website visitors see when they land on his website. After punching in your email address, Drake fans also get asked for their full name and birthday so that Drake’s marketing crew can create a more personalized experience with their emails.


For most online retailers, email is one of the biggest sources of traffic to their online stores. It’s a great way to build an audience that you can remarket to. Your email list is one of the greatest assets you can own. Hextom has a great Email Collection Bar that gets added to the top of your website, just like Drake’s. But not only does it collect your visitors’ emails, it also offers them a discount code just for opting in. So it can also help you score some sales.

9. Meshki Does Instagram

Online retailers in fashion, beauty, or anything visually stimulating need to be on Instagram. But it’s not just about being on Instagram, you also want to make money on it.  Meshki solves this problem by having an InstaShop on their website. Customers can browse their Instagram feed directly on their website to find the exact product they want. Plus, it keeps things simple for retailers who don’t want to constantly update their bio links.


Need an Instagram Shop for your store? Try out the Instagram Shop app by Snapppt. It adds a page to your website header that allows customers to find products from your Instagram posts. And since you can include the shop link in your Instagram bio, you can help customers find products without any extra customer support. You can even repost customer photos to help new customers find fan-favorites.

10. Wish Promotes Best Sellers

Wish, which sells some of the most popular products online, helps customers find the best-selling products on their store they have a “Popular” section on the top navigation of their website. Not only that, but they also include the number of people who’ve bought the products as social proof. So if you’re second-guessing your decision but see that over 1,000 people bought the same product, you’d be more likely to buy too.



The biggest ecommerce lesson top retailers teach us is that it’s all about making sure your customers are happy and appreciated. From solving their biggest problems to treating them like you would a best friend, online retailers who go above and beyond for their customers always win. Being a customer-focused brand doesn’t need to be a huge time investment either. You can try out some of the Shopify apps in this list to help automate some of the hard work to ensure no customer is forgotten.

What’s your favorite ecommerce brand? What special things have they done for you?

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